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Commentary On The Gospel According To Saint John Volumes 1&2

That nothing which is spoken of as belonging to the Father will be excluded from the kingdom of the Son, for Both alike rule over all

9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine: 10 and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee.

He once more mediates as Man, the Reconciler and Mediator of God and men; and being our truly great and all-holy High Priest, by His own prayers He appeases the anger of His Father, sacrificing Himself for us. For He is the Sacrifice, and is Himself our Priest, Himself our Mediator, Himself a blameless Victim, the true Lamb Which taketh away the sin of the world. The Mosaic ceremonial was then, as it were, a type and transparent shadowing forth of the mediation of Christ, shown forth in the last times, and the high priest of the Law indicated in his own person that Priest Who is above the Law. For the things of the Law are shadows of the truth. For the inspired Moses, and with him the eminent Aaron, continually intervened between God and the assembly of the people; at one time deprecating God’s anger for the transgressions of the people of Israel, and inviting mercy from above upon them when they were faint; at another, praying and blessing the people, and ordering sacrifices according to the Law and offerings of gifts besides in their appointed order, sometimes for sins, and sometimes thank-offerings for the benefits they felt that they had received from God. But Christ Who manifested Himself in the last times above the types and figures of the Law, at once our High Priest and Mediator, prays for us as Man; and at the same time is ever ready to co-operate with God the Father, Who distributes good gifts to those who are worthy. Paul showed us this most plainly in the words: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. He then prays for us as Man, and also unites in distributing good gifts to us as God. For He, being a holy High Priest, blameless and undefiled, offered Himself not for His own weakness, as was the custom of those to whom was allotted the duty of sacrificing according to the Law, but rather for the salvation of our souls, and that once for all, because of our sin, and is an Advocate for us: And He is the propitiation for our sins, as John saith; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world

But perhaps someone, wishing to controvert what we have said, will exclaim, “Is not what the disciple says quite contrary to the Saviour’s words?” For our Lord Jesus Christ expressly in these words repudiates the necessity of praying to God for the whole world, while the wise John affirmed quite the contrary. For he maintains that the Saviour will be the Advocate and propitiation, not merely for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world. It is not hard to find the solution to this difficulty, or to say how the disciple may be seen to be in accord with his Master’s saying. For the blessed John, as he was a Jew and of the Jews, that some might not perhaps think that our Lord was merely an Advocate for the Israelites, and not in any sense for the rest of the nations scattered over the whole world, though destined to distinguish themselves by faith on Him and to be shortly called to knowledge of salvation through Christ, is perforce impelled to declare that our Lord will not only be the propitiation for the race of Israel, but also for the whole world; that is, those of every nation and kindred, who shall be called through faith to righteousness and sanctification. Our Lord Jesus Christ distinguishes from His own those who are otherwise minded, and who have chosen to insult Him by stubborn disobedience; and, referring to those who are prone to listen to His Divine commands, and who have already submitted, as it were, the necks of the hearts, and well-nigh bound round them the yoke of submission to God, said that for them only it was most fitting for Him to pray. For to those only, whose Mediator and High Priest He is, He thought it meet to bring the blessings of His mediation; to those, I mean, who, He says, were given to Himself, but were the Father’s, as there is no other way of fellowship with God save by the Son. And He will Himself teach you this in the words: No one cometh unto the Father, but by Me. For observe how the Father, when He gave to His Son those of whom He speaks, won them over to Himself. And the Apostle, who was so conversant with the sacred writings, knowing this well, says: God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself. For when Christ acted as Mediator, and received those who come to Him by faith, and brought them aright through Himself to the Father, the world was reconciled to God. Therefore also the Prophet Isaiah taught us, in anticipation, to choose peace with God, in Christ: Let us have peace with Him; let us who are in the way have peace. For if we banish from our hearts whatsoever estrangeth us from the love of Christ, I mean the base lasciviousness which hankers after sinful pleasure and is ever inclined to the delights of the world, and is besides the mother and nurse of all vice, and leads us widely astray, we shall become united in fellowship with Christ, and shall make peace with God, being joined to the Father Himself through the Son, inasmuch as we receive in ourselves the Word That was begotten of Him, and cry out in the Spirit, Abba, Father.

Those then who have been given to Christ are the Father’s, but are not therefore removed from Christ. For God the Father reigneth with Him, and through Him ruleth over His own. For the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity share the same kingdom, and their universal dominion is one and the same; and whatever is the Son’s will be subject to the glory of the Son and the Father; and also, whatever is said to be under the rule of the Father, over that the Son will surely hold sway. And therefore He saith: And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine. For as in Them perfect identity of Nature is visible and evident, the opinion held about Their majesty is not various, and does not attribute anything individually to One apart from the Other, but considers one and the same glory, identical in every respect, to attach to Both. For He That is by right of His Nature the Heir of His Father’s Divine dignities will clearly have all that the Father hath, and will also show that His Father hath all that He Himself hath. For Either naturally reveals the Other in Himself; and the Son is seen in the Father, and the Father also in the Son. This kind of instruction the inspired writings gave us in the mystery. When, then, universal dominion is one of the dignities of the Father, it will belong also to the Son; for He is the express Image of His Person, and can endure no shadow of unlikeness or variance at all. He declares that He has been glorified in them, showing that His prayer for them is, as it were, a recompence well deserved.

What then is His request, and why does He endeavour to obtain God’s favour for His followers? I am no more in the world, He says, and these are in the world, and I come to Thee. For while He yet lived in converse with His holy Apostles in the flesh upon earth, the consolation of His visible Presence was ever with them in their daily path, as it were to give instant succour to those in peril; and they were therefore sustained in courage. For the mind of man is readier to rely upon the things that are seen than the things that are unseen, for encouragement or pleasure. When we say this, we are far from asserting that the Lord is powerless to save, if He be not visibly present; for any one who thought this would rightly be convicted of folly. For Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, yea, and for ever But He knew that His disciples were very faint at heart, left desolate as it were on the earth, with the world raging round them like fierce billows, and ever ready to beleaguer with intolerable terrors and imminent and great dangers those who persist in bearing God’s tidings to the uninitiated.

Since then, He says, I come to Thee, for I shall soon ascend to sit on the throne of God the Father, and reign with Him, and these will remain the while in the world, I pray for them, for Thou gavest them Me; and as Thine and Mine now I rightly care for them, and I am glorified in them, for all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are Thine, and Thine are Mine. And the saying is true. For those in the world who have been given to Christ, and are on that account the Father’s, have not therefore disavowed the duty of praising Him through Whom they were united to God the Father, and having been brought to Him, will remain none the less His. For He hath all things in common with the Father, together with His inherent Godhead and power. For there is one God in us, Who is worshipped in the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity; and we all of us belong to the one true God, being subject as servants to the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity.








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