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A Commentary Upon The Gospel According To Saint Luke -St. Cyril

Every thing hath been delivered unto Me of My Father; and no one knoweth Who the Son is but the Father; and Who the Father is but the Son; and to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.

OUR Lord Jesus Christ again reveals unto us His glory, and the dignity of His godlike majesty, and the skilful method of the dispensation in the flesh; and plainly shews how great is the benefit which the dwellers upon earth derive from it. Let is ask of Him wisdom: let us seek understanding, that we may be able to perceive the exact meaning of His words. For it is He “Who revealeth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth to light those things that are hid;” and giveth wisdom to the blind, and maketh the brightness of the truth to shine forth upon those that love Him. And among these are we: for lo! ye have again come, as being, so to speak, athirst, and the church is full of men loving to hear; and all are true worshippers, and searchers into the doctrines of piety. Come therefore, and let us approach the Saviour’s words, opening wide he eye of the mind. And His words are, “Every thing hath been delivered unto Me of My Father.”

For He was and still is Lord of heaven and earth, and sits with the Father on His throne, and equally shares His government over all. But inasmuch as, by humbling Himself to our estate, He became man, He further speaks in a manner not unbefitting the dispensation in the flesh, nor refuses to use such expressions as suit the measure of His state, when He had emptied Himself, that He might be believed upon as having become like unto us, and put on our poverty. He therefore Who was Lord of heaven and earth, and, in a word, of all things, says, that “everything was delivered unto Him of the Father.” For He has been made ruler of all under heaven; since of old only the Israel after the flesh bowed the neck to His laws: but God the Father willed to make all things new in Him, and by His means reconcile the world unto Himself. For “He became Mediator between God and men,” and “was made our peace,” in that He united us by Himself to God the Father: for He is the door and the way whereby this is done; for He has even plainly said, “No man cometh unto the John Father but by Me.” He then Who of old delivered Israel by the hand of Moses from the tyranny of the Egyptians, and appointed the law to be their schoolmaster, has now called the whole world, and Himself has spread for it the net of the Gospel message, according to the good-will of God the Father. And this then is the reason why He says, “Every thing has been delivered unto Me of My Father.”

But though we may affirm that these things are thus rightly understood and explained by us, the heretic will not submit to the conditions of the dispensation, but betakes himself, it may be, to his usual audacity, and makes what is said food, so to speak, for the wickedness of his mind; and, forsooth, proceeds to say, ‘Lo! the Father giveth every thing to the Son; but the Son would not have needed to receive any thing, had it been lawful for Him to obtain it of Himself. How, then, is He equal to the Father, as ye say, when He receives from Him authority over what He did not previously possess?’ Let us see, therefore, whether in any thing at all He is inferior to the glory and supremacy of the Father, as ye in your folly say.

Now there are many arguments one might use when wishing to defend the doctrines of truth, but on the present occasion let us enquire what is true from the lessons now set before us, even from His own words. For after having said, “Every thing hath been delivered unto Me of My Father,” honouring thereby the mystery of His Incarnation, and using expressions suitable to the manhood, He mounts at once, as I said, to His own glory and supremacy, and shews that He is in no way whatsoever inferior to His Father. For what were the words which He next spake?—“No one knoweth Who the Son is but the Father, and Who the Father is but the Son, and to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” Let us ask, then, those who have resisted His glory, and still resist it, Does Christ speak falsely, or is He true? For if He speak falsely, and ye affirm that this is verily the case, ye are void of all understanding, ye have fallen from your senses, having drank of the wine of “the vine of Sodom,” and stumbled like drunkards upon unrighteous courses. But if ye believe that He speaketh truth, for “He is the Truth,” how do ye, while He says that “no one knoweth the Son but the Father only,” venture both to think and say that He is inferior to the Father, as though ye exactly know Who He is? And yet how must not He, Who is known of His Father only, far transcend all understanding and all powers of speech: just as also the Father Himself doth, as being known of His Son only? For the holy and consubstantial Trinity alone knoweth Itself, being far above all speech and understanding. How sayest thou then that He is inferior to the Father, seeing that no one knoweth Who He is but the Father alone Who begat Him?

And I will add this too; Dost thou say that He is inferior to the Father as being “very God,” but yet inferior to Him Who is “very God and Father;” or as being something made and created? If, indeed, as something made, thou canst not compare them at all: for the interval between the Maker and the thing made is infinite; between the Lord and the slave; between Him Who is by nature God, and him who has been brought into existence. For whosoever is made is not merely inferior to God, but altogether different, both in nature, and in glory, and in every attribute that appertained to the divine substance. But if He be made, as ye affirm, how can “no one know Who He is?” For He would not be above all understanding, even though it may surpass the mind of man to be able to know the nature of a created thing. If, on the other hand, thou affirmest that He is very God, and being such by nature, yet sayest that He is inferior to the Father, I cannot understand how this can be. Tell me, I pray, in what this inferiority consists. I mean, for instance, thus: those who are of the same nature and substance are, of course, equal to one another in all those qualities which belong to them as pertaining to their substance: as, for instance, one man is in no respect inferior to another man with regard to the manhood which is common to them both: and so neither is one angel to another angel. How, then, can very God be inferior to very God?

For come, if you will, and let us raise ourselves to the investigation of the Father’s prerogatives and attributes: those, namely, which specially belong to Him as God. God the Father is by nature Life, Light, and Wisdom. But the Son also is in like manner the same, as the divinely inspired Scripture everywhere testifies. For He is Light, and Wisdom, and Life. But if He be inferior to the Father, then of course He is indebted to Him for it, and that not in one particular only, but in every attribute that appertaineth to His substance. Nor is He perfectly Life; nor Light perfectly; nor Wisdom perfectly. And if this be true, then there exists in Him something of corruption; something also of darkness; and something also of ignorance. But who will assent to you in thus arguing? For if He be a creature, then, as I said, ye must not compare Him with the Creator and Lord of all. Bring down His place to the level of creation, while ye extol to incomparable supremacy that Nature Which created all, and transcends all. But if He be very God, as sprung from Him Who is very God and Father, perhaps, forsooth, the Father hath begotten one not equal to Himself in nature, and His nature alone hath suffered this, while certainly of all created beings there is not one that hath endured so strange a mischance. For man is born of man, the definitions of his father’s substance existing fully in him; and all the other animals in like manner are regulated by the law of their own nature. And how then can the all-transcending nature of God suffer that which even we do not suffer, nor any other being which has the power of generation?

Let those, therefore, hear who think scorn of the greatness of the glory of the Son; let those that are drunken awake from their wine; worship with us Him Who is equal in substance with the Father, and crowned with equal praises, and undistinguishable preeminence. “For to Him every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Amen.








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