Excerpt from Gospel of the Day – The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me – Luke 4:14-30, 1st of Tout– St. Cyril the Pillar of Faith

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“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He has anointed Me: He has sent Me to preach the Gospel to the poor.” (Luke 10:21-24)

He plainly shows by these words that He took upon Him the humiliation and submission to the emptying (of His glory), and both the very name of Christ and the reality for our sakes: for the Spirit, He says, which by nature is in Me by the sameness of Our substance and deity, also descended upon Me from without. And so also in the Jordan, It came upon Me in the form of a dove, not because It was not in Me, but for the reason for which He anointed Me. And what was the reason for which He chose to be anointed? It was our being destitute of the Spirit by that denunciation of old, “My Spirit shall not abide in these men, because they are flesh” (Gen 6:3).

But let us consider the words which He addresses to His Father respecting us and in our behalf. “You have hidden, He says, all these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes: Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight” (Mat 11:25-6). For God the Father has revealed unto us the mystery, which before the foundations of the world was hidden and reserved in silence with Him: even the Incarnation of the Only-begotten, which was foreknown indeed before the foundations of the world, but revealed to its inhabitants in the last ages of the world. For the blessed Paul writes, that “to me who am the least of all saints, has this grace been given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and clearly teach them all, what is the dispensation of the mystery that for ages has been hid in God Who created all” (Eph 3:8). The great and adorable mystery of our Saviour was hidden therefore even before the foundations of the world, in the knowledge of the Father. And in like manner we also were foreknown and foreordained to the adoption of sons. And this again the blessed Paul teaches us, thus writing, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven in Christ, according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him, having foreordained us in love to the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ unto Himself” (Eph 1). To us therefore, as unto babes, the Father has revealed the mystery that for ages had been hidden and reserved in silence.

And yet multitudes of men have preceded us in the world past numbering, who, as far as words went, were wise, who had a practised and skilful tongue, and beauty of writing, and grandeur of expression, and no mean reputation for wisdom: but as Paul said, “They had become empty in their reasonings, and their foolish heart was darkened: while professing to be wise, they had made themselves fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of corruptible man, and into that of birds, and four-footed beasts and reptiles. For this cause they were given up to a reprobate mind;” “and God made the wisdom of this world to be folly” (1 Cor 3:19) neither did He show unto them the mystery. And to us too it is written, “Whosoever seems to be wise in this world, let him become foolish, in order that he may become wise: for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor 3:18). It may truly therefore be affirmed, that he who possesses merely and by itself the wisdom of the world, is foolish and without understanding before God: but that he who seems to be a fool to the wise men of the world, but possesses in his mind and heart the light of the true vision of God, is wise before God. And Paul again confirms this, saying, “For Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach: not with wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ be made ineffectual. For the speech of the cross is to them who are perishing foolishness; but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and take away the understanding of the prudent” (1 Cor 1:17-19). And to others also he sent, saying, “For see your calling, brethren: that there are not among you many wise men after the flesh: nor many mighty, nor many of high birth; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, that He may confound the wise” (1 Cor 1:26-7). To those therefore who seemed to be foolish, by which is meant, men of an innocent and guileless mind, and simple as a child in wickedness, the Father has revealed His Son, as being themselves also foreknown and foreordained to the adoption of sons.

Nor is it in my opinion unreasonable to add also the following. The Scribes and Pharisees, who held high rank among the Jews, as having the reputation of legal learning, were regarded as wise men. But they were convicted by the very result of not being so in reality. For even the prophet Jeremiah thus somewhere addressed them: “How say you, that we are wise, and the word of the Lord is with us? The lying cord of the scribe is for emptiness. The wise men are ashamed; they fear and are taken: what wisdom is in. them, because they have rejected the word of the Lord?” (Jer 8:8-9). Because then they rejected the word of the Saviour, that is, the saving message of the Gospel, or in other language, the Word of God the Father, Who for our sakes became man, they have themselves been rejected. For again the prophet Jeremiah said of them, “Call you them rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them” (Jer 6:30). And the mystery of Christ was also hid from them: for He somewhere even said to his disciples concerning them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; but to them it is not given” (Mat 13:11). “To you,” that is, to whom? Plainly to those who believed: to those who have recognised His appearing, who understand the law spiritually, who can perceive the meaning of the previous revelation of the prophets, who acknowledge that He is God and the Son of God, to them the Father is pleased to reveal His Son: by Whom and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.

 [St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke, Sermon XII]

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