Wednesday, May 1, 2013

He Humbled Himself—for You

Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  (Phil 2:6-8)

Will you deem Him little on this account, that He humbled Himself for your sake, and because to seek for that which had wandered the Good Shepherd, He who lays down His life for the sheep,1 came upon the mountains and hills upon which you used to sacrifice,2 and found the wandering one; and having found it, took it upon His shoulders3 on which He also bore the wood; and having borne it, brought it back to the life above; and having brought it back, numbered it among those who have never strayed.  That He lit a candle,4 His own flesh, and swept the house, by cleansing away the sin of the world, and sought for the coin, the Royal Image that was all covered up with passions, and calls together His friends, the Angelic Powers, at the finding of the coin, and makes them sharers of His joy, as He had before made them sharers of the secret of His Incarnation?  That the Light that is exceeding bright should follow the Candle—Forerunner,5 and the Word, the Voice, and the Bridegroom, the Bridegroom’s friend,6 that prepared for the Lord a peculiar people7 and cleansed them by the water8 in preparation for the Spirit?  Do you reproach God with this?  Do you conceive of Him as less because He girds Himself with a towel and washes His disciples,9 and shows that humiliation is the best road to exaltation;10 because He humbles Himself for the sake of the soul that is bent down to the ground,11 that He may even exalt with Himself that which is bent double under a weight of sin?  How comes it that you do not also charge it upon Him as a crime that He eats with Publicans12 and at Publicans’ tables, and makes disciples of Publicans13 that He too may make some gain.  And what gain?  The salvation of sinners.  If so, one must blame the physician for stooping over suffering and putting up with evil smells in order to give health to the sick; and him also who leans over the ditch, that he may, according to the Law, save the beast that has fallen into it.

Gregory Nazianzen Oration 45.26

1 John 10:11  5 Luke 15:8-9  8 Matthew 3:11  11 Luke 13:10ff
2 John 5:35  6 Luke 1:23; 3:9, 29  9 John 13:4-5  12 Mark 2:15-16
3 Hosea 4:13  7 Luke 1:1710 Matthew 23:12  13 Luke 15:2
4 Luke 15:4-5

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