Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Victor Returns with Honor

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”  (Psalm 110:1)

All these things are brought about in us by Christ, the Lord who, before He returned to heaven, made this promise to His disciples: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth.*  Thus it must be believed that Christ has ascended to the Father when we see that the Helper has descended upon the apostles.  It must be believed, I tell you, that He sits at the right hand of God, as David says of the Savior, because we see the Holy Spirit, as the Lord promised, exulting in the disciples.  Consequently, the prophetic psalm says: The Lord says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand.†  According to our custom, the right of sitting is offered to one who, like a victor returning from having accomplished a great deed, deserves to be seated for the sake of honor.  And so the man Jesus Christ, who overcame the devil by His suffering and unlocked the underworld by His resurrection, returning to heaven like a victor after having accomplished a great deed, hears from God the Father: Sit at my right hand.  And it is not to be wondered at that sitting on the same seat is offered to the Son by the Father, since by nature He is of one substance with the Father.  But perhaps someone is puzzled that the Son is said to be on the right.  For although there are no degrees of dignity where the fullness of divinity is concerned, nonetheless the Son is on the right, not because He is preferred to the Father, but so that He not be believed to be inferior.  And the Son is on the right because, according to the Gospel, the sheep will be gathered on the right but the goats on the left.  It is necessary, therefore, that the first lamb occupy the place of the sheep and that the unsullied leader come before the unsullied flock that will follow Him, as John says in the Apocalypse: It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins.  It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.‡  Therefore the prophet David says: The Lord says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand.  That is to say, the Lord who is Father offers the lofty seat of His throne to the Lord God Christ, who is His Son, and for the sake of honor He places Him at His right hand on an eternal seat.

Maximus of Turin, Sermon 40, 2

*  John 14:16-17
†  Psalm 110:1
‡  Revelation 14:4

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