The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 1:43-51

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 1, 2012

43 The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee; and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow Me.

Likeminded with those preceding was Philip, and very ready to follow Christ. For Christ knew that he would be good. Therefore also He says Follow Me, making the word a token of the grace that was upon him, and wherein he bid him follow, testifying to him that most excellent was his conversation. For Ho would not have chosen him, if he had not been altogether good. |152

45 Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of Whom Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth the Son of Joseph.

Exceeding swift was the disciple unto the bearing fruit, that hereby he might shew himself akin in disposition to them that had preceded. For he findeth Nathanael, not simply meeting him coming along, but making diligent search for him. For he knew that he was most painstaking and fond of learning. Then he says that he had found the Christ Who was heralded through all the Divine Scripture, addressing himself not as to one ignorant, but as to one exceedingly well instructed in the learning both of all-wise Moses and of the prophets. For a not true supposition was prevailing among the Jews as regards our Saviour Jesus Christ, that He should be of the city or village of Nazareth, albeit the Divine Scripture says that He is a Bethlehemite, as far as pertains to this. And thou, Bethlehem, it says, in the land of Judah, house of Ephrata, art little to be among the thousands of Judah, for out of thee shall He come forth unto Me That is to be ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. For He was brought up in Nazareth, as the Evangelist himself too somewhere testified, saying, And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; but He was not thence, but whence we said before, yea rather, as the voice of the prophet affirmed. Philip therefore following the supposition of the Jews says, Jesus of Nazareth.

46 Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?

Nathanael readily agrees that something great and most fair is that which is expected to appear out of Nazareth 5. It is, I suppose, perfectly clear, that not only did he take Nazareth as a pledge of that which he sought, but bringing together knowledge from the law and Prophets, as one fond of learning he gained swift understanding.

Come and see. 

Sight will suffice for faith, says he, and having only |153 conversed with. Him you will confess more readily, and will unhesitatingly say that He is indeed the Expected One. But we must believe that there was a Divine and Ineffable grace, flowing forth with the words of the Saviour, and alluring the souls of the hearers. For so it is written, that all wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His Mouth. For as His word is mighty in power, so too is it efficacious to persuade.

47 Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.

Not having yet used proof by means of signs, Christ endeavoured in another way to persuade both His own disciples, and the wiser of those that came to Him, that He was by Nature Son and God, but for the salvation of all was come in human Form. What then was the mode that led to faith? God-befitting knowledge. For knowledge of all things befitteth God Alone. He receiveth therefore Nathanael, not hurrying him by flatteries to this state, but by those things whereof he was conscious, giving him a pledge, that he knoweth the hearts, as God.

48 Whence knowest thou me?

Nathanael begins to wonder, and is called to a now firm faith: but desires yet to learn, whence He has the knowledge concerning him. For very accurate are learning-seekingand pious souls. But perhaps he supposed that somewhat of him had been shewn to the Lord by Philip.

Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.

The Saviour undid his surmise, saying that even before his meeting and conversing with Philip, He had seen him under the fig-tree, though not present in Body. Very profitably are both the fig-tree and the place named, pledging to him the truth of his having been seen. For he that has already accurate knowledge of what was with him, will readily be admitted. |154

49 Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the King of Israel.

He knows that God Alone is Searcher of hearts, and giveth to none other of men to understand the mind, considering as is likely that verse in the Psalms, God trieth the hearts and reins. For as accruing to none else, the Psalmist hath attributed this too as peculiar to the Divine Nature only. When then he knew that the Lord saw his thoughts revolving in his mind in yet voiceless whispers, straightway he calls Him Master, readily entering already into discipleship under Him, and confesses Him Son of God and King of Israel, in Whom are inexistent the Properties of Divinity, and as one well instructed he affirms Him to be wholly and by Nature God.

50 Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.

Thou shalt be firmer unto faith, saith He, when thou seest greater things than these. For he that believed one sign, how shall he not by means of many be altogether bettered, especially since they shall be more wonderful than those now wondered at?

51 Verily, verily I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see Heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.

Common now to all is the word which seals the faith of Nathanael. But in saying that angels shall be seen speeding up and down upon the Son of Man, that is, ministering and serving His commands, for the salvation of such as shall believe, He says that then especially shall He be revealed as being by Nature Son of God. For it is not one another that the rational powers serve but surely God. And this does not take away subjection among the angels (for this will not be reasonably called bondage). But we have heard of the Holy Evangelists, that angels came to our Saviour Christ, and ministered unto Him. |155

Advertisements

2 Responses to “St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on John 1:43-51”

  1. […] St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 1:43-51). […]

  2. […] St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 1:43-51). […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: