Today’s citation, for Good Friday, comes again from Chrysostom. It is from his homily, On the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. To my knowledge, there is no published English translation of this sermon. The translation below is the collaborative effort of two professors at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Robert P. Gagnon and Edith M. Humphrey.
For this is the wonderful thing: that it wasn’t we who had grown unjustly angry with God who made the appeal, but that One who was justly vexed, who called us to his side, who entreated us, so that there was peace. “For on Christ’s behalf we are ambassadors, as though God were entreating you through us.” What is this? Is the One who is himself abused the very same One who encourages? Indeed, yes! For he is God and, because of this, our philanthropic Father entreats us.
And look what happened! The Son of the One who is making the appeal is the mediator—not a human, nor an angel, nor an archangel, nor anyone of the household slaves. And what did this mediator do? The work of a mediator! For it is as if two had been turned away from each other and since they were not willing to talk together, another one comes, and, placing himself in the middle, loosened the hostility of each of the two.
And this is also what Christ did. God was angry with us, for we were turning away from God, our human-loving Master. Christ, by putting himself in the middle, exchanged and reconciled each nature to the other. And how did he put himself in the middle? He himself took on the punishment that was due to us from the Father and endured both the punishment from there and the reproaches from here. Do you want to know how he welcomed each? Christ, Paul says, “redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” You have seen how he received from on high the punishment that had to be borne! Look how also from below he received the insults that had to be borne: “The reproaches of those who reproached you,” Scripture says, “have fallen upon me.” Haven’t you seen how he dissolved the enmity, how he did not depart before doing all, both suffering and completing the whole business, until he brought up the one who was both hostile and at war—brought that one up to God himself, and he made him a friend?
Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday
April 3, 2015