Wednesday, May 4 Gospel Reading

John 5:17-24

17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. 19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

St. Macarius the Great said:  (found on Milk & Honey along with the icon posted above)…

“But if it appears to us impossible to turn from a multitude of sins, let us call to mind how our Lord, when conversing with mankind, by his goodness restored the blind to their sigh, cured the sick, healed every kind of disease, raised the dead that were gone down into corruption, made the deaf to hear, cast a legion of devils out of one man and recovered him to his right mind; how much more will he convert the soul that turns to him, and petitions him for mercy, and bring it into the cheerful state of freedom from passions, into an establishment of every virtue, and a renovation of the mind from the deadness of infidelity, and ignorance, and want of fear.”

Cyril of Alexandria in his Commentary on the Gospel of John said:

“When…a person says that he cannot carry an enormously heavy piece of wood he establishes his innate weakness. But another says (being by nature a reasonable person and born of a father of a reasonable nature), ‘I cannot do anything on my own that would contradict the nature of my parent.’ The words ‘I cannot’ express the stability of essence and its inability to be anything it is not… This is how you should hear Christ saying, ‘The Son can do nothing of himself but what he sees the Father do.'”

Augustine in the Tractates on the Gospel of John said:

“A little before we were thinking that the Father does something that the Son does not do,…as though the Father were doing and the Son were seeing. In this way there was creeping in on our mind a carnal conception, as if the Father did something the Son did not do but that the Son was looking on while the Father showed what he was doing. Then, as the Father was doing what the Son did not do, just now we see the Son doing what the Father does not do. How he turns us about and keeps our mind busy! He leads us here and there, not allowing us to remain resting with our human conceptions so that by changing he may exercise us, by exercising he may cleanse us, by cleaning he may render us capable of receiving, and may fill us when made capable.”

St. Gregory of Nazianzus in The Fourth Theological Oration said:

“‘The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do.’ ‘Can’ and ‘cannot’ are not words with only one meaning, but have many meanings…For instance, ‘a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid’; while yet it might possibly be hidden by another higher hill being in a line with it. Or in another sense they are used of a thing that is not reasonable, as, ‘Can the children of the bridechamber fast while the bridegroom is with them’? (Mt. 5:14, Mk 2:19)…Or again, they are used of that which is contrary to the will; as in, ‘He could do no mighty works there because of their unbelief’ (Mk. 6:5), i.e. of those who should receive them. For since in order to do healing there is need of both faith in the patient and power in the healer, when one of the two failed, the other was impossible …Healing is not reasonable in the case of those who would afterwards be injured by unbelief …’How can you, being evil, speak good things?’ (Mt. 12:34) For in what sense is either impossible, except that is contrary to the will? …It is impossible and inconceivable that the Son should do anything that the Father does not do …because all things are in common.”

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