Sunday, June 12, 2016

Met Ephrem (Kyriakos): The Divinity of Christ

Arabic original here.

The Divinity of Christ

"And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine" (John 17:10).

Here we reach the summit of the Lord's farewell discourse. The Lord Jesus Christ prays to the Father and says, "Father, the hour has come" (John 17:1). It is he hour of death, indeed, it is the hour of glory. He moves from eternity to time and from time to eternity: a circular movement. "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:3).

Knowledge of the true God causes us to enter into eternity from this moment, despite the weight of the present unhappiness and misery. We feel the presence of eternity, which comforts us and makes us shine.

How do we know God and believe in Him if we have not known Christ, the Son of God, and believed in His words?

"The hour has come." The hour of crucifixion. The hour of death. The hour of glory. "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was" (John 17:5). Do you see what this glory is that was with God before the creation of the world?! Here the divinity of the Son becomes perfectly clear. This hour is also the hour of sacrifice. "Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit." The words of the Lord Jesus are sacramental words, eucharistic words, a priestly prayer.

The Lord Jesus is the lamb slaughtered before the creation of the world. Glory is the cross. The Lord is continuously crucified before creation and after the resurrection, mystically for our sake and for the sake of the world according to His great love because Jesus, God, is love (cf. 1 Peter 1:19-20).

He suffers for man whom He created, even before He created him. He gave him a body capable of sin and death. He gave him freedom that is capable of falling, as opposed to God's freedom, which can only love what His hands have made.

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Therefore He prays for His disciples and says, "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word" (John 17:6).

"And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them... that they may be one as We are" (John 17:10-11). What do these words mean!? First of all, it is an expression of the unity of the Father with the Son and so of the unity of the Trinity and the communion of the three hypostases: communion of unity and love. Secondly-- and this is what concerns us disciples of the Lord Jesus-- it is an expression of how our behavior must be, we who are created in the image of God, the image of the Trinity, toward each other. What do you want, beloved brothers, more clear than this as an expression of unity: "all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine."

This is Christian behavior: we are one in Christ just as Christ is one with the Father.

+ Ephrem
Metropolitan of Tripoli, al-Koura and Their Dependencies

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