Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent

“There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ”1  Although Jesus is God the Son, He doesn’t spend much time trying to get us to worship Him.  In the Old Testament, God’s obvious preoccupation is getting the people to obey His commandments, to have no other gods, etc.  God makes it very clear that He does not need anyone to do anything for Him: He doesn’t need our praise, sacrifice, or worship; He doesn’t need us to build Him a house, a temple, or a place to dwell.  If we were to try to imitate God based on what we know of Him from the Old Testament, we wouldn’t make many friends.  The world doesn’t revolve around us like it does for God.  The Old Testament shows us that whether we like it or not, God must be the center and focus of everything.  We could even become jealous of God if we lose sight of Him as the loving and merciful Creator.

In the New Testament we see a very different side of God in Jesus.  God isn’t just the one who is adored, He Himself adores.  God isn’t just the one who must be obeyed, God Himself obeys.  God isn’t just the one who receives sacrifices, God Himself is sacrificed in Jesus Christ.  The intercession and mediation of Jesus divinizes the lowly humility of our human condition.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”2


“Notice something I’ve often spoken of, how his love is almost that of a mother. When God threatened that sacrilegious people, Moses’ maternal instincts were roused, and on their behalf he stood up to the anger of God. “Lord,” he said, “if you will forgive them this sin, forgive; but if not, blot me out from the book you have written.”12 What sure maternal and paternal instincts, how sure his reliance, as he said this, on the justice and mercy of God! He knew that because he is just he wouldn’t destroy a just man, and because he is merciful he would pardon sinners.”3

“Though we sometimes hear the expression “God changed his mind” or even read in the figurative language of Scripture that “God repented,”15 we interpret these sayings not in reference to the decisions determined on by almighty God but in reference to the expectations of man or to the order of natural causes.”4

“His works testify of him that he was sent of the Father; but the testimony of these works is the Father’s testimony. Since, therefore, the working of the Son is the Father’s testimony, it follows of necessity that the same nature was operative in Christ, by which the Father testifies of him. So Christ, who does the works, and the Father, who testifies through them, are revealed as possessing one inseparable nature through the birth, for the work that Christ does is shown itself to be the testimony of God concerning him.5

“For the divine and ineffable nature is in no other way apprehended (so far as it may be) by us than through what it effects and works. This is why Paul directs us to go from the greatness and beauty of the creatures to the proportionately higher contemplation of the Creator.20 … This is why Jesus finds fault with Philip, who thoughtlessly imagined that he could in any other way attain to the contemplation of God the Father. It was in Philip’s power, however, to consider Jesus’ uncreated image, which shows accurately in himself the One who begat him.”6

“It is most appropriate that he joins the “Word” to the “form” here to show that the Word of God is himself the image and expression and form of his Father. The Jews who did not receive the one who spoke to them thus did not receive the Word, which is the form of God.”7

“He tells them not to simply “read the Scriptures” but “search the Scriptures.” … These sayings were not on the surface or out in the open but were hidden very deep like some treasure. Anyone who searches for hidden things, unless they are careful and diligent, will never find the object of their search. This is why he says …, “For in them you think you have eternal life,” meaning that they did not reap much fruit from the Scriptures, thinking, as they did, that they should be saved by the mere reading of them, without faith.… And so, it was with good reason that he said “you think,” because they did not actually listen to what the Scripture had to say but merely prided themselves on the bare reading.”8

“The effort involved in reading the Scriptures is thus greatly beneficial to us, all the more so since it causes us to become illumined in prayer. For anyone whose soul, after having labored in reading and having been purified by spiritual meditation, is fervent with love for God, will pray in a luminous manner when he turns to prayer and the divine office, and he will recite the psalms without distraction. This is because his mind has labored in meditation on divine providence and so is filled with joy.”9

“But just as in barley the kernel is hidden in the husk, so Christ is hidden under the wraps of the mysteries of the law. Like bread, those mysteries are expounded and expanded.”10


  1. 1 Tim. 2:5.
  2. Heb 4:15.
  3. Augustine, SERMON 88.24. Lienhard, J. T., & Rombs, R. J. (Eds.). (2001). Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (p. 142). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. Augustine, CITY OF GOD 14.11.  Lienhard, J. T., & Rombs, R. J. (Eds.). (2001). Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (p. 142). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. Hilary of Poitiers, ON THE TRINITY 9.20.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 204). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. Cyril of Alexandria, COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 3.2.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (pp. 204–205). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. Athanasius, Discourses Against the Arians 3.25.16.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 205). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  8. Chrysostom, HOMILIES ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN 41.1.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 205). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  9. Sahdona, BOOK OF PERFECTION 49–51.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 206). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  10. Augustine, SERMON 130.1.  Elowsky, J. C. (Ed.). (2006). John 1–10 (p. 208). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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