Saint Cyril of Alexandria On Christ and the Holy Spirit

This morning’s Office of Readings is particularly awesome, so I’d like to share a section of this commentary on the Gospel of John by Saint Cyril of Alexandria.

…I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven, and it rested on him…

Christ “received the Spirit” in so far as he was man, and in so far as man could receive the Spirit. He did so in such a way that, though he is the Son of God the Father, begotten of his substance, even before the incarnation, indeed before all ages, yet he was not offended at hearing the Father say to him after he had become man: You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

The Father says of Christ, who was God, begotten of him before the ages, that he has been “begotten today” for the Father is to accept us in Christ as his adopted children. The whole of our nature is present in Christ, in so far as he is man. So the Father can be said to give the Spirit again to the Son, though the Son possesses the Spirit as his own, in order that we may receive the Spirit in Christ. The son therefore took to himself the seed of Abraham, as Scripture says, and became like his brothers in all things.

The only-begotten Son receives the Spirit, but not for his own advantage, for the Spirit is his, and is givin in him and through him, as we have already said. He receives it to renew our nature in its entirety and to make it whole again, for in becoming man he took our entire nature to him self. If we reason correctly, and also use the testimony of Scripture, we can see that Christ did not receive the Spirit for himself, but rather for us in him; for it is also through Christ that all gifts come down to us.

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