cyril_alexandriaOn Luke 9:27-36

Jesus had said unto them, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross every day, and follow Me. For he that will save his life shall lose it; and he that will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

The commandment is indeed both for the salvation and honour of the saints, and the cause of the highest glory, and the means of perfect joy: for the choosing to suffer for the sake of Christ is not a thankless duty, but on the contrary makes us sharers in everlasting life, and the glory that is prepared.

But as the disciples had not yet obtained power from on high, it probably occasionally happened, that they also fell into human weaknesses, and when thinking over with themselves any such saying as this, may have asked “how does a man deny himself?” or how having lost himself does he find himself again? And what reward will compensate those who thus suffer? Or of what gifts will they be made partakers?

To rescue them therefore from such timid thoughts, and, so to speak, to mould them unto manliness, by begetting in them a desire of the glory about to be bestowed upon them, Jesus says, “I say unto you, there are some of those standing here, who shall not taste of death until they have seen the kingdom of God.”

Does He mean that the measure of their lives will be so greatly prolonged as even to reach to that time when He will descend from heaven at the consummation of the world, to bestow upon the saints the kingdom prepared for them? Even this was possible for Him: for He is omnipotent: and there is nothing impossible or difficult to His all-powerful will.

But by the kingdom of God He means the sight of the glory in which He will appear at His manifestation to the inhabitants of earth: for He will come in the glory of God the Father, and not in low estate like unto us. How therefore did He make those who had received the promise spectators of a thing so wonderful?

He goes up into the mountain taking with Him three chosen disciples: and is transformed to so surpassing and godlike a brightness, that His garments even glittered with rays of fire, and seemed to flash like lightning.

And besides, Moses and Elijah stood at Jesus’ side, and spake with one another of His departure, which He was about, it says, to accomplish at Jerusalem: by which is meant the mystery of the dispensation in the flesh; and of His precious suffering upon the Cross.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel, Sermon 51.

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