cyril_alexandriaOn Luke 20:27-38

St Paul says, “the sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law.”

For he compares death to a scorpion, the sting of which is sin: for by its poison it slays the soul.

And the law, he says, was the strength of sin: … “I had not known sin but by the law:” “for where there is no law, there is no transgression of the law.”

For this reason Christ has removed those who believe in Him from the jurisdiction of the law that condemns.

He has also abolished the sting of death, even sin: and sin being taken away, death, as a necessary consequence, departed with it; for it was from it, and because of it, that death came into the world.

[…] The prophet Isaiah therefore has said to us, “Your dead men shall arise: and those in the graves shall be raised; and they who are in the earth shall rejoice: for the dew from You is healing to them.”

And by the dew I imagine he means the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, and that influence which abolishes death, as being that of God and of life.

And the blessed David also somewhere in the Psalms says of all those upon earth, “You take away their spirit, and they die, and return to their dust: You send Your Spirit, and they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.”

Do you hear that the energising and life-giving grace of the Holy Spirit will renew the face of the earth?

And by its face is meant its beauty; and the beauty of human nature is justly understood to be incorruption.

“For it is sown, it says, in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory.”

For the prophet Isaiah again assures us that death which entered in because of sin does not retain its power over the dwellers upon earth for ever, but is abolished by the resurrection from the dead of Christ, Who renews the universe, and refashions it to that which it was at the beginning.

For God created all things for incorruption, as it is written; for he says, “He has swallowed up death, having waxed mighty: and God shall again take away all weeping from every countenance; He shall remove the reproach of the people from the whole earth.”

Now sin is what he calls the reproach of the people, and when this has been taken away, death also is extinguished with it, and corruption departs from the midst.

And by having brought it to an end, He removes every one’s weeping; and lamentation also is put to silence; for henceforth there is no more cause for men to weep and lament.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel, Sermon 136.

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