John-of-Damascus_01Our Lord Jesus Christ…committed no sin, He Who took away the sin of the world, nor was there any deceit found in His mouth (Is. 53:9; John 1:29).

He was not subject to death, since death came into the world through sin (Rom. 5:12).

He dies, therefore, because He took on Himself death on our behalf, and He makes Himself an offering to the Father for our sakes.

[…] Death approaches, and swallowing up the body as a bait is transfixed on the hook of divinity, and after tasting of a sinless and life-giving body, perishes, and brings up again all whom of old he swallowed up.

For just as darkness disappears on the introduction of light, so is death repulsed before the assault of life, and brings life to all, but death to the destroyer.

Although He died as man and His Holy Spirit was severed from His immaculate body, yet His divinity remained inseparable from both, I mean, from His soul and His body, and so even thus His one hypostasis was not divided into two hypostases.

For body and soul received simultaneously in the beginning their being in the hypostasis of the Word, and although they were severed from one another by death, yet they continued, each of them, having the one subsistence of the Word.

The one subsistence of the Word is alike the subsistence of the Word, and of soul and body. For at no time had either soul or body a separate hypostasis of their own, different from that of the Word, and the subsistence of the Word is forever one, and at no time two.

Accordingly the subsistence of Christ is always one. Although the soul was separated from the body topically, yet hypostatically they were united through the Word.

[…] The soul when it was deified descended into Hades, in order that, just as the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2) rose for those upon the earth, so likewise He might bring light to those who sit under the earth in darkness and shadow of death (Is. 9:2).

Previously He brought the message of peace to those upon the earth, and of release to the prisoners, and of sight to the blind (Is. 61:1; St. Luke 4:19), and became to those who believed the Author of everlasting salvation and to those who did not believe a reproach of their unbelief.

Now He become the same to those in Hades: that every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth (Phil. 2:10).

And thus after He had freed those who had been bound for ages, straightway He rose again from the dead, showing us the way of resurrection.

John Damascene (c.675-749): De Fide Orthodoxa 3,27 & 3,29 [slightly adapted].