04-20-2017, 09:44 PM
The First Miracle After the Lord's Resurrection - Entering a Room With Shut Doors
By St. Cyril of Alexandria
(Commentary on the Gospel of John)
John 20:19, 20 - When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said unto them, "Peace be unto you." And when He had said this, He showed unto them His hands and His side.
On the selfsame day on which He had appeared unto Mary, and discoursed with her, He also showed Himself to the holy disciples, who dreaded the intolerable attacks of the impious Jews, and were, on that account, collected together in a certain house. For it was not likely that they who had been so instructed, and had often been bidden to make haste to escape from the wrath of their would-be murderers, would be found lacking in proper prudence. Christ miraculously appears unto them. For while the doors were shut, as the Apostle says, Christ unexpectedly stood in the midst, by His ineffable Divine power rising superior to the chain of cause and effect, and showing Himself able to dispense with the design and method appropriate to His action. For let no man say, "How did the Lord, Whose body was of solid flesh, enter without let or hindrance, though the doors were shut?" but rather let him reflect that the Evangelist is not here speaking of one of ourselves, but rather of Him Who is enthroned by the side of God the Father, and Who easily does whatsoever He will. For He that was by nature the true God, was of necessity not subject unto the sequences of cause and effect, as are the creatures that owe their being to Him; but rather does He exercise Lordship over necessity itself, and due and appropriate methods of performance. For how did He make the sea afford a footing unto His Feet, and walk thereon as upon dry land, though we are not so framed that we can tread upon the paths of the sea? And how did He perform the rest of His marvelous works with God-like power? All these things, you will say, surpass man's understanding. Put this miracle of Christ side by side with the rest, and do not, following the opinion of certain men, who, in the folly of their hearts, have been led astray to judge falsely, imagine on account of this very occurrence that Christ rose again without His human Body, wholly bereft thereof, and severed from the Temple that He had taken on Himself. For if you cannot understand the working of God's ineffable nature, why do you not rather cry out against the infirmity of man's reason -- for that would be the wiser course -- and then silently acquiesce in the limit prescribed to you by the Creator? For in rejecting the conclusion of wisdom, you do wrong to the great mystery of the Resurrection, on which all our reliance is fixed. For remember the exclamation of Paul: "If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain, and you are yet in your sins." And again: "Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that He raised up Christ, Whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised." For what can be raised up save that which is fallen? Or what restored to life, save that which is bowed down in death? And how shall we expect to rise again, if so be that Christ raised not up His own Temple, making Himself, for us, the First-fruits of them which are asleep, and the First-born from the dead? Or how shall this mortal put on immortality, if, as some think, it be lost in total annihilation? For how shall it escape this fate if it have no hope of a new life? Do not, then, swerve from orthodoxy in the faith, because a miracle was accomplished; but rather be wise, and add this to the other marvelous works that Christ did.