Golden Chain 9405
9405 Lc 4,5-8
THEOPHYL. The enemy had first assailed Christ by the temptation of the appetite, as also he did Adam. He next tempts Him with the desire of gain or covetousness, showing Him all the kingdoms of the world. Hence it follows, And the devil taking him up.
GREG. What marvel that He permitted Himself to be led by the devil into the mountains, who even in endured to be crucified in His own body?
THEOPHYL. But how did the devil show Him all the kingdoms of the world? Some say that he presented them to Him in imagination, but I hold that he brought them before Him in visible form and appearance.
TITUS BOS. Or, the devil described the world in language, and as he thought brought it vividly before our Lord's mind as though it were a certain house.
AMBROSE;; Truly in a moment of time, the kingdoms of this world are described. For here it is not so much the rapid glance of sight which is signified as is declared the frailty of mortal power. For in a moment all this passes by, and oftentimes the glory of this world has vanished before it has arrived. It follows, And he said to him, I will give you all this power.
TITUS; He lied in two respects. For he neither had to give nor could he give that which he had not; he gains possession of nothing, but is an enemy reduced to fight.
AMBROSE; For it is elsewhere said, that all power is from God. Therefore from God's hands comes the disposal of power, the lust of power is from the evil one; power is not itself evil, but he who evilly uses it. What then; is it good to exercise power, to desire honor? Good if it is bestowed upon us, not if it is seized. We must distinguish however in this good itself. There is one good use of the world, another of perfect virtue. It is good to seek God; it is a good thing that the desire of becoming acquainted with God should be hindered by no worldly business. But if he who seeks God, is from the weakness of the flesh, and the narrowness of his mind, often tempted, how much more is he exposed who seeks the world? We are taught then to despise ambition, because it is subject to the power of the devil. But honor abroad is followed by danger at home, and in order to rule others a man is first their servant, and prostrates himself in obedience that he may be rewarded with honors, and the higher he aspires the lower he bends with feigned humility; whence he adds, If you will fall down and worship me.
CYRIL; And do you, whose lot is the unquenchable fire, promise to the Lord of all that which is His own? Did you think to have Him for your worshiper, from dread of whom the whole creation trembles?
ORIGEN; Or, to view the whole in another light. Two kings are earnestly contending for a kingdom; The king of sin who reigns over sinners, that is, the devil; The king of righteousness who rules the righteous, that is, Christ. The devil, knowing that Christ had come to take away his kingdom, shows Him all the kingdoms of the world; not the kingdoms of the Persians and of the Medes, but his own kingdom whereby he reigned in the world, whereby some are under the dominion of fornication, others of covetousness. And he shows Him them in a moment of time, that is, in the present course of time, which is but a moment in comparison of eternity. For the Savior needed not to be shown for any longer time the affairs of this world, but as soon as He turned His eyes to look, He beheld sins reigning, and men made slaves to vice. The devil therefore says to Him, Came You to contend with me for dominion? Worship me, and behold I give You the kingdom I hold. Now the Lord would indeed reign, but being Righteousness itself, would reign without sin; and would have all nations subject to Him, that they might obey the truth, but would not so reign over others as that He Himself should be subject to the devil. Hence it follows, And Jesus answering said to him, It is written, You shall worship the Lord your God.
THEOPHYL, The devil saying to our Savior, If you will fall down and worship me, receives answer that he himself ought rather to worship Christ as his Lord and God.
CYRIL; But how comes it that the Son (if as the heretics say a created being) is worshipped? What charge can be brought against those who served the creature and not the Creator, if the Son (according to them a created being) we are to worship as God?
ORIGEN; Or else, All these, he says, I would have subject to me, that they might worship the Lord God, and serve Him alone. But do you wish sin to begin from Me, which I came hither to destroy?
CYRIL; This command touched him to the quick; for before Christ's coming he was every where worshipped. But the law of God casting him down from his usurped dominion, establishes the worship of Him alone who is really God.
THEOPHYL; But someone may ask how this injunction agrees with the word of the Apostle, which says, Beloved, serve one another. In the Greek, signifies a common service, (i.e. given either to God or man,) according to which we are bid to serve one another; but is the service due to the worship of the Deity, with which we are bid to serve God alone.
9409 Lc 4,9-13
AMBROSE; The next weapon he uses is that of boasting, which always causes the offender to fall down; for they who love to boast of the glory of their virtue descend from the stand and vantage ground of their good deeds. Hence it is said, And he led him to Jerusalem.
ORIGEN; He followed evidently as a wrestler, gladly setting out to meet the temptation, and saying, as it were, Lead me where you will, and you will find me the stronger in every thing.
AMBROSE; It is the fate of boasting, that while a man thinks he is climbing higher, he is by his pretension to lofty deeds brought low. Hence it follows, And he said, to him, you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
ATHAN. The devil entered not into a contest with God, (for he durst not, and therefore said, you are the Son of God,) but he contended with man whom once he had power to deceive.
AMBROSE; That is truly the devil's language, which seeks to cast down the soul of man from the high ground of its good deeds, while he shows at the same time both his weakness and malice, for he can injure no one that does not first cast himself down. For he who forsaking heavenly things pursues earthly, rushes as it were willfully down the self-sought precipice of a falling life. As soon then as the devil perceived his dart blunted, he who had subdued all men to his own power, began to think he had to deal with more than man. But Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and often from the Holy Scriptures weaves his mesh for the faithful: hence it follows, It is written, He shall give, &c.
ORIGEN; Whence know you, Satan, that those things are written? Have you read the Prophets, or the oracles of God? You have read them indeed, but not that yourself might be the better for the reading, but that from the mere letter you might slay them who are friends to the letter. You know that if you were to speak from His other books, you would not deceive.
AMBROSE; Let not the heretic entrap you by bringing examples from the Scriptures. The devil makes use of the testimony of the Scriptures not to teach but to deceive.
ORIGEN; But mark how wily he is even in this testimony. For he would fain throw a slur upon the glory of the Savior, as though He needed the assistance of angels, and would stumble were He not supported by their hands. But this was said not of Christ, but of the saints generally; He needs not the aid of angels, Who is greater than angels. But let this teach you, Satan, that the angels would stumble did not God sustain them; and you stumble because you refuse to believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God. But why are you silent as to what follows, You shall walk upon the asp and the basilisk, except that you are the basilisk, you are the dragon and the lion?
AMBROSE; But the Lord, to prevent the thought that those things which had been prophesied of Him were fulfilled according to the devil's will, and not by the authority of His own divine power, again so foils his cunning, that he who had alleged the testimony of Scripture, should by Scripture himself be overthrown. Hence it follows, And Jesus answering said, It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord thy God.
CHRYS For it is of the devil to cast one's self into dangers, and try whether God will rescue us.
CYRIL; God gives not help to those who tempt Him, but to those who believe on Him. Christ therefore did not show ills miracles to them that tempted Him, but said to them, An evil generation seeks a sign, and no sign shall be given to them.
CHRYS. But mark how the Lord, instead of being troubled, condescends to dispute from the Scriptures with the wicked one, that you, as far as you are able, might become like Christ. The devil knew the arms of Christ, beneath which he sunk. Christ took him captive by meekness, He overcame him by humility. Do you also, when you see a man who has become a devil coming to meet you, subdue him in like manner. Teach your soul to conform its words to those of Christ. For as a Roman judge, who on the bench refuses to hear the reply of one who knows not how to speak as he does; so also Christ, except you speak after His manner, will neither hear you nor protect you.
GREG. NYSS. In lawful contests the battle is terminated either when the adversary surrenders of his own accord to the conqueror, or is defeated in three falls, according to the rules of the art of fighting. Hence it follows, And all the temptation being completed, &c.
AMBROSE; He would not have said that all the temptation was ended, had there not been in the three temptations which have been described the materials for every crime; for the causes of temptations are the causes of desire, namely, the delight of the flesh, the pomp of vain-glory, greediness of power.
ATHAN. The enemy came to Him as, man, but not finding in Him the marks of his ancient seed, he departed.
AMBROSE; You see then that the devil is not obstinate on the field, is wont to give way to true virtue; and if he ceases not to hate, he yet dreads to advance, for so he escapes a more frequent defeat. As soon then as he heard the name of God, he retired (it is said) for a season, for afterwards he comes not to tempt, but to fight openly.
THEOPHYL. Or, having tempted Him in the desert with pleasure, he retires from Him until the crucifixion, when he was about to tempt Him with sorrow.
MAXIMUS; Or the devil had prompted Christ in the desert to prefer the things of the world to the love of God. The Lord commanded him to leave Him, (which itself was a mark of Divine love.) It was afterwards then enough to make Christ appear the false advocate of love to His neighbors, and therefore while He was teaching the paths of life, the devil stirred up the Gentiles and Pharisees to lay traps for Him that He might be brought to hate them. But the Lord, from the feeling of love which He had towards them, exhorted, reproved, ceased not to bestow mercy upon them.
AUG. The whole of this narrative Matthew relates in a similar manner, but not in the same order. It is uncertain therefore which took place first, whether the kingdoms of the earth were first shown to Him, and He was afterwards taken up to the pinnacle of the temple; or whether this came first, and the other afterwards. It matters little however which, as long as it is clear that they all took place.
MAXIMUS; But the reason why one Evangelist places this event first, and another that, is because vain-glory and covetousness give birth in turn to one another.
ORIGEN; But John, who had commenced his Gospel from God, saying, In the beginning was the Word, did not describe the temptation of the Lord, because God can not be tempted, of whom he wrote. But because in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke the human generations are given, and in Mark it is man who is tempted, therefore Matthew, Luke, and Mark have described the temptation of the Lord.
ORIGEN; The Lord having overcome the tempter, power was added to Him, i.e. as far as regards the manifestation of it. Hence it is said, And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.
THEOPHYL; By the power of the Spirit he means showing forth of miracles.
CYRIL; Now He performed miracles not from any external power, and from having as it were the acquired grace of the Holy Spirit, as other saints, but rather as being by nature the Son of God, and partaking of all things which are the Father's, He exercises as by His own power and operation that grace which is of the Holy Spirit. But it was right that from that time He should become known, and that the mystery of His humanity should shine forth among those who were of the seed of Israel. It therefore follows, And his fame went out.
THEOPHYL; And because wisdom belongs to teaching, but power to works, both are joined here, as it follows, And he taught in the synagogue.
Synagogue, which is a Greek word, is rendered in Latin congregatio. By this name then the Jews were accustomed to call not only the gathering together of people, but also the house where they met together to hear the word of God; as we call by the name of Church, both the place and the company of the faithful. But there is this difference between the synagogue which is called congregation, and the Church which is interpreted convocation, that flocks and cattle, and any thing else can be gathered together in one, but only rational beings can be called together. Accordingly the Apostolical doctors thought right to call a people which was distinguished by the superior dignity of a new grace rather by the name of Church, than Synagogue. But rightly also was the fact of His being magnified by those present proved, by actual evidence of word and deed, as it follows, And he was magnified by all.
ORIGEN; But you must not think that they only were happy, and that you are deprived of Christ's teaching. For now also throughout the world He teaches through His instruments, and is now more glorified by all men, than at that time when those only in one province were gathered together.
CYRIL; He communicates the knowledge of Himself to those among whom He was brought up according to the flesh. As it follows, And he came to Nazareth.
THEOPHYL. That He might teach us to benefit and instruct first our brethren, then to extend our kindness to the rest of our friends.
THEOPHYL; They flocked together on the Sabbath day in the synagogues, that, resting from all worldly occupations, they might set themselves down with a quiet mind to meditate on the precepts of the Law. Hence it follows, And he entered as was his custom on the Sabbath day into the synagogue.
AMBROSE; The Lord in every thing so humbled Himself to obedience, that He did not despise even the office of a reader, as it follows, And he rose up to read, and there was delivered to him the book, &c. He received the book indeed, that He might show Himself to be the same who spoke in the Prophets, and that He might stop the blasphemies of the wicked, who say that there is one God of the Old Testament, another of the New; or who say that Christ had His beginning from a virgin. For how did He begin from a virgin, who spoke before that virgin was?
ORIGEN; He opens not the book by chance, and finds a chapter containing a prophecy of Himself, but by the providence of God. Hence it follows, And when he had opened the book, he found the place, &c.
ATHAN. He says this to explain to us the cause of the revelation made Or to the world, and of His taking upon Him the human nature. For as the Son, though He is the giver of. the Spirit, does not refuse to confess as man that by the Spirit He casts out devils, so, inasmuch as He was made man, He does not refuse to say, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.
CYRIL; In like manner we confess Him to have been anointed, inasmuch as He took upon Him our flesh, as it follows, Because he has anointed me. For the Divine nature is not anointed, but that which is cognate to us. So also when He says that He was sent, we must suppose Him speaking of His human nature. For it follows, He has sent me to preach the gospel to the poor.
AMBROSE; You see the Trinity coeternal and perfect. The Scripture speaks of Jesus as perfect God and perfect man. It speaks of the Father, and the Holy Spirit, who was shown to be a cooperator, when in a bodily form as a dove He descended upon Christ.
ORIGEN; By the poor He means the Gentile nations, for they were poor, possessing nothing at all, having neither God, nor Law, nor Prophets, nor justice, and the other virtues.
AMBROSE; Or, He is anointed all over with spiritual oil, and heavenly virtue, that He might enrich the poverty of man's condition with the everlasting treasure of His resurrection.
THEOPHYL; He is sent also to preach the Gospel to the poor, saying, Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.
CYRIL; For perhaps to the poor in spirit He declares in these words, that among all the gifts which are obtained through Christ, upon them was bestowed a free gift. It follows, To heal the broken hearted. He calls those broken hearted, who are weak, of an infirm mind, and unable to resist the assaults of the passions, and to them He promises a healing remedy.
BASIL; Or, He came to heal the broken hearted, i.e. to afford a remedy to those that have their heart broken by Satan through sin, because beyond all other things sin lays prostrate the human hears.
THEOPHYL; Or, because it is written, A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise. He says therefore, that He is sent to heal the broken hearted, as it is written, Who heals the broken hearted.
It follows, And to preach deliverance to the captives.
CHRYS. The word captivity has many meanings. There is a good captivity, which St. Paul speaks of when he says, Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. There is a bad captivity also, of which it is said, Leading captive silly women laden with sins. There is a captivity present to the senses, that is by our bodily enemies. But the worst captivity is that of the mind, of which he here speaks. For sin exercises the worst of all tyrannies, commanding to do evil, and destroying them that obey it. From this prison of the soul Christ lets us free.
THEOPHYL. But these things may be understood also of the dead, who being taken captive have been loosed from the dominion of hell by the resurrection of Christ. It follows, And recovering of sight to the blind.
CYRIL; For the darkness which the Devil has spread over the human heart, Christ the Sun of Righteousness has removed making men, as the Apostle says, children not of night and darkness, but of light and the day. For they who one time wandered have discovered the path of the righteous. It follows, To set at liberty them that are bruised.
ORIGEN; For what had been so shattered and dashed about as man, who was set at liberty by Jesus and healed?
THEOPHYL; Or, to set at liberty them that are bruised; i.e. to relieve those who had been heavy laden with the intolerable burden of the Law.
ORIGEN; But all these things were mentioned first, in order that after the recovery of sight from blindness, after deliverance from captivity, after being healed of divers wounds, we might come to the acceptable year of the Lord. As it follows, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Some say that, according to the simple meaning of the word, the Savior preached the Gospel throughout Judea in one year, and that this is what is meant by preaching the acceptable year of the Lord. Or, the acceptable year of the Lord is the whole time of the Church, during which while present in the body, it is absent from the Lord.
THEOPHYL; For not only was that year acceptable in which our Lord preached, but that also in which the Apostle preaches, saying, Behold, now is the accepted time. After the acceptable year of the Lord, he adds, And the day of retribution; that is, the final retribution, when the Lord shall give to every one according to his work.
AMBROSE; Or, by the acceptable year of the Lord, he means this day extended through endless ages, which knows of no return to a world of labor, and grants to men everlasting reward and rest. It follows, And he closed the book, and he gave it again.
THEOPHYL; He read the book to those who were present to hear Him, but having read it, He returned it to the minister; for while He was in the world He spoke openly, teaching in the synagogues and in the temple; but about to return to heaven, He committed the office of preaching the Gospel to those who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word. He read standing, because while explaining those Scriptures which were written of Him, He condescended to work in the flesh; but having returned the book, He sits down, because He restored Himself to the throne of heavenly rest. For standing is the part of the workman, but sitting of one who is resting or judging. So also let the preacher of the word rise up and read and work and preach, and sit down, i.e. wait for the reward of rest. But He opens the book and reads, because sending the Spirit, He taught His Church all truth; having shut the book, He returned it to the minister, because all things were not to be said to all, but He committed the word to the teacher to be dispensed according to the capacity of the hearers. It follows, And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.
ORIGEN; And now also if we will, our eyes can look upon the Savior. For when you direct your whole heart to wisdom, truth, and the contemplation of the only-begotten Son of God, your eyes behold Jesus.
CYRIL; But then He turned the eyes of all men upon Him, wondering how He knew the writing which He had never learnt. But since it was the custom of the Jews to say that the prophecies spoken of Christ are completed either in certain of their chiefs, i.e. their kings, or in some of their holy prophets, the Lord made this announcement; as it follows, But he began to say to them that this Scripture is fulfilled.
THEOPHYL; Because, in fact, as that Scripture had foretold, the Lord was both doing great things, and preaching greater.
9422 Lc 4,22-27
CHRYS. When our Lord came to Nazareth, He refrains from miracles, lest He should provoke the people to greater malice. But He sets before them His teaching no less wonderful than His miracles. For there was a certain ineffable grace in our Savior's words which softened the hearts of the hearers. Hence it is said, And they all bare him witness.
THEOPHYL; They bare Him witness that it was truly He, as He had said, of whom the prophet had spoken.
CHRYS. But foolish men though wondering at the power of His words little esteemed Him because of His reputed father. Hence it follows, And they said, Is not this the son of Joseph?
CYRIL; But what prevents Him from filling men with awe, though He were the Son as was supposed of Joseph? Do you not see the divine miracles, Satan already prostrate, men released from their sickness?
CHRYS. For though after a long time and when He had begun to show forth His miracles, He came to them; they did not receive Him, but again were inflamed with envy. Hence it follows, And he said to them, You will surely say to me this proverb, Physician, heal yourself.
CYRIL; It was a common proverb among the Hebrews, invented as a reproach, for men used to cry out against infirm physicians, Physician, heal yourself.
GLOSS. It was as, if they said, We have heard that you performed many cures in Capernaum; cure also thyself, i.e. Do likewise in your own city, where you were nourished and brought up.
AUG. But since St. Luke mentions that great things had been already done by Him, which he knows he had not yet related, what is more evident than that he knowingly anticipated the relation of them. For he had not proceeded so far beyond our Lord's baptism as that he should be supposed to have forgotten that he had not y et related any of those things v, which were done in Capernaum.
AMBROSE; But the Savior purposely excuses Himself for not working miracles in His own country, that no one might suppose that love of country is a thing to be lightly esteemed by us. For it follows, But he says, Verily I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country.
CYRIL; As if He says, You wish me to work many miracles among you, in whose country I have been brought up, but I am aware of a very common failing in the minds of many. To a certain extent it always happens, that even the very best things are despised when they fall to a man's lot, not scantily, but ever at his will. So it happens also with respect to men. For a friend who is ever at hand, does not meet with the respect due to him.
THEOPHYL; Now that Christ is called a Prophet in the Scriptures, Moses bears witness, saying, God shall raise up a Prophet to you from among your brethren.
AMBROSE; But this is given for an example, that in vain can you expect the aid of Divine mercy, if you grudge to others the fruits of their virtue. The Lord despises the envious, and withdraws the miracles of His power from them that are jealous of His divine blessings in others. For our Lord's Incarnation is an evidence of His divinity, and His invisible things are proved to us by those which are visible. See then what evils envy produces. For envy a country is deemed unworthy of the works of its citizen, which was worthy of the conception of the Son of God.
ORIGEN; As far as Luke's narrative is concerned, our Lord is not yet said to have worked any miracle in Capernaum. For before He came to Capernaum, He is said to have lived at Nazareth. I cannot but think therefore that in these words, "whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum," there lies a mystery concealed, and that Nazareth is a type of the Jews, Capernaum of the Gentiles. For the time will come when the people of Israel shall say, "The things which you have shown to the whole world, show also to us." Preach your word to the people of Israel, that then at least, when the fullness of the Gentiles has entered, all Israel may be saved. Our Savior seems to me to have well answered, No prophet is accepted in his own country, but rather according to the type than the letter; though neither was Jeremiah accepted in Anathoth his country, nor the rest of the Prophets. But it seems rather to be meant that we should say, that the people of the circumcision were the countrymen of all the Prophets. And the Gentiles indeed accepted the prophecy of Jesus Christ, esteeming Moses and the Prophets who preached of Christ, far higher than they who would not from these receive Jesus.
AMBROSE; By a very apt comparison the arrogance of envious citizens is put to shame, and our Lord's conduct shown to agree with the ancient Scriptures. For it follows, But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias: not that the days were his, but that he performed his works in them.
CHRYS. He himself, an earthly angel, a heavenly man, who had neither house, nor food, nor clothing like others, carries the keys of the heavens on his tongue. And this is what follows, When the heaven was shut. But as soon as he had closed the heavens and made the earth barren, hunger reigned and bodies wasted away, as it follows, when there was as famine through the land.
BASIL; For when he beheld the great disgrace that arose from universal plenty, he brought a famine that the people might fast, by which he checked their sin which was exceeding great. But crows were made the ministers of food to the righteous, which are wont to steal the food of others.
CHRYS. But when the stream was dried up by which the cup of the righteous man was filled, God said, Go to Sarepta, a city of Sidon; there I will command a widow woman to feed you. As it follows, But to none of them was Elias sent, save to Sarepta, a city of Sidon, to a woman that was a widow. And this was brought to pass by a particular appointment of God. For God made him go a long journey, as far as Sidon, in order that having seen the famine of the country he should ask for rain from the Lord. But there were many rich men at that time, but none of them did any thing like the widow. For in the respect shown by the woman toward the prophet, consisted her riches not of lands, but of good will.
AMBROSE; But he says in a mystery, "In the days of Elias," because Elias brought the day to them who saw in his works the light of spiritual grace, and so the heaven was opened to them that beheld the divine mystery, but was shut when there was famine, because there was no fruitfulness in acknowledging God. But in that widow to whom Elias was sent was prefigured a type of the Church.
ORIGEN; For when a famine came upon the people of Israel, i.e. of hearing the word of God, a prophet came to a widow, of whom it is said, For the I desolate has many more children than she which has an husband; and when he had come, he multiplies her bread and her nourishment.
THEOPHYL; Sidonia signifies a vain pursuit, Sarepta fire, or scarcity of bread. By all which things the Gentiles are signified, who, given up to vain pursuits, (following gain and worldly business,) were suffering from the flames of fleshly lusts, and the want of spiritual bread, until Elias, (i.e. the word of prophecy,) now that the interpretation of the Scriptures had ceased because of the faithlessness of the Jews, came to the Church, that being received into the hearts of believers he might feed and refresh them.
BASIL; Every widowed soul, bereft of virtue and divine knowledge, as soon as she receives the divine word, knowing her own failings, learns to nourish it with the bread of virtue, and to water the teaching of virtue from the fountain of life.
ORIGEN; He cites also another similar example, adding, And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of Eliseus the Prophet, and none of them were cleansed but Naaman the Syrian, who indeed was not of Israel.
AMBROSE; Now in a mystery the people pollute the Church, that another people might succeed, gathered together from foreigners, leprous indeed at first before it is baptized in the mystical stream, but which after the sacrament of baptism, washed from the stains of body and soul, begins to be a virgin without spot or wrinkle.
THEOPHYL; For Naaman, which means beautiful, represents the Gentile people, who is ordered to be washed seven times, because that baptism saves which the seven-fold Spirit renews. His flesh after washing began to appear as a child's, because grace like a mother begets all to one childhood, or because he is conformed to Christ, of whom it is said, to us a Child is born.
9428 Lc 4,28-30
CYRIL; He convicted them of their evil intentions, and therefore they are enraged, and hence what follows, And all they in the synagogue when they heard these things were filled with wrath. Because He had said, This day is this prophecy fulfilled, they thought that He compared Himself to the prophets, and are therefore enraged, and expel Him out of their city, as it follows, And they rose up, and cast him out.
AMBROSE; It can not be wondered at that they lost their salvation who cast the Savior out of their city. But the Lord who taught His Apostles by the example of Himself to be all things to all men, neither repels the willing, nor chooses the unwilling; neither struggles against those who cast Him out, nor refuses to hear those who supplicate Him. But that conduct was the result of no slight enmity, which, forgetful of the feelings of fellow citizens, converts the causes of love into the bitterest hatred. For when the Lord Himself was extending His blessings among the people, they began to inflict injuries upon Him, as it follows, And they led him to the brow of the hill, that they might cast him down.
THEOPHYL; Worse are the Jewish disciples than their master the Devil. For he says, Cast yourself down; they actually attempt to cast Him down. But Jesus having suddenly changed His mind, or seized with astonishment, went away, since He still reserves for them a place of repentance. Hence it follows, He passing through the midst of them went his way.
CHRYS. Herein He shows both His human nature and His divine. To stand in the midst of those who were plotting against Him, and not be seized, betokened the loftiness of His divinity; but His departure declared the mystery of the dispensation, i.e. His incarnation.
AMBROSE; At the same time we must understand that this bodily endurance was not necessary, but voluntary. When He wills, He is taken, when He wills, He escapes. For how could He be held by a few who was not held by a whole people? But He would have the impiety to be the deed of the many, in order that by a few indeed He might be afflicted, but might die for the whole world. Moreover, He had still rather heal the Jews than destroy them, that by the fruitless issue of their rage they might be dissuaded from wishing what they could not accomplish.
THEOPHYL; The hour of His Passion had not yet come, which was to be on the preparation of the Passover, nor had He yet come to the place of His Passion, which not at Nazareth, but at Jerusalem, was prefigured by the blood of the victims; nor had He chosen this kind of death, of whom it was prophesied that He should be crucified by the world.
Golden Chain 9405