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He Emptied Himself

For the Only-begotten, being in the form of God the Father, and in equality with the Spirit, counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, and through His love towards us emptied Himself of His glory,

taking the form of a servant, and underwent this that He might direct us all to perfect knowledge of virtue, so as to prepare us by the incomparable brightness of His miracles to behold the power, and glory, and exceeding might that is inherent in the Divine Nature. For so He might have induced those who have fallen into the depths of ignorance to recover knowledge once more, and no longer to worship the creature beyond the Creator, but to figure to themselves the One true and living God. And the Only-begotten has aided us in other ways by His incarnation, for He destroyed the power of death, and loosed the bonds of sin, and granted us to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. It was then, and with great reason, sweet and pleasant beyond all description to ourselves and the holy disciples, to have continual converse with Christ the Giver of such blessings to us, and to be ever present with Him and in His company. But it was clearly not to His advantage, so long a time to choose to abide in the guise of humility, which He had taken for our advantage, through His love to us, as we just now said: rather was He bound, when His dispensation towards us had been already suitably accomplished, to ascend to His own glory, and, with the flesh that He had |346 taken for our sake, to hasten back to equality with God the Father, which thinking it not robbery to do (for He might have had this honour in His own right), He descended to human humiliation. For while He was yet upon the earth, though He was truly God and Lord of all, He was thought no better than the rest of men, by those who knew not His glory. Nay, more, He was smitten, and spat upon, and crucified, and underwent the ridicule of the impious Jews, who dared to say, If Thou art the Son of God, come down now from the cross, and we will believe Thee. And when after He had fulfilled the mystery of our redemption, He ascended to God the Father in the heavens, when the time of His humiliation was already past, and the period of His voluntary degradation accomplished, He showed Himself very God to the powers above. For heaven did not deny the Lord of all when He ascended, but the charge was given to the sentinels at the gates above, that the Lord of Hosts was drawing nigh, although He was borne upward in the raiment of the flesh; and the Spirit was representing the opening of the gates, when He said: Lift up the gates ye rulers, and be lifted up ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, the Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory. For the manifold wisdom of God which He purposed in Christ was known unto the principalities and the powers, as Paul says. For when He ascended to the Father, although He may be thought greater than the Son in this respect, that He remained in His everlasting home, while the Son underwent voluntary humiliation, and descended in the form of a servant, and ascended up again to His own glory, and heard the words: Sit down on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. And it was to the intent that He might not seem too presumptuous, and that God the Father in the heavens had not of His own will made the Son sit on His right hand, the Father Himself is introduced saying this: Sit Thou on My right hand, the Psalmist says this. And no one with any sense will say that the Father has the second place of honour though He has the Son on His right hand, but will rather take what I have said into consideration. For it is not the Father, but rather the Son, on account of His voluntary degradation and suffering, Who must be conceived as sitting on the right hand, and having a place from which no inferiority could be inferred, as He might be numbered among inferior beings by those who cannot comprehend the mystery of His Incarnation. Therefore a place on the right hand of His Father, against Whom no such charge can be brought, is allotted to the Son that His equality may be maintained.
 
St. Cyril of Alexandria; Commentary on the Gospel according to St. John, Book 10, pg 346-347 (13-14)