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St. Basil on the Redeemer

March 26, 2013

Here is another reading for Palm Sunday from Faith and Life, this one from St. Basil:

Seek not to have thy brother for thy redeemer, but to have One who transcends thine own nature; neither a mere man, but the God-Man, Jesus Christ, who alone can offer to God a propitiatory Sacrifice for all of us, because “God appointed Him as a propitiation through faith in His Blood.” For what can a man find that is so valuable as that he can offer it for the redemption of his soul? But there was found one thing, equal in value to all men put together, which was given as the price of redemption of our soul,—even the holy and most precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He shed for us all; therefore were we “bought with a price.” “If then a brother redeems not, shall a man redeem?” And if a man cannot redeem us, He who redeemed us is not a man. Do not then, because of His having sojourned with us “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” suppose our Lord to be a mere man, ignoring the power of His Godhead. For He had no need to offer to God an atonement for Himself, nor to redeem His own soul, seeing that “He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” No man, then, is able to redeem himself, unless He comes who turns again the people’s captivity, not with ransom-money nor with gifts, as is written in Isaiah, but by His own Blood. And whereas we were no brethren of His, but had become His enemies by our offences, He, not being a mere man, but God, after freely bestowing on us liberty, calls us even His own brethren. For, says He, “I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren.” He, then, who redeemed us, if you look at His (original) nature, is not our; brother, nor man; but if you look at that condescension to us which is the result of His grace, He calls us brethren, and stoops to Manhood,—He who will not give to God an atonement for Himself, but for the whole world. For He needs no propitiation: He is a Propitiation Himself. “For such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, then for the errors of the people.

–St. Basil, Homily on Psalm xlviii.

He needed no salvation for Himself, but died and rose again to save us.  For us,  there is no greater love than this.

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