Μωϋσῆς ὕψωσε τὸν ὄφιν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, φησὶν, οὕτως (40)
ὑψωθῆναι δεῖ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Πάλιν καὶ
τοῦτο δοκεῖ ἀπηρτῆσθαι τῶν ἔμπροσθεν, πολλὴν δὲ
καὶ αὐτὸ τὴν συνάφειαν ἔχει. Εἰπὼν γὰρ τὴν μεγίστην
εἰς ἀνθρώπους γεγεννημένην εὐεργεσίαν διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος, ἐπάγει καὶ τὴν ταύτης αἰτίαν, καὶ ἐκείνης (45)
οὐκ ἐλάττονα, τὴν διὰ τοῦ σταυροῦ. Ὥσπερ οὖν καὶ
Παῦλος Κορινθίοις διαλεγόμενος, ταύτας ὁμοῦ τίθησι
τὰς εὐεργεσίας, οὕτω λέγων· Μὴ Παῦλος ἐσταυρώθη
ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἢ εἰς τὸ ὄνομα Παύλου ἐβαπτίσθητε; Μάλιστα γὰρ πάντων τὰ δύο ταῦτα τὴν (50) ἄφατον αὐτοῦ δείκνυσιν ἀγάπην, ὅτι τε ὑπὲρ ἐχθρῶν
ἔπαθε, καὶ ὅτι ἀποθανὼν ὑπὲρ ἐχθρῶν, διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος ὁλόκληρον τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων τὴν συγχώρησιν ἐδωρήσατο.
Ver. 14. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
This again seems to depend upon what has gone before, and this too has a very close connection with it. For after having spoken of the very great benefaction that had come to man by Baptism, He proceeds to mention another benefaction, which was the cause of this, and not inferior to it; namely, that by the Cross. As also Paul arguing with the Corinthians sets down these benefits together, when he says, “Was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul?” for these two things most of all declare His unspeakable love, that He both suffered for His enemies, and that having died for His enemies, He freely gave to them by Baptism entire remission of their sins.
Ἵνα γὰρ μή τις
λέγῃ, καὶ πῶς ἔνι εἰς τὸν σταυρωθέντα πιστεύσαντας
σωθῆναι, ὅταν καὶ αὐτὸς ὑπὸ θανάτου κατεσχημένος @1
(159.) ᾖ; ἐπὶ τὴν παλαιὰν ἡμᾶς ἱστορίαν ἄγει. Εἰ γὰρ πρὸς
εἰκόνα χαλκῆν ὄφεως ἰδόντες Ἰουδαῖοι διέφυγον θάνατον· πολλῷ μᾶλλον οἱ εἰς τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον πιστεύοντες, εἰκότως καὶ πολλῷ μείζονος ἀπολαύσονται
τῆς εὐεργεσίας. Οὐ γὰρ διὰ τὴν ἀσθένειαν τοῦ (5) σταυρουμένου, οὐδὲ διὰ τὸ περιγενέσθαι Ἰουδαίους τοῦτο
γίνεται, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ Ἠγάπησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὸν κόσμον,
διὰ τοῦτο ὁ ἔμψυχος αὐτοῦ ναὸς σταυροῦται. Ἵνα
πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν, μὴ ἀπόληται, ἀλλ’ ἔχῃ
ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Ὁρᾷς τὴν τοῦ σταυροῦ αἰτίαν, καὶ (10)
τὴν ἐξ αὐτοῦ σωτηρίαν; ὁρᾷς τοῦ τύπου πρὸς τὴν
ἀλήθειαν τὴν συγγένειαν; Ἐκεῖ θάνατον διέφυγον
Ἰουδαῖοι, ἀλλὰ τὸν πρόσκαιρον· ἐνταῦθα τὸν αἰώνιον
οἱ πιστεύοντες. Ἐκεῖ δήγματα ὄφεων ἰᾶτο ὁ κρεμάμενος ὄφις, ἐνταῦθα τοῦ νοητοῦ δράκοντος ἐθεράπευσε (15)
τὰς πληγὰς ὁ σταυρωθεὶς Ἰησοῦς· ἐκεῖ ὁ τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς τούτοις βλέπων ἐθεραπεύετο, ἐνταῦθα ὁ τοῖς τῆς
διανοίας ὀφθαλμοῖς ὁρῶν, πάντα ἀποτίθεται τὰ ἁμαρτήματα· ἐκεῖ χαλκὸς τὸ κρεμάμενον ἦν εἰς σχῆμα
ὄφεως διατυπωθεὶς, ἐνταῦθα σῶμα δεσποτικὸν ὑπὸ (20)
Πνεύματος κατασκευασθέν. Ὄφις ἔδακνεν ἐκεῖ, καὶ
ὄφις ἰᾶτο· οὕτω καὶ ἐνταῦθα θάνατος ἀπώλεσε, καὶ
θάνατος ἔσωσεν. Ἀλλ’ ὁ μὲν ἀπολλὺς ὄφις, ἰὸν εἶχεν·
ὁ δὲ σώζων, ἰοῦ καθαρὸς ἦν. Καὶ ἐνταῦθα τὸ αὐτὸ
πάλιν· ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἀπολλὺς θάνατος ἁμαρτίαν εἶχεν, (25)
ὥσπερ τὸν ἰὸν ὁ ὄφις· ὁ δὲ τοῦ Δεσπότου, ἁμαρτίας
πάσης ἀπήλλακτο, ὥσπερ οὖν ὁ χαλκοῦς ὄφις, ἰοῦ.
Now if the Jews, by looking to the brazen image of a serpent, escaped death, much rather will they who believe on the Crucified, with good reason enjoy a far greater benefit. For this7 takes place, not through the weakness of the Crucified, or because the Jews are stronger than He, but because “God loved the world,” therefore is His living Temple fastened to the Cross.
Ver. 15. “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Seest thou the cause of the Crucifixion, and the salvation which is by it? Seest thou the relationship of the type to the reality? there the Jews escaped death, but the temporal, here believers the eternal; there the hanging serpent healed the bites of serpents, here the Crucified Jesus cured the wounds inflicted by the spiritual8 dragon; there he who looked with his bodily eyes was healed, here he who beholds with the eyes of his understanding put off all his sins; there that which hung was brass fashioned into the likeness of a serpent, here it was the Lord’s Body, builded by the Spirit; there a serpent bit and a serpent healed, here death destroyed and a Death saved. But the snake which destroyed had venom, that which saved was free from venom; and so again was it here, for the death which slew us had sin with it, as the serpent had venom; but the Lord’s Death was free from all sin, as the brazen serpent from venom.
Καθάπερ γάρ τις ἀθλητὴς γενναῖος,
ὅταν ἐπὶ μετεώρου τὸν ἀνταγωνιστὴν ἄρας καὶ καταῤῥάξας, λαμπροτέραν ἀποφαίνῃ τὴν νίκην· οὕτω καὶ
ὁ Χριστὸς, τῆς οἰκουμένης ἁπάσης ὁρώσης, τὰς (35) ἀντικειμένας δυνάμεις κατέβαλε, καὶ τοὺς ἐπὶ τῆς ἐρη-
μίας πληττομένους ἰασάμενος, πάντων τῶν θηρίων
ἀπήλλαξε κρεμασθεὶς ἐπὶ τοῦ σταυροῦ. Ἀλλ’ οὐκ
εἶπε, κρεμασθῆναι δεῖ, ἀλλ’, Ὑψωθῆναι. Ὅπερ
γὰρ εὐφημότερον εἶναι ἐδόκει διὰ τὸν ἀκροώμενον, (40)
καὶ ἐγγὺς τοῦ τύπου, τοῦτο τέθεικεν.
For as some noble champion by lifting on high and dashing down his antagonist, renders his victory more glorious, so Christ, in the sight of all the world, cast down the adverse powers, and having healed those who were smitten in the wilderness, delivered them from all venomous beasts9 that vexed them, by being hung upon the Cross. Yet He did not say, “must hang,” but, “must be lifted up” (Acts xxviii. 4); for He used this which seemed the milder term, on account of His hearer, and because it was proper to the type.