April 17, 2023

Second Homily on the Second Day of Holy Pascha (St. Luke of Simferopol)

 By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

Only once a year is the first chapter of the Gospel of John read, and it is read solemnly, by many priests, in different languages. Why was this passage chosen? Because it contains the deepest and most important mysteries of theology for us.

The Holy Apostle John the Theologian was a simple fisherman, he did not study anywhere, but the grace of God completely regenerated him and made him one of the wisest people in the world. He is called the Theologian, and none of the theologians can compare with him. From beginning to end, his Gospel amazes with the depth of understanding of the teachings of Christ. It differs from the other Gospels - from Matthew, Mark and Luke - because these evangelists present mainly what concerns the life and deeds of the Lord Jesus Christ after His incarnation. None of them speaks with such miraculous power as Saint John, about the eternal existence of God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. No one has so convincingly confirmed our faith in His Divinity, no one has expounded His most secret teachings and most important revelations and deeds so deeply as Saint John.

At the very beginning of his Gospel, the Holy Apostle John calls the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word. What does this name mean? The most varied words live in the human mind and heart and come from them - words of truth and falsehood, words of good and evil. The human word is that which comes from the human being; that which reveals to us the spiritual essence of man. Our Lord Jesus Christ is called the Word because through Him the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was revealed and proclaimed to the world. From the mind of God poured out the word of the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was the verbal spokesman for the mysteries of God and the will of God.

The world was created by the Word of God, so says the Holy Prophet David: "By the Word of the Lord the heavens are established, and by the Spirit of His mouth all their strength" (Ps. 32:6). All the Powers of Heaven are created by the Word of God. It was the Lord Jesus Christ , the Word of God, who was the direct Agent of the creation of the world: He is the Almighty and Creator of the world. That is why He is called in the Gospel of John "the Word".

That's how Saint John affirms the eternal existence of God the Word and the consubstantiality of God the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

"In the beginning was the Word" (John 1:1). In the very beginning, when the world did not yet exist, then the Word already existed, eternally. "And the Word was with God" (John 1:1). This Most Holy Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, has always, from the beginning, been with God, He has been inherent in God. And just as the human word is born from the human mind, so God the Word is eternally born from God the Father. "And the Word was God" (John 1:1). What more definite statement about the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ can we expect?

"He was in the beginning with God" (John 1:2). He has always existed with God, in the mind of God. "Everything came into being through Him, and without Him nothing came into being that came into being" (John 1:3). Nothing that received a beginning, received existence, did not begin to be without Him, from Him it received its being. How can we imagine such a mysterious and wondrous union of God the Word with the Beginningless Father and the Holy Spirit? This is explained to us by the Holy Apostle Paul, who in the Epistle to the Corinthians calls the Lord Jesus Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 1:24). Is it possible that God's Power and God's Wisdom were not one with the very essence of God? Was there a time when He didn't exist?

The Holy Apostle Paul also calls the Lord Jesus Christ the Radiance of the Father (see Heb. 1:3). The sun shines in the sky and pours out its wondrous light on everything under heaven. How can it shine, but not pour light on the earth? If the Lord Jesus Christ is called the Radiance of the Glory of the Father, this undoubtedly means that He always existed, was always inherent in the Father and consubstantial with Him, for the Divine Radiance always emanated from the being of the Holy Trinity, and this Radiance was our Lord Jesus Christ.

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:4-5). He was for all of us the Source of life - eternal, true life, which was a light for people. This Divine Light still shines in the darkness of human life, and no power of the devil can extinguish it.

"There was a man sent from God: his name was John" (John 1:6). Which John is the apostle talking about here? Of course, about the great Forerunner of the Lord. "He came for a witness, to testify of the Light, so that all might believe through Him" (John 1:7). He came according to God's command in order to prepare the way for the Lord, to make His paths straight (see Matt. 3:3; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4). He shone the world with the light of his heart and prepared people for the perception of the true Light of Christ, "which enlightens every person who comes into the world" (John 1:9). We Christians receive this illumination in the great Mystery of Baptism.

"He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and the world did not know Him" (John 1:10). Most of humanity did not recognize Him, rejected Him. "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (John 1:11). "And to those who received Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the power to become children of God" (John 1:12). He descended from heaven into the earthly world, created by Him, took on human flesh from the Blessed Virgin Mary, came to His chosen people, Israel, but was not accepted by the majority of them. And to the minority that received Him and loved Him with all their hearts - for He said: "I no longer call you servants ... I called you friends" (John 15:15), - gave the power to be children of God, having mysteriously given birth to them a second time, not according to the will of the flesh, not according to the will of the husband, but by an incomprehensible birth from God (see John 1:13).

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; and we have seen His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father" (John 1:14). God the Word took on human flesh and lived with us for thirty-three years, full of grace and truth. His Forerunner said about Him that although He was born according to the flesh later, He was ahead of him, as the Pre-eternal Son of God (see John 1:15).

From the divine fullness of His omniscience and love, God's grace and all-perfect truth poured out over the entire human race in an inexhaustible stream. For through the prophet Moses, a law was given about what gross sins people should avoid, and from the Lord Jesus Christ the world learned about a much higher moral perfection and about all the fullness of higher truth. And he not only learned, but also received grace-filled strength to fulfill the will of God.

May we all be worthy of this great work of the Lord - the salvation of the human race. May our hearts be opened to receive the light of the gospel, the light of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *