The devotion below was written by Cyril of Jerusalem. Cyril was a distinguished theologian of the early Church (ca. 313 – 386). About the end of 350 he succeeded Maximus as Bishop of Jerusalem, but was exiled on more than one occasion due to the enmity of Acacius of Caesarea, and the policies of various emperors. Cyril left important writings documenting the instruction of catechumens and the order of the liturgy in his day.
The passion was faced willingly
Would you be persuaded that Christ willingly went to his passion? Others, who do not know of their death beforehand, died unwillingly. But he spoke before his passion: “Behold, the Son of Man is betrayed to be crucified.” Do you know why this Friend of Man did not shun death? It was so the whole world would not perish in its sins. “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed and shall be crucified.” And, “he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.”
And would you know with certainty that the cross is a glory to Jesus? Hear his own words, not mine. Judas had become ungrateful to the Master of the house, and was about to betray him. Having just gone forth from the table and having drunk his cup of blessing, in return for that draught of salvation, he sought to shed righteous blood. He who did eat of his bread, was lifting up his heel against him. His hands had but recently received the blessed gifts and presently for the wages of betrayal he was plotting his death. Being reproved and having heard that word, “You have said it,” he again went out. Then Jesus said: “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.”
The passion glorifies God
Do you see how he knew the cross to be his proper glory? “Now is the Son of Man glorified,” [Jesus testified.] Not that he was without glory before then; for he was “glorified with the glory” that was “before the foundation of the world.” He was ever glorified as God; but now he was to be glorified in wearing the crown of his patience.
He did not give up his life by compulsion nor was he put to death by murderous violence, but of his own accord. Hear what he says: “I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it up again. I yield it of my own choice to my enemies; for unless I so choose, this could not be.”
The passion brings forgiveness
He came, therefore, of his own set purpose to his passion, rejoicing in his noble deed, smiling at the crown, cheered by the salvation of mankind, not ashamed of the cross, for it was to save the world. For it was no common man who suffered, but God in man’s nature, striving for the prize of his patience.