On the Examination of Christ

St. Hippolytus ca. 170-235

For as a serpent cannot mark its track upon a rock, so the devil could not find sin in the body of Christ. For the Lord says, Behold, the prince of this world comes, and will find nothing in me. (Jn. 14:30) (On Proverbs)

St. Maximus the Confessor ca. 580-662

So the Lord put off the principalities and powers at the time of His first experience of temptation in the desert, thereby healing the whole of human nature of the passion connected with pleasure. Yet he despoiled them again at the time of His death, in that He likewise eliminated from our human nature the passion connected with pain. In His love for humanity, He accomplished this restoration for us though He were Himself liable; and what is more, in His goodness, He reckoned to us the glory of what He had restored. So too, since He assumed our nature’s liability to passions, albeit without sin (cf. Heb. 4:10), thereby inciting every evil power and destructive force to go into action, He despoiled them at the moment of His death, right when they came after Him to search Him out. He triumphed (Col. 2:15) over them and made a spectacle of them in His Cross, at the departure of His soul, when the evil powers could find nothing at all [culpable] in the passibility proper to His human nature. For they certainly expected to find something utterly human in Him, in view of His natural carnal liablity to passions. It seems that in His proper power and, as it were, by a certain “first-fruits” of His holy and humanly begotten flesh, He completely freed our human nature from the evil that had insulated itself therein through the liability to passions. For He subjugated — to this very same natural passibility — the evil tyranny which had once ruled within it (within that passibility, I mean). (Ad Thalassium 21)

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