Let us now turn to the grandeur of the precious cross. Let us speak of it, and let us become acquainted with the prophecies which the prophets spoke concerning it from beginning to end. Therefore expand your uncultivated minds and listen in silence. Come, let us open up the great holy treasury. Let us draw out the spiritual ornaments. Let us adorn our souls with the love of the word. Invoke with me the friend of God and man, the giver of hospitality to the angels, I mean Abraham, the companion of God.
Come, Abraham, tell me what the typological meaning is of that thicket to which the ram was tied. Its name is sabek (Gen. 22:13). The interpretation of sabek is the Saviour's place of repose, that is, the wood of the cross upon which the Lamb of God mounted with great splendour to bring about the great economy of salvation, and on which he died in the form of a man. He will go up to his field having suffered through his labour. He lies on his bed and rests from his suffering. This is the manner in which the Saviour acted. For his bed on which he lays is the cross, which neither suffers, nor causes pain, nor torments, nor debilitates, nor perturbs, nor gets angry with those who pierce his hands with nails, not gets impatient with those who place a crown of thorns on his head, nor does it rebuke those who strike his face with blows, nor does it bear rancour in its heart against those who offer vinegar and gall in his sacred mouth, nor does it contend with those who deride him, nor does it get irritated with those who divide his garments by lot.
Do you want to know the truth? Listen, I will tell you it. I will say to you again that while they do all these things to him, he turned his eyes to heaven and prayed to his Father, saying, 'Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.' (LK. 23:34 ). At the same time you should be aware that God the Father determined at what hour to send down on them his irrevocable anger, even as the voice of his Only begotten ascends to him, beseeching him to put aside the indignation of his anger.
He sent a powerful angel and rent the curtain of the temple from top to bottom, tearing it into two. The earth shook, the rocks were split, the sun, that great source of light, was obscured and darkness filled the world to cover his sacred body on the cross, for it was stripped of his clothing which they had divided. (Mt. 27:45, 51: Lk. 23 44-5).
Ponder, then, my beloved, and reflect on God's mercy towards the world. He who had clothed the whole of creation was despoiled of his own clothing. He was left naked on the wood of the cross. But the sun, that wise minister, covered its Lord with darkness, which endured until the eyes of those atheists were dimmed, so that they should not see the great mystery that lay on the wood of the cross for they are not worthy of it.
For he who was contemplating it at that hour saw the accomplishment of the mystery of his divinity. Who was ever worthy of the great glory at that hour?
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)