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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter XXII

Early Church Fathers  Index     

22.  Importance of the Expressions “Behind” And “Turned.”

But you will compare together His saying to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” 5701 with that said to the devil (who said to Him, “All these things will I give Thee if Thou wilt fall down and worship me”), 5702 “get thee hence,” 5703 without the addition, “behind Me;” for to be behind Jesus is a good thing.  Wherefore it was said, “Come ye behind Me and I will make you fishers of men.” 5704   And to the same effect is the saying, “He that doth not take his cross and follow behind Me is not worthy of Me.” 5705  And as a general principle observe the expression “behind” because it is a good thing when any one goes behind the Lord God and is behind the Christ; but it is the opposite when any one casts the words of God behind him, or when he transgresses the commandment which says, “Do not walk behind thy lusts.” 5706   And Elijah also, in the third Book of Kings, says to the people, “How long halt ye on both your knees?  If God is the Lord, go behind Him, but if Baal is the Lord, go behind him.” 5707   And Jesus says this to Peter when He “turned,” and He does so by way of conferring a favour.  And if therefore you will collect more illustrations of the “having turned,” and especially those which are ascribed to Jesus, and compare them with one another, you would find that the expression is not superfluous.  But it is sufficient at present to bring forward this from the Gospel according to John, “Jesus turned and beheld them”—clearly, Peter and Andrew—“following, and saith unto them, What seek ye?” 5708   For observe that, when He “turned,” it is for the advantage of those to whom He turned.



Matt. xvi. 23.


Matt. iv. 9.


Matt. iv. 10.


Matt. iv. 19.


Matt. x. 38.


Ecclesiasticus 18.30.


1 Kings xviii. 21.


John i. 38.

Next: Chapter XXIII

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