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

Early Church Fathers  Index     

14.  How Jesus Finished His Words.

And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words.” 6143   He who gives a detailed and complete account of each of the questions before him so that nothing is left out, finishes his own words.  But he will give a declaration on this point with more confidence who devotes himself with great diligence to the entire reading of the Old and New Testament; for if the expression, “he finished these words,” may be applied to no other, neither to Moses, nor to any of the prophets, but only to Jesus, then one would dare to say that Jesus alone finished His words, He who came to put an end to things, and to fulfil what was defective in the law, by saying, “It was said to them of old time,” 6144 etc., and, again, “That the things spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled.” 6145   But if it is written somewhere also in them, then you may compare and contrast the discourses finished by them with those finished by the Saviour, that you may find the difference between them.  And yet at this point, also, investigation might be made whether in the case of the things spoken by way of oracle the expression, “he finished,” is applied either to the things spoken by Moses, or any of the prophets, or of both together; for careful observation would suggest very weighty thoughts to those who know how “to compare spiritual things with spiritual,” and on this account “speak not in words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth.” 6146   But perhaps some other one, attending with over-curious spirit to the word “finished,” which is assigned to things of a more mystical order, just as we say that some one delivered to those who were under his control mysteries and rites of “perfecting” 6147 not in a praiseworthy fashion, and another delivered the mysteries of God to those who are worthy, and rites of “perfecting” proportionate to such mysteries, might say that having initiated them, he made a rite of “perfecting,” by which “perfecting” the words were shown to be powerful, so that the gospel of Jesus was preached in the whole world, and by virtue of the divine “perfecting” gained the mastery of every soul which the Father draws to the Son, according to what is said by the Saviour, “No one comes to Me except the Father which has sent Me draw him.” 6148   Wherefore also “the word” of those who by the grace of God are ambassadors of the gospel, “and their preaching, is not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit of power,” 6149 to those for whom the words of the doctrine of Jesus were finished.  You will therefore observe how often it is said, “He finished,” and of what things it is said, and you will take as an illustration that which is said in regard to the beatitudes, and the whole of p. 505 the discourse to which is subjoined, “And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words, all the multitudes were astonished at His teaching.” 6150   But now the saying, “Jesus finished these words,” is referred also immediately to the very mystical parable according to which the kingdom of heaven is likened unto a king, but also beyond this parable to the sections which were written before it.



Matt. xix. 1.


Matt. v. 33.


Mark 14:49, Matt. 26:56.


1 Cor. ii. 13.


τελετὰς.  Origen’s play on the words ἐτέλεσεν and τελετή cannot be fully reproduced in English.  The word τελετή, in reference to the mysteries, meant the rite, or participation in the rite, by which one became perfect; and in later Christian usage it was applied to the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  See Suicer.


John vi. 44.


1 Cor. ii. 4πνεύματος δυνάμεως.  The omission of the καὶ is strange; for in the Contra Celsum (i. 2) Origen characterises the argument from prophecy as “the demonstration of the Spirit” and the argument from miracles as “the demonstration of power.”


Matt. vii. 28.

Next: Chapter XV

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