What is the Orthodox Christian understanding of Christ being "an offering to His Father"?
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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:54 PM
Here are are few thoughts on the matter.
The Scriptures point to various understandings of Christ's sacrifice, such as the 'default' Christus Victor (Gospels, Acts, Peter), this particular understanding of Christ as being an offering to God is that found in Hebrews. The rich Theology of Hebrews focuses on the heavenly fulfilment of the earthly type of the Jewish sacrifice, tabernacle, and high priesthood. Christ as High Priest offered up Himself as the true offering leading men back to God, passing into the true tabernacle of heaven and establishing a new covenant by His blood, both sanctifying and purifying mankind of sin. Orthodoxy rejects the notion that this understanding of Christ's sacrifice contains any concept of Satisfactionism or penal substitution, and understands Christ's sacrifice not as an offering to the Father alone but to the Holy Trinity. The matter arose in the 12th century as to whether the offering was to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, or the Father alone. This was discussed at the Synod of Blachernae which decreed that it was to the Holy Trinity based on the following words in the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom: 'Thou art He that offers, and is offered (προσφερων και προσφερομενος), O Christ our God', that is the one who offers and the one to whom the offering is made. This same synod also rejected the notion that Christ's sacrifice reconciled us to the Father alone rather than to the Holy Trinity.
I hope this is of some help.
Posted 04 July 2017 - 06:53 AM
Algernon, I cant really add to Rdr Daniel excellent post. But an elderly gentleman once relayed a story to me about a dinner party he attended hosted by a traditional Japanese family. After he finished his meal, the lady of the house came around and placed more food on his plate. Not wanting to be rude he ate up the seconds so she came around and gave him a third helping. He was completely stuffed and as he looked around noticed all the guests left a morsel of food on their plates, none finished their plates clean.
The practical reason was if you finish your entire plate it assumes you may still be hungry and want more. He found this custom odd as he was brought up to finish everything on your plate ("there are starving children out there" or as the greeks say, 'hey that last bit on your plate is your strength").
He turned to one of the other guests and asked an aquaintence about this custom as he was completely unaware of this mentality. He was told that you should leave some food on your plate as an offering to God whom originally provided the bounty. Immediately he thought of the Divine Liturgy and the Gifts, "Thine own of thine own, we offer to Thee, in behalf of all, and for all". The OCA website offers alittle more insight:
What gift can we offer to You which is truly ours to give? Even the awareness of our poverty is a gift that comes from Your Holy Spirit. Like the Little Drummer Boy of the Christmas carol, we have no gifts to bring, unless it be the free will to desire to be here at this moment of the Divine Liturgy at the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of You Yourself, our Lord Christ Jesus, and Your heavenly Father, the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in it. In Your great wisdom, Lord Jesus, You chose from the meal the items that require some effort and talent or preparation on behalf of humans. The seeds of wheat planted and cultivated until ripened and made into flour and then bread is Your way of allowing us to take pride in the product; and so too the wine from the grapes. Your bread is our precious nourishment and Your wine having become Your Blood is the stimulant that fires us from complacency, invigorating us with zeal to be worthy of those Gifts. Thine Own of Thine Own - Orthodox Church in America
I dont know if my story is helpful, but i found it interesting when it was told to me many years ago.
Edited by Kosta, 04 July 2017 - 06:57 AM.
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