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King Ethelred the Unready (978-1016)
Breaking Death : For Jesus Christ to step down alive from his cross would have been a mighty miracle, but not the mightiest.
Breaking Death

From Elfric of Eynsham’s Sermon on Easter Day, translated from Old English. Follow the link for another translation, by Benjamin Thorpe.

In a sermon for Easter Day, Abbot Elfric (955-1010) reminded his congregation that the people of Jerusalem thought it would be a miracle worthy of God for Jesus to step down alive from his cross. A miracle, yes; but not so worthy of God as the one he then performed.

THE Jews called out to Christ, fastened to the cross, saying that ‘if he was the King of Israel, he should descend now from the cross, and they would believe in him.’*

Had he had descended from the cross and not borne their mockery, then without question he would have set us no example of his fortitude; but he did remain there, did bear their mockery, and did show fortitude.

However, he who would not break away from the cross rose up from death. It was more of a miracle to rise up from death than to break away alive from the cross; it was mightier to break death in pieces by his resurrection, than to cling to life and descend from the cross.

When they saw that despite their mockery, he did not descend from the cross, but waited there for death, they supposed him vanquished, and his name snuffed out.

But in the event, by this death his name ran through all the earth.

* See Mark 15:29-32.

From Elfric of Eynsham’s Sermon on Easter Day, translated from Old English. Follow the link for another translation, by Benjamin Thorpe.

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Picture: Via Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain. View original
‘Christ is risen from the dead / By death trampling down death, / and giving life to those in the grave’ (Easter acclamation). A sixteenth-century icon of the resurrection of Christ, showing the ‘harrowing of hell’, releasing Adam and Eve. The icon was painted by Markos Bathas (1498-1578).
By Elfric of Eynsham

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