Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and you on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
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Cyril of Alexandria
Of deep meaning is the word, and hard to be reached the purpose of the text, but it will be manifest through the grace of Him That illuminateth. Defeating then by many words the uninstructedness of the Jews, and manifoldly teaching them that they ought not to go off to unseasonable wrath on account of the breach of the sabbath, by reason the Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath day: but having at length attained no good effect by reason of the ill-counsel of the hearers, He passes on to another mode of economy, and endeavours to shew clearly that the hierophant Moses himself, the minister of the Law, brake the Law of the sabbath on account of the circumcision, which had extended from the custom of the fathers even unto his own times, that he too might with reason be shewn to be an observer of the custom of the fathers, and since God works on the sabbath, therefore He revealing Himself too as a worker holds that it is in no wise a transgression of the sabbath, by reason of His being ever like minded with the Father. Wherefore He also said, My Father worketh hitherto and I work. In order then (He saith) that ye, beholding Me working on the sabbath day, may not marvel as at some strange and most monstrous thing, Moses hath given you circumcision on the sabbath, and he was beforehand in breaking the Law respecting it. And why? He did not think he should be doing right, in dishonouring the Law given to the Fathers, and their custom, on account of the sabbath day. Therefore a man is circumcised on the sabbath day too. But if Moses considered that he ought to honour the custom of the fathers, and made that superior to the honour of the sabbath, why are ye vainly troubled at Me, and marvel at Me, as though I were one of those wont heedlessly to transgress the Law, out of contempt for the Law? albeit (He says) I work equally with the Father, and ever agree with Him in every purpose: and since He works on the Sabbath day, well do I refuse to be idle thereon. He says that Moses gave them, circumcision, although it was not of him according to what has been just said, but of the fathers, because the ordinance of circumcision was given to the fathers, but its rites were more definitely and clearly ordered by Moses. For our forefather Abraham was circumcised, but not on the eighth day, nor was a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons offered for him, in accordance with the rites of Moses.