A READING FROM THE COMMENTARY ON ST JOHN’S GOSPEL BY ST CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA
When the Maker of the universe designed, in a beautiful arrangement, to gather up all things in Christ and to restore again the nature of man to its pristine state, he promised along with the other gifts to give it also the Holy Spirit abundantly, because in no other way could it be reinstated in a peaceful and stable possession of good things.
He therefore defines the time when the Spirit will descend on us, that is the coming of Christ, and promises saying: In those days (that is, of the Saviour), I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.
When the time of this munificence brought the Only-begotten upon earth with flesh – that is, made man of a woman according to the holy Scripture – the God and Father began to give the Spirit again, and Christ received the Spirit first as First-fruits of the renewed nature. John bore witness to this, saying: I saw the Spirit descend from heaven, and it remained on him.
Christ is said to have received the Spirit, because he became man, and it was fitting for man to receive. Although he is the Son of the God and Father, and begotten of his substance even before the incarnation– or rather, before all ages – he does not take it amiss to hear the God and Father address him after he became man: You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
For he says that he has today begotten him, who before all ages was God begotten of him, so that in him he may receive us into sonship; for the whole human nature is found in Christ, because he is man. Since the Father has his own Spirit, he is said to give it again to the Son, so that in him we may gain the Spirit. For this reason therefore taking the seed of Abraham, as it is written, he was made like to his brethren in every respect.
The Only-begotten therefore receives the Holy Spirit not for himself; for the Spirit is his, and is given in him and through him, as we said before; but because he was man he had the whole nature in himself, that he might renew it all and restore its integrity.
Besides what has been said, we must consider this too. For we shall see, if we use right reasoning and the testimonies of Scripture, that Christ did not receive the Spirit for himself, but rather for us in himself: for all good things flow through him also into us.
St Cyril of Alexandria, Com. In Jo. 5, 2 (PG 74), from The Divine Office Vol. I