World Wide Study Bible

Study

a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

17Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

 


Select a resource above

17. Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, or, to be like his brethren, etc. In Christ’s human nature there are two things to be considered, the real flesh and the affections or feelings. The Apostle then teaches us, that he had not only put on the real flesh of man, but also all those feelings which belong to man, and he also shows the benefit that hence proceeds; and it is the true teaching of faith when we in our case find the reason why the Son of God undertook our infirmities; for all knowledge without feeling the need of this benefit is cold and lifeless. But he teaches us that Christ was made subject to human affections, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest; which words I thus explain, “that he might be a merciful, and therefore a faithful high priest.” 5050     Here is, as I conceive, an instance of an arrangement similar to what is often found in the prophets, and to what occurs in verse 9; this would be seen were a part of this verse and the following verse put in lines, —
   That compassionate he might be
And a faithful high priest in the things of God
To make an atonement for the sins of the people;
For as he suffered, being himself tempted, he can help the tempted.

   The first and last line correspond, and the second and the third. He is compassionate, because he can sympathize with the tempted, having been himself tempted; and he is a true and faithful high priest, because he really expiated the sins of the people: and that he might be all this, he became like his brethren that is, by taking their nature. — Ed.

For in a priest, whose office it is to appease God’s wrath, to help the miserable, to raise up the fallen, to relieve the oppressed, mercy is especially required, and it is what experience produces in us; for it is a rare thing, for those who are always happy to sympathize with the sorrows of others. The following saying of Virgil was no doubt derived from daily examples found among men:

“Not ignorant of evil, I learn to aid the miserable.” 5151     Non ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco.

The Son of God had no need of experience that he might know the emotions of mercy; but we could not be persuaded that he is merciful and ready to help us, had he not become acquainted by experience with our miseries; but this, as other things, has been as a favor given to us. Therefore whenever any evils pass over us, let it ever occur to us, that nothing happens to us but what the Son of God has himself experienced in order that he might sympathize with us; nor let us doubt but that he is at present with us as though he suffered with us. 5252     This paragraph, which begins at verse 5, commences with what belongs to the kingly office — dominion, and what accompanies it, glory and honor; but it ends with the priestly office; and it is shown that it was necessary for the Savior to be a priest in order that he might be a king, and might make his people kings as well as priests to God. The dominion and glory promised to the faithful from the beginning intimated even in the first promise made to fallen man, and more fully developed afterwards, was what they had no power to attain of themselves: Hence it became necessary for the Son of God to become the son of man, that he might obtain for his people the dominion and glory. This seems to be the view presented to us in this passage. The children of God, before Christ came into the world, were like heirs under age, though lords of all. He came, took their flesh and effected whatever was necessary to put them in full possession of the privileges promised them. See Galatians 4:1-6. — Ed.

Faithful means one true and upright, for it is one opposite to a dissembler; and to him who fulfils not his engagements. An acquaintance with our sorrows and miseries so inclines Christ to compassion, that he is constant in imploring God’s aid for us. What besides? Having purposed to make atonement for sins, he put on our nature that we might have in our own flesh the price of our redemption; in a word, that by the right of a common nature he might introduce us, together with himself, into the sanctuary of God. By the words, in things pertaining to God, he means such things as are necessary to reconcile men to God; and as the first access to God is by faith, there is need of a Mediator to remove all doubting.

18. For in that he himself has suffered, etc. Having been tried by our evils, he is ready, he says, to bring us help. The word temptation here means no other thing than experience or probation; and to be able, is to be fit, or inclined, or suitable.




Advertisements