“A merciful and faithful High Priest” by John Calvin

“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 from 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…

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 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…

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.”

–John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews, trans. John Owen (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1853), 74-76. Calvin is commenting on Hebrews 2:17.

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Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Hebrews, Incarnation, Jesus as Priest, Jesus Christ, John Calvin, Priest Most High, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

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