Posted in

The Reason Why

20 October 2011 by Frank Turk


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.” 

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.”

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.

--John Calvin, Commentary on Hebrews 2:17

Leave Comment

The Calvinist Gadfly doesn't generally offer open comments for these blog posts. These posts are reflection and commentary on historical Christian documents and theology offered as affirmation of our faith.

However, from time to time we open the comments for the sake of giving our readers the opportunity to discuss the items posted in the same spirit the items are provided -- for encouragment and self-assessment so that those in the Christian faith can live for the sake of the truths we believe.

Mind your manners; interact with each other charitably and thoughtfully. The contributors to this blog may or may not respond to questions, but they may also use editorial good judgment on comments out of line without comment or appeal.