2:14-18 The angels fell, and remained without hope or help. Christ never designed to be the Saviour of the fallen angels, therefore he did not take their nature; and the nature of angels could not be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. Here is a price paid, enough for all, and suitable to all, for it was in our nature. Here the wonderful love of God appeared, that, when Christ knew what he must suffer in our nature, and how he must die in it, yet he readily took it upon him. And this atonement made way for his people's deliverance from Satan's bondage, and for the pardon of their sins through faith. Let those who dread death, and strive to get the better of their terrors, no longer attempt to outbrave or to stifle them, no longer grow careless or wicked through despair. Let them not expect help from the world, or human devices; but let them seek pardon, peace, grace, and a lively hope of heaven, by faith in Him who died and rose again, that thus they may rise above the fear of death. The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and ready to help them. He is ready and willing to succour those who are tempted, and seek him. He became man, and was tempted, that he might be every way qualified to succour his people, seeing that he had passed through the same temptations himself, but continued perfectly free from sin. Then let not the afflicted and tempted despond, or give place to Satan, as if temptations made it wrong for them to come to the Lord in prayer. Not soul ever perished under temptation, that cried unto the Lord from real alarm at its danger, with faith and expectation of relief. This is our duty upon our first being surprised by temptations, and would stop their progress, which is our wisdom.
17. Wherefore—Greek, "Whence." Found in Paul's speech, Ac 26:19.
in all things—which are incidental to manhood, the being born, nourished, growing up, suffering. Sin is not, in the original constitution of man, a necessary attendant of manhood, so He had no sin.
it behooved him—by moral necessity, considering what the justice and love of God required of Him as Mediator (compare Heb 5:3), the office which He had voluntarily undertaken in order to "help" man (Heb 2:16).
his brethren—(Heb 2:11); "the seed of Abraham" (Heb 2:16), and so also the spiritual seed, His elect out of all mankind.
be, &c.—rather as Greek, "that He might become High Priest"; He was called so, when He was "made perfect by the things which He suffered" (Heb 2:10; Heb 5:8-10). He was actually made so, when He entered within the veil, from which last flows His ever continuing intercession as Priest for us. The death, as man, must first be, in order that the bringing in of the blood into the heavenly Holy Place might follow, in which consisted the expiation as High Priest.
merciful—to "the people" deserving wrath by "sins." Mercy is a prime requisite in a priest, since his office is to help the wretched and raise the fallen: such mercy is most likely to be found in one who has a fellow-feeling with the afflicted, having been so once Himself (Heb 4:15); not that the Son of God needed to be taught by suffering to be merciful, but that in order to save us He needed to take our manhood with all its sorrows, thereby qualifying Himself, by experimental suffering with us, to be our sympathizing High Priest, and assuring us of His entire fellow-feeling with us in every sorrow. So in the main Calvin remarks here.
faithful—true to God (Heb 3:5, 6) and to man (Heb 10:23) in the mediatorial office which He has undertaken.
high priest—which Moses was not, though "faithful" (Heb 2:1-18). Nowhere, except in Ps 110:4; Zec 6:13, and in this Epistle, is Christ expressly called a priest. In this Epistle alone His priesthood is professedly discussed; whence it is evident how necessary is this book of the New Testament. In Ps 110:1-7, and Zec 6:13, there is added mention of the kingdom of Christ, which elsewhere is spoken of without the priesthood, and that frequently. On the cross, whereon as Priest He offered the sacrifice, He had the title "King" inscribed over Him [Bengel].
to make reconciliation for the sins—rather as Greek, "to propitiate (in respect to) the sins"; "to expiate the sins." Strictly divine justice is "propitiated"; but God's love is as much from everlasting as His justice; therefore, lest Christ's sacrifice, or its typical forerunners, the legal sacrifices, should be thought to be antecedent to God's grace and love, neither are said in the Old or New Testament to have propitiated God; otherwise Christ's sacrifices might have been thought to have first induced God to love and pity man, instead of (as the fact really is) His love having originated Christ's sacrifice, whereby divine justice and divine love are harmonized. The sinner is brought by that sacrifice into God's favor, which by sin he had forfeited; hence his right prayer is, "God be propitiated (so the Greek) to me who am a sinner" (Lu 18:13). Sins bring death and "the fear of death" (Heb 2:15). He had no sin Himself, and "made reconciliation for the iniquity" of all others (Da 9:24).
of the people—"the seed of Abraham" (Heb 2:16); the literal Israel first, and then (in the design of God), through Israel, the believing Gentiles, the spiritual Israel (1Pe 2:10).