Luke 24:36
While they were describing these events, Jesus Himself stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."
The Peace of ChristVarious Authors Luke 24:36
The Triumphant EndAlexander MaclarenLuke 24:36
Sense and Spirit: the ResurrectionVarious Authors Luke 24:33-43
A Divine VisitationLuke 24:36-49
Beginning At JerusalemC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:36-49
Beginning At JerusalemW. Landels.Luke 24:36-49
Christ Illuminates the UnderstandingJ. Flavel.Luke 24:36-49
Christ's Death and Resurrection Foretold in ScriptureJ. Mede.Luke 24:36-49
Christ's Epitome of the GospelW. H. C. Harris.Luke 24:36-49
Christ's First and Last SubjectC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:36-49
Christ's Sufferings, ResurrectionT. B. Baker.Luke 24:36-49
Jesus on the Evening of Easter DayCanon Liddon.Luke 24:36-49
Necessity for Christ's SufferingsC. H. Parkhurst.Luke 24:36-49
Need of the Spirit of God -- the Fire from HeavenW. Arthur.Luke 24:36-49
New PowerD. L. Moody.Luke 24:36-49
On the Understanding of ScriptureE. Blencowe, M. A.Luke 24:36-49
Peace Bestowed Upon ManJ. Parsons.Luke 24:36-49
PowerSmiles.Luke 24:36-49
Power from on HighR. Watson.Luke 24:36-49
Power from on HighJohn Griffith.Luke 24:36-49
Primitive Doubtings and Their CureH. Bonar, D. D.Luke 24:36-49
Reasons for Beginning At JerusalemJ. Dobie, D. D.Luke 24:36-49
Remission of SinsT. T. Lynch.Luke 24:36-49
RepentanceT. T. Lynch.Luke 24:36-49
Repentance and PardonLuke 24:36-49
Spiritual PowerJ. G. Rogers, B. A.Luke 24:36-49
Tarrying for FitnessA. F. Muir, M. A.Luke 24:36-49
The Apostolic CommissionJ. Macgregor, D. D.Luke 24:36-49
The Charge to the ApostlesW. Jay.Luke 24:36-49
The Church's Duty to Those OutsideH. P. Hughes, M. A.Luke 24:36-49
The Crucial TestH. O. Mackey.Luke 24:36-49
The Divine Order of PreachingR. Newton, D. D.Luke 24:36-49
The Duty and Importance of Special Efforts for the Conversion of CitiesW. Patton, M. A.Luke 24:36-49
The Final Recorded Meeting in JerusalemG. Venables, S. C. L.Luke 24:36-49
The First Appearance of the Risen Lord to the ElevenC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:36-49
The Gospel CommissionA. Somerville.Luke 24:36-49
The Gospel for the WorldG. Venables, S. C. L.Luke 24:36-49
The Mission and Equipment of the DisciplesW. Landels.Luke 24:36-49
The Opened UnderstandingM. F. Sadler.Luke 24:36-49
The Principles and Proclamation of the GospelW. M. Taylor, D. D.Luke 24:36-49
The Reality of the ResurrectionCanon Liddon.Luke 24:36-49
The Saviour's Last WordsD. C. Hughes, M. A.Luke 24:36-49
The Timely Presence and Salutation of JesusE. Payson, D. D.Luke 24:36-49
The Understanding OpenedT. Kidd.Luke 24:36-49
The Work of the Christian MinistryW. J. Grundy.Luke 24:36-49
The Wounds of JesusC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:36-49
Times of WaitingJ. Vaughan, M. A.Luke 24:36-49
Too Good to be TrueC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 24:36-49
Two Supreme NecessitiesThe Weekly PulpitLuke 24:36-49
Understanding the ScripturesS. Pearse.Luke 24:36-49
Why it Behoved Christ to Suffer and to RiseR. Newton, D. D.Luke 24:36-49
Infallible Proofs and Inevitable PartingsR.M. Edgar Luke 24:36-53

It is true that these words, "Peace be unto you!" were the ordinary Jewish salutation. But remembering that our Lord used these words a second time in this interview (see John 20:21), and having in mind the way in which he made these words his own, and gave to them not merely a formal but a profound significance (John 14:27), we may find much meaning in them. We recognize the fact that they were -

I. SPECIALLY APPROPRIATE TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES. The minds of his apostles had passed through the deepest distress. They had lost their Lord and their Friend; and with him they had lost, as they thought, their cause and their hopes; they were, therefore, afflicted with an overwhelming grief. And now they were filled with the liveliest agitation. They were in a mental state in which blighted hopes were struggling with darkest fears; their soul was stirred to its very depths; and what, above all things, they needed was One that could come and say, "Peace be unto you!" It was the very word that was wanted to be breathed into their ear, to be spoken to their heart.

II. ADMIRABLY DESCRIPTIVE OF HIS ABIDING MISSION. It is true that Jesus once said, "I came not to send peace, but a sword." But it will be found, on referring, that then he simply meant to say that division and strife would be an inevitable incident of the course of his gospel; he did not mean that this was its deep purpose or its long and last result. It was the back-water, and not the main current, of the truth he preached. Christ came to give peace to a world profoundly disturbed and disquieted by sin. "Come unto me," he said," and I will give you rest." Not as the world gives rest or peace does he give.

(1) Not mere comfort or gratification that is very short-lived;

(2) nor satisfaction that is based on ignorance of ourselves, and must before long be exposed;

(3) nor the quiet of indifference or unbelief that must soon be broken up. Not of this order is the peace of Christ. It is:

1. Rest to the burdened conscience. lie shows us our sin and makes us ashamed of it; he fills our heart with a true and righteous sorrow for it; he awakes within us a just and honourable concern for the consequences of it. And then he offers himself as the One who bore the burden upon himself, through whom we may find forgiveness and acceptance. And "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

2. Abiding gladness to the hungering heart. "In the world" is unsatisfiedness of soul, emptiness and heartache; a sense of disappointment. But in him is a true and lasting satisfaction. "How happily the days in his blest service fly!" To live heartily and wholly unto him who loved us and gave himself for us, to expend our powers in his praise and in his service, - this is the secret of lifelong peace. All the lower springs will fail, but this never. To "lose our life" unto him is to "find it" and to keep it for ever.

3. Comfort to the troubled spirit. When darkness falls upon the path, when losses come, when bereavement makes a gap in the home and in the heart, when some heavy disappointment blights the prospect, - then the felt presence, the realized sympathy, and the unfailing succour of that Divine Friend give a peace which is deeper than our disturbance, a thrice-blessed calm to the tempest-tossed soul.

4. Peace in death. For many centuries the dying have departed in peace because they have hoped for everything through the Divine Saviour; they have calmly "slept in Jesus;" and those who now look forward to death as a passage through which they will be passing can find no better wish or prayer than that "the music of his Name" may "refresh their soul in death." - C.

Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them.
I. THE CERTAINTY OF OUR LORD'S RESURRECTION. No fact in history is better attested.

1. Observe, that when this person appeared in the room, the first token that it was Jesus was His speech: they were to have the evidence of hearing: He used the same speech. No sooner did He appear than He spoke. His first accents must have called to their minds those cheering notes with which He had closed His last address. They must have recognized that charming voice. He was a peace-maker, and a peace-giver, and by this sign they were given to discern their Leader. I want you to notice that this evidence was all the better, because they themselves evidently remained the same men as they had been. "They were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit"; and thus they did exactly what they had done long before when He came to them walking on the waters. They are not carried away by enthusiasm, nor wafted aloft by fanaticism; they are not even as yet upborne by the Holy Spirit into an unusual state of mind, but they are as slow of heart and as fearful as ever they were. If they are convinced that Jesus has risen from the dead, depend upon it, it must be so.

2. Thus far in the narrative they had received the evidence of their ears, and that is by no means weak evidence; but now they are to have the evidence of sight; for the Saviour says to them, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself"; "and when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet." John says also "His side," which he specially noted because he had seen the piercing of that side, and the outflow of blood and water. They were to see and identify that blessed Body which had suffered death.

3. Furthermore, that they might be quite sure, the Lord invited them to receive the evidence of touch or feeling. He called them to a form of examination, from which, I doubt not, many of them shrank; He said, "Handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." The saints are not at the coming of their Lord to remain disembodied spirits, nor to wear freshly created bodies, but their entire manhood is to be restored, and to enjoy endless bliss. It will be of a material substance also; for our Saviour's Body was material, since He said, "Handle Me, and see that it is I Myself; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have."

4. Still further to confirm the faith of the disciples, and to show them that their Lord had a real Body, and not the mere form of one, He gave them evidence which appealed to their common sense. He said, "Have ye any meat; and they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it and did eat before them." This was an exceedingly convincing proof of His unquestionable resurrection. In very deed and fact, and not in vision and phantom, the Man who had died upon the cross stood among them.


1. Notice, first, that in this appearance of Christ we are taught that He is still anxious to create peace in the hearts of His people. No sooner did He make Himself visible than He said, "Peace be unto you." He has not lost His tender care ever the least of the flock; He would have each one led by the still waters, and made to lie down in green pastures.

2. Note again, that He has not lost His habit of chiding unbelief, and encouraging faith; for as soon as He has risen, and speaks with His disciples, He asks them, "Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?" He loves you to believe in Him, and be at rest.

3. Notice, next, that when the Saviour had risen from the dead, and a measure of His glory was upon Him, He was still most condescendingly familiar with His people. He showed them His hands and His feet, and He said, "Handle Me, and see."

4. The next thing is that the risen Lord was still wonderfully patient, even as He had always been. He bore with their folly and infirmity; for "while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered," He did not chide them.

5. Observe that our Saviour, though He was risen from the dead, and therefore in a measure in His glory, entered into the fullest fellowship with His own. Peter tells us that they did eat and drink with Him. I do not notice in this narrative that He drank with them, but He certainly ate of such food as they had, and this was a clear token of His fellowship with them.

6. Let me call your attention to the fact that when Jesus had risen from the dead, He was just as tender of Scripture as He was before His decease.

7. Once again, our Saviour, after He had risen from the dead, showed that He was anxious for the salvation of men; for it was at this interview that He breathed upon the apostles, and bade them receive the Holy Ghost, to fit them to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature.

III. The light which is thrown by this incident upon THE NATURE OF OUR OWN RESURRECTION.

1. First, I gather from this text that our nature, our whole humanity, will be perfected at the day of the appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we that may then be alive shall be changed. Jesus has redeemed not only our souls, but our bodies.

2. I gather next that in the resurrection our nature will be full of peace. Jesus Christ would not have said, "Peace be unto you," if there had not been a deep peace within Himself. Be was calm and undisturbed. There was much peace about His whole life; but after the resurrection His peace becomes very conspicuous. There is no striving with scribes and Pharisees, there is no battling with anybody after our Lord is risen. Such shall be our life, we shall be flooded with eternal peace, and shall never again be tossed about with trouble, and sorrow, and distress, and persecution.

3. When we rise again our nature will find its home amid the communion of saints. When the Lord Jesus Christ had risen again His first resort was the room where His disciples were gathered. His first evening was spent among the objects of His love. Even so, wherever we are we shall seek and find communion with the saints.

4. Furthermore, I see that in that day our bodies will admirably serve our spirits. For look at our Lord's Body. Now that He has risen from the dead He desires to convince His disciples, and His Body becomes at once the means of His argument, the evidence of His statement. His flesh and bones were text and sermon for Him.

5. In that day, beloved, when we shall rise again from the dead we shall remember the past. Do you not notice how the risen Saviour says, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you." He had not forgotten His former state. It is rather a small subject, and probably we shall far more delight to dwell on the labours of our Redeemer's hands and feet; but still we shall remember all the way whereby the Lord our God led us, and we shall talk to one another concerning it.

6. Observe that our Lord, after He had risen from the dead, was still full of the spirit of service, and therefore He called others out to go and preach the gospel, and He gave them the Spirit of God to help them. When you and I are risen from the dead, we shall rise full of the spirit of service. He will use us in the grand economy of future manifestations of His Divine glory. Possibly we may be to other dispensations what the angels have been to this. Be that as it may, we shall find a part of our bliss and joy in constantly serving Him who has raised us from the dead.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. When they had been acting unworthily by fleeing from Him at His betrayal, and deserting Him at His trial.

2. When they were unprepared, and unbelieving, doubting His express promise, and refusing the testimony of His messengers.

3. When they greatly needed His presence, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.

4. When they were exercising the little life they had by coming together in loving assembly. So far they were doing well, and acting in a way which was likely to bring blessing.

5. When they were lamenting His absence, and thus proving their desire after Him. This is an admirable means of gaining His presence.

6. When certain among them were testifying concerning Him. Are not we in a similar condition? May we not hopefully look for our Lord's manifestation of Himself?

II. WHAT HE SAID. "Peace be unto you."

1. It was a benediction: He wished them peace,

2. It was a declaration: they were at peace with God.

3. It was a fiat; He inspired them with peace.

4. It was an absolution: He blotted out all offences which might have spoiled their peace.


1. He banished their doubts. Even Thomas had to shake off his obstinate unbelief.

2. He revealed and sealed His love upon their hearts by showing them His hands and His feet.

3. He refreshed their memories. "These are the words which I spoke unto you" (verse 44).

4. He opened their understandings (verse 45).

5. He showed them their position. "Ye are witnesses of these things" (verse 48).

6. He filled them with joy (John 20:20).

Peace be unto you.
I. Notice the nature of the blessing which the Lord Jesus proclaims. It is the blessing of "Peace."

II. We observe the peculiar connection which the Redeemer implies this blessing to possess with Himself. He comes to them as the author of peace: and the peace which He wishes for them, He Himself gives.

1. Let it be considered that reconciliation with God arises wholly and exclusively from the sacrificial efficacy of the Saviour's sufferings.

2. Not only is reconciliation secured entirely by the sacrificial efficacy of His sufferings, but from the Lord Jesus Christ proceeds the mission of the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to apply actually to men the various blessings of redemption.

III. The animating influence which the Lord Jesus designs a participation of this blessing to exercise over all those by whom it is enjoyed.

1. The possession of this spiritual peace is designed to act as a preservative against temptation.

2. As designed to be a consolation amidst sorrow.

3. As designed to be an incentive to activity.

4. As an exciting cause of gratitude.

(J. Parsons.)

I. With reference to THE CHARACTER OF THE VISIT we may remark, that the visits which Christ makes to His Churches are of two kinds. He sometimes comes in anger, to chastise them. In this manner He threatened to visit some of the Asiatic Churches. At other times He visits His Churches in a gracious manner, to comfort, animate, and bless them. This is evident, in the first place, from the language in which He addressed them; Peace be with you. This was no mere formal greeting on His lips, but the expression of a genuine desire for their welfare. Nay, more; it was an assurance that peace existed between God and them. Nor was this all: it was also the bestowment of His peace upon them.


1. It was made at a time when the disciples were exceedingly unworthy of such a favour, and when they rather deserved to have been visited in anger. They had treated Him in a very unkind and ungrateful manner.

2. It was made at a time when the Church was very imperfectly prepared for it, and when very few among them expected it, or had any hope of such a favour.

3. The time when Christ made this gracious visit to His Church was a time in which it was very much needed. The faith, and hope, and courage of its members were reduced to the lowest point of depression, and unless revived by His presence, must soon have expired.

4. This visit was made at a time when the Church was employed in exerting the little life which yet remained among them, and in using proper means to increase it. Though assembling at this time was dangerous, so that they did not dare to meet openly, yet they did assemble, and they assembled in the character of Christ's disciples. This proved the existence of a bond of union among them, which drew them together. This bond of union consisted in sympathy of feeling. They all felt the same affections, the same apprehensions and anxieties, and the same sorrows, and all their thoughts centred in one object. This object was their crucified Master.

5. The gracious visit appears to have been made the very first time that the Church met after Christ's resurrection. This circumstance is highly indicative of His affection for them, of His unwillingness to leave them mourning one moment longer than was necessary, and of His strong desire to be again in the midst of them. We remark lastly, that this gracious visit was made on the Lord's day. And the next visit which He made to His Church was made on the next Lord's day. My brethren, should He not favour us with His presence on this occasion, let us consider this evil as the cause of His absence, and set ourselves to remove it without delay.

(E. Payson, D. D.)

I. THE SALUTATION — "Peace be unto you." These words were, no doubt, meant to allay the fears which were then agitating the disciples' minds. In themselves they were fitted to bare this effect, as showing the spirit and purpose with which He had come among them. But they were also, and still more, fitted to have this effect, because of what they brought to their remembrance. They were, in fact, like His wounds, signs by which they might identify the risen Lord. The twofold utterance of this salutation is not with. out significance. As Luke tells us, "The disciples had beheld, touched, and gladly received their rebuke; but there is again a wondering among them before the final clear and tranquil assurance fills their hearts. As before through fear, so now through astonished joy, they cannot altogether and fully believe." Their joy, though it has actual faith in it, "does not reach to peace and joy combined in their fulness." It has "in its first vehemence and disquietude too little peace." It is a "violent joy, in which, notwithstanding its semblance of overpowering feeling, a deep and firm faith can scarcely fix its roots. Therefore the wise and patient Master gradually brings them to the peace of faith." But we unduly limit the significance and scope of these words, if we view them only as designed to remove the fears of the disciples. Rather are we to regard them as the salutation which His resurrection brings to those for whom He died — the message borne by His wounds to all who look to Him for salvation. This resurrection as plainly as His advent proclaims, "peace on earth and goodwill to men."

II. THE SENDING — "As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." This was fitly preceded by the salutation, inasmuch as the man who is to be the herald of peace to others needs to enjoy peace himself. How great the honour which He puts upon His servants in thus comparing their mission with His own! And we offer the following remarks, not as exhaustive, but only as possible helps to the interpretation:

1. That they are, in some measure, to represent Him before men even as He represented the Father, giving men, both by their life and their teaching, a representation of His character, so as to enable them to form a conception of what He was. Such was unquestionably their calling. They were to be living epistles of Christ. He was to live in them.

2. That they receive authority from Him in some measure, as He received authority from His Father. They speak in His name, as He spoke in His Father's name. They do His works, as He did the works of His Father.

3. That they are to be His messengers to mankind, as He was the Father's messenger, taking up and publishing among the nations the gospel which He first proclaimed.

4. That they are to prosecute their work in the same spirit as He did — a spirit of self-denial and benevolence, seeking not their own gratification, but the glory of God and the salvation of men.

5. That they must seek to do their work by the same instrumentality — not with carnal weapons, but by the spiritual forces which are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds — not depending on human might or power, but on the Spirit of the Lord of hosts.

6. That they are to be in the world as He was — in it, though not of it — seeking no portion in it, nor making it their rest — desirous of remaining in it only while they have work to do — glad to leave it when their work is done. Such are some of the things which may be implied in their being sent by Him as He was sent by the Father.

III. THE ENDOWMENT — "He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost."

IV. THE MOMENTOUS WORK TO BE DONE — "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."

(W. Landels.)

Behold My hands and My feet
I. Here we note first of all our LORD'S INDULGENT TREATMENT OF MISTAKES AND IMPERFECTIONS IN RELIGIOUS BELIEF. We may venture to say that the disciples, seeing our Lord in the midst of them, ought to have recognized Him at once. They knew, from long companionship with Him, that there were no discoverable limits to His power over life and nature. That our Lord held His disciples responsible for such knowledge as this is plain from the words which He had used, earlier in the afternoon, when addressing the two on the Emmaus road; and from St. Mark we learn that on this occasion, too, He "upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart." Yet, looking to St. Luke's report, what tender censure it is! Here certainly is no expression which betrays grief or anger. He meets their excitement with the mildest rebuke — if it be a rebuke. "Why are ye disquieted? and why do critical reasonings arise in your hearts?" He traces their trouble of heart to its true source — the delusion which possessed their understandings about His being only a "spirit." In His tenderness He terms their unworthy dread a mere disquietude of the heart; they are on a false track, and He will set them right. What a lesson is here for all who, whether as fathers and mothers, or teachers, or clergymen, have upon their hands the immense responsibility of imparting religious truth to others! The first condition of successful teaching is patient sympathy with the difficulties of the learner. A great master was once asked, "What is the first condition of successful teaching?" "Patience," he said. "What is the second?" "Patience." "What is the third?" He paused, then said, "Sympathy." And what a rebuke is here on the want of considerateness, of courtesy, of generosity, which so often disfigures our modern treatment of real or supposed religious error! Who can wonder at our failures to convince, when our methods are so unlike that of the Great Teacher!

II. Here, too, we see OUR LORD'S SANCTION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF INQUIRY INTO THE FOUNDATIONS OF OUR RELIGIOUS BELIEF. Undoubtedly the understanding has great and exacting duties towards Revealed Truth. If God speaks, the least that His rational creatures can do is to try to understand Him. And therefore, as the powers of the mind gradually unfold themselves, the truths of religion ought to engage an increasing share of each of them, and not least of the understanding. What too often happens is, that while a young man's intelligence is interesting itself more and more in a widening circle of subjects, it takes no account of religion. The old childish thoughts about religion lie shrivelled up in some out-of-the-way corner of a powerful and accomplished mind, the living and governing powers of which are engaged in other matters. Then, the man for the first time in his life meets with some sceptical book; and he brings to bear on it the habits of thought and judgment which have been trained in the study of widely different matters. He forms, he can form, no true estimate of a subject, so unlike any he has really taken in hand before: he is at the mercy of his new instructor, since he knows nothing that will enable him to weigh the worth or the worthlessness of startling assertions. He makes up his mind that science has at length spoken on the subject of religion; and he turns his back, with a mingled feeling of irritation and contempt, on the truths which he learned at his mother's knee. This is no imaginary case; and among the reasons which go to explain so sad a catastrophe, this, I say, is one; that the understanding has not been properly developed in the boy and the young man, with relation to religious truth. What is the law of that development? It is this: that as the mind grows, it learns to reinforce the teaching of authority by the inquiries of reverent reason. But do not suppose that, because it condescends to be thus tested by your understanding as regards its reality, it is therefore within the compass of your understanding as regards its scope. It begins with that which you can appraise; it ends in that which is beyond you: because while you are finite and bounded in your range of vision, it is an unveiling of the Infinite, of the Incomprehensible.

III. Once more, NOTE HERE THE DIRECTION WHICH OUR LORD PURPOSELY GAVE TO THE THOUGHTS OF HIS PERPLEXED DISCIPLES. He does not turn them in upon themselves; He does not take their trouble, so to speak, sympathetically to pieces, and deal with its separate elements; He does not refute one by one the false reasonings which arise within them. He does not say to them, "These disquietudes, these doubts, are mere mental disorders, or interesting experiences, and the mind itself can cure diseases which the mind has produced." He would, on the contrary, have them escape from themselves; from the thick jungle of their doubts and fears and hopes and surmises: and come to Him. Whatever they may think, or feel; He is there, seated on a throne which enthusiasm did not raise, and which doubt cannot undermine; in His own calm, assured, unassailable Life. "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a mere spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." "Let us remind ourselves that whether we believe them or not, the facts of the Christian creed are true; and that faith only receives, but that it cannot possibly create or modify Christ and His gifts. Whether men believe or not in His eternal person, in the atoning virtue of His death, in the sanctifying influences of His Spirit, in the invigorating grace of His sacraments — these are certain truths. They are utterly independent of the hesitations and vacillations of our understandings about them. To ourselves, indeed, it is of great moment whether we have faith or not: to Him, to His truth, to His gifts, it matters not at all. "The Lord sitteth above this waterflood" of our changing and inconstant mental impressions; "the Lord remaineth a King for ever." "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself."

(Canon Liddon.)

I. THE NATURE OF OUR LORD'S RISEN BODY. It was the Body which had been born of the Virgin Mary, and had been nailed to the cross; the Body from which life had been expelled by the painful death of crucifixion, ere it had been buried in the grave of Joseph of Arimathea. This identity is insisted on by our Lord. "I Myself." "Flesh and bones." Our Lord's risen body, then, was literally the very body which had been crucified; and yet it had properties attaching to it which distinguished it. It was sown a natural body, that is a body governed by ordinary natural laws; and raised a spiritual body, that is, a body which, while retaining physical substance and unimpaired identity, was yet endowed and interpenetrated with some of the properties of spirit.

II. Now, corresponding to the twofold character of our Lord's risen Body, visible and palpable on the one hand, and spiritual on the other, is THE CHARACTER OF THE RELIGION WHICH REPRESENTS HIM AMONG MEN. Religion is like a sacrament: it has its outward and visible signs and its inward fact, or thing signified. Of these, the latter is, beyond dispute, the more important. Religion, the bond between the soul and God, lives in the habits, or acts, whereby the soul adheres to, and communes with, the Infinite Source of life. It is made up of faith, hope, and love, pouring themselves forth at the feet of the Invisible King; it is by turns aspiration, worship, resolve; it expends itself in a thousand unheard, unuttered acts, whereby the human spirit holds converse with its Creator. Religion is thus in its essence altogether removed from the province of sense; we cannot feel, or see, or hear, these acts of the soul, which assert its presence. It belongs to the purely immaterial world; it is hid with the Father, who seeth in secret, and who is worshipped, if at all, in spirit and truth. On the other hand, religion has another aspect. It steps forth from the sphere of the supersensuous, which is its congenial home; it takes bodily form and mien, and challenges the senses of hearing, and sight, and touch. It appeals through the human voice to the ear of sense. It meets and fascinates the eye; it even presents itself, as in the outward elements of a sacrament, to the touch. It is represented by a visible society — the Church. This society has its ministers, its assemblies for worship, its characteristic rites, its public buildings — all of which fall within the province of sense. The visible Church is, as our Lord said, a city set on a hill, which cannot be hid. Again, religion is represented by a book — the Bible. The Bible, too, belongs to the world of sense, just as much as the Church. We see it, handle it, read it. It brings religion visibly into the area of history, of poetry, of philosophy, as embodied in a large ancient literature. In the same way, religion takes an outward, shape in the good works and characters of individual Christians. They arrest observation; they invite comment, examination, discussion; they belong just as much to the public life of mankind as do the lives of worldly or wicked men. By them, too, Jesus Himself stands in the midst of human society. In short, religion in the world has this double character — outward and inward.


1. It is an encouragement for the timid.

2. It is a direction for the perplexed.

(Canon Liddon.)

I wish to draw your attention to the simple fact that our Lord Jesus Christ, when He rose again from the dead, had in His body the marks of His passion. If He had pleased He could readily have removed them.

I. OF WHAT USE WAS THE EXHIBITION OF THOSE WOUNDS TO THE DISCIPLES? They were infallible proofs that He was the same person. Had not some such evidence been visible upon our Saviour, it is probable that His disciples would have been unbelieving enough to doubt the identity of His person. But, now, think! If Christ had to undergo in His countenance those matchless transformations, that must have been, first of all, connected with His bloody sweat, then, with His agony, and after that, with the transforming, or, if I may use such a word, the transmutation of His body into a spiritual body, can you not conceive that His likeness would be changed, that the disciples would scarcely know Him if there had not been some deeply graven marks whereby they would be able to discover Him? The disciples looked upon the very face, but, even then they doubted. There was a majesty about Him which most of them had not seen. Peter, James, and John, had seen Him transfigured, when His garments were whiter than any fuller could make them; but the rest of the disciples had only seen Him as a man of sorrows; they had not seen Him as the glorious Lord, and, therefore, they would be apt to doubt whether He was the same. But these nail-prints, this pierced side, these were marks which they could not dispute, which unbelief itself could not doubt.


1. I can conceive, first, that the wounds of Christ in heaven will be a theme of eternal wonder to the angels.

2. Again, Christ wears these scars in His Body in heaven as His ornaments. The wounds of Christ are His glories, they are His jewels and His precious things.

3. Nor are these only the ornaments of Christ: they are His trophies — the trophies of His love. Have you never seen a soldier with a gash across his forehead or in his cheek? Why every soldier will tell you the wound in battle is no disfigurement — it is his honour.

4. Another reason why Jesus wears His wounds is, that when He intercedes He may employ them as powerful advocates. When He rises up to pray for His people, He needs not speak a word; He lifts His hands before His Father's face; He makes bare His side, and points to His feet. These are the orators with which He pleads with God — these wounds. Oh, He must prevail.

5. Jesus Christ appears in heaven as the Wounded One, this shows again that He has not laid aside His priesthood. If the wounds had been removed we might have forgotten that there was a Sacrifice; and, mayhap, next we might have forgotten that there was a Priest. But the wounds are there: then there is a Sacrifice, and there is a Priest also, for He who is wounded is both Himself the Sacrifice and the Priest.

6. There is another and terrible reason why Christ wears His wounds still. It is this. Christ is coming to judge the world. Christ. has with Himself to-day the accusers of His enemies. And when Christ shall come a second time to judge the world in righteousness, seated on the great white throne, that hand of His shall be the terror of the universe. "They shall look on Him whom they have pierced," and they shall mourn for their sins. They would not mourn with hopeful penitence in time; they shall mourn with sorrowful remorse throughout eternity.


1. He means this, that suffering is absolutely necessary. Christ is the head, and His people are the members. If suffering could have been avoided, surely our glorious Head ought to have escaped; but inasmuch as He shows us His wounds, it is to tell us that we shall have wounds too.

2. But next He teaches us His sympathy with us in our suffering. "There," says He, "see this hand! I am not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of your infirmities. I have suffered, too. I was tempted in all ways like as you are. Look here! there are the marks — there are the marks. They are not only tokens of My love, they are not only sweet forget-me-nots that bind Me to love you for ever. But besides that they are the evidence of My sympathy. I can feel for you. Look — look — I have suffered. Have you the heart-ache? Ah, look you here, what a heart-ache I had when this heart was pierced. Do you suffer, even unto blood wrestling against sin? So did I. I have sympathy with you."

3. Christ wears these wounds to show that suffering is an honourable thing. To suffer for Christ is glory.

4. Lastly, there is one sweet thought connected with the wounds of Christ that has charmed my soul, and made my heart run over with delight. It is this: I have sometimes thought that if I am a part of Christ's Body, I am a poor wounded part; if I do belong to that all-glorious whole, the Church, which is His fulness, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all, yet have I said within me, "I am a poor maimed part, wounded, full of putrifying sores." But Christ did not leave even His wounds behind Him; even those He took to heaven. "Not a bone of Him shall be broken," and the flesh when wounded shall not be discarded — shall not be left. He shall carry that with Him to heaven, and He shall glorify even the wounded member. Is not this sweet, is not this precious to the troubled child of God?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

In an old legend it is said that Satan once appeared to an old saint and said, "I am Christ," when the saint confounded him, and exposed his pretensions, as he said, "Then where are the nail-prints?"

(H. O. Mackey.)

They yet believed not for Joy

II. THE LORD'S WAY OF MEETING THE DOUBTS OF THE DISCIPLES — "He showed them His hands and His feet." Strange as this kind of recognition, this way of fixing the doubted identity, may seem, it was satisfactory. The mother in the story knew her long-lost child by the scar on the shoulder received in infancy; so was the Son of God recognized by the nail-prints and the bruises of the Cross. But did the disciples need this? Were the loved features not the same as ever? Were the eyes that wept over Jerusalem not the same as before; or had the grave robbed them of their tenderness and lustre? Were the lips, from which came the gracious words of parting love, not the same as in the upper chamber at the last supper? Was the voice so altered, that they did not know its tones? No. These resemblances might all be recognized; but so many things threw doubt upon these recognitions. It is, then, to remove all doubt that He exhibits the marks of His Passion. And in doing so, He shows us the true way of dispelling doubt, of whatever kind it may be, viz., the fuller knowledge of Himself, as the dead, the buried, the risen, and living Christ. It is this that is the cure of all unbelief, the death of doubting, the cherisher of faith, the perpetual source of stability and peace; for the real cause of all doubting is imperfect knowledge of the Lord.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

In the case before us, the disciples saw Christ manifestly before their eyes. To a certain extent they believed in His resurrection; that belief gave them joy, and at once that very joy made them unbelieving. They looked again; they believed once more; anon, a wave of joy rolled right over the head of their faith, and then afresh their doubts returned. If God had been half as merciful or a tithe as kind as He was, I could have believed it, but such exceeding riches of His grace were too much; such out-doings of Himself in goodness, such giving exceeding abundantly above what one could ask or even think, seemed too much to believe. We will at once attempt to deal with this temptation.


1. It is little marvel that the spirit is amazed even to astonishment and doubt when you think of the greatness of the things themselves. The black sinner says, My iniquity is great; I deserve the wrath of God; the gospel presents me with a pardon, full and complete. I have laboured to wash out these stains, but they will not disappear; the gospel tells me that the precious blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin.

2. Another reason for incredulity may be found in our sense of unworthiness. Note the person that receives these mercies, and you will not wonder that he believes not for joy. "Ah," saith he, "if these things were given to the righteous I could believe it, but to me, an old offender, to me, a hardhearted despiser of the overflowing love of God that cannot be!"

3. Add to these the strange terms upon which God presents these things to poor sinners. The miracle of the manner equals the marvel of the matter. No works; simply trust thy soul with Christ.

4. And add to this one more thought — the method by which God proposes to work all this; that is to say, He proposes to pardon, and to justify the sinner instantaneously.

II. Having thus tried to account for this state of the heart, may I have the help of God while I try to DO BATTLE WITH THE EVIL THAT IS IN IT, THAT WE MAY BE ABLE TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST!

1. Troubled heart, let me remind thee, first of all, that thou hast no need to doubt the truth of the precious revolution because of its greatness, for He is a great God who makes it to thee. Let no low thoughts of God come in to make you doubt His power to save you.

2. Again, let me remind you that the greatness of God's mercy should encourage you to believe that it comes from God.

3. Let me remind you again, that you may get another argument to put aa end to your fears about the greatness of God's mercy from the greatness of His providence.

III. I close by USING YOUR VERY FEARS AS AN ENTICEMENT TO BELIEVE. If it be so joyous only to think of these things, what must it be to possess them If it gives such a weight to thy spirit only to think of being pardoned, adopted, accepted, and saved, what must it be really to be washed?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)




1. Reminds them of former teaching.

2. Law, prophets, Psalms, etc., must be understood of Him.



1. Repentance.

2. Remission of sins.

3. In His name. Christ the sole hope.

4. Among all nations. Missions an essential part of the Church.

5. Beginning at Jerusalem.


VII. TARRYING AT JERUSALEM. "Tarrying," when clone because of faith, is a fine proof of faith, and strengthens prayer, and is an exercise of humility.

(G. Venables, S. C. L.)


1. Prophetic.

(1)The books of Divine origin.

(2)Its writers holy men.

2. Messianic.

(1)In their spirit.

(2)In their letter.

(3)In their symbols.

3. Harmonic.

(1)Moses, the prophets, and psalms distinct chords of one Christly anthem.

(2)This wondrous unity of the Old Testament Scriptures an irrefragable proof of their essential divinity.


1. Suggested by Christ's exposition.

2. Proved in the disciples' experience.

3. Corroborated in all generations.


1. The death of Christ.

2. The resurrection of Christ.

3. Repentance and remission of sins.


1. TO bear witness of personal salvation through Christ.

2. To bear witness of personal interest in the salvation of others,


1. This promise of the Father was the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

2. This gift of the Holy Spirit was to endue the disciples of Christ with power for testimony.

3. This enducment with the power of the Holy Spirit essential for successsful bearing witness for Christ.Practical questions:

1. Are we all disciples of Christ?

2. Do we all bear witness for Jesus Christ?

3. Is our witnessing for Christ accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit?

4. If not, why not?

(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)


1. This threefold division of the Scriptures suggestive in this connection.

(1)As showing that Christ is the central glory of each and every part.

(2)As showing in this the essential unity of all the parts.

2. The fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures most important in the evangelization of the world.

(1)Because it proves the Divine origin of the Scriptures.

(2)Because it shows the Divine authority with which the Christ of the Scriptures is invested as the world's Saviour.


1. A spiritual understanding of the Scriptures.

(1)Concerning the fitness of a suffering and a triumphant Christ.

(2)Concerning the essentials of gospel preaching.

2. Another qualification is Christian discipleship.

3. A third qualification is the special enduement of power.

(1)This enduement of power by the Holy Spirit should be distinguished from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is not a special, but general privilege of every Christian.

(2)The condition for this enduement may be seen in the account given of the prayerful waiting therefor, before the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:12-14; Acts 2:1-4).


1. The return of our Lord to heaven was necessary in order that the Holy Spirit might be sent. (John 16:7).

2. On the work of the Spirit depend the conviction and conversion of men, and the completion of the truth (John 16:8-14).


1. The world's great need — the gospel of Christ.

2. The Church's great responsibility to supply this need.

3. The importance of being equipped.

(G. Venables, S. C. L.)

Then opened He their understanding

1. It implies the transcendent nature of spiritual things, far exceeding the highest flight and reach of natural reason.

2. Christ's opening the understanding implies the insufficiency of all external means, how excellent soever they are in themselves to operate savingly upon men, till Christ by His power opens the soul, and so makes them effectual.

3. Christ's opening the understanding imports His Divine power, whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself. Who but God knows the heart? Who but God can unlock and open it at pleasure?


1. By His Word.

2. By His Spirit. He breaks in upon the understanding and conscience by powerful convictions and compunctions (John 16:8).When this is done, the heart is opened: saving light now shines in it; and this light set up, the spirit in the soul is —

1. A new light, in which all things appear far otherwise than they did before. The names "Christ" and "sin," the words "heaven" and "hell" have another sound in that man's ears, than formerly they had.

2. It is a very affecting light; a light that hath heat and powerful influences with it, which makes deep impressions on the heart.

3. And it is a growing light, like the light of the morning, which "shines more and more unto the perfect day" (Proverbs 4:18).Inferences:

1. If this be the work and office of Jesus Christ, to open the understandings of men; hence we infer the miseries that lie upon those men, whose understandings, to this day, Jesus Christ hath not opened; of whom we may say, as it is Deuteronomy 29:4.

2. If Jesus Christ be the great Prophet of the Church, then surely He will take special care both of the Church and the under-shepherds appointed by Him to feed them.

3. Hence you that are yet in darkness, may be directed to whom to apply yourselves for saving knowledge. It is Christ that hath the sovereign eye-salve that can cure your blindness.

4. Since then there is a common light, and special saving light, which none but Christ can give, it is therefore the concernment of every one of you to try what your light is. "We know that we all have knowledge" (1 Corinthians 8:1).These lights differ —

1. In their very kind and natures. The one is heavenly, supernatural, and spiritual; the other earthly and natural, the effect of a better constitution or education (James 3:15, 17).

2. They differ most apparently in their effects and operations. The light that comes in a special way from Christ, is humbling, abasing, and soul-emptying light; by it a man feels the vileness of his own nature and practice, which begets self-loathing in him; but natural light, on the contrary, puffs up and exalts, makes the heart swell with self-conceitedness (1 Corinthians 8:1). The light of God is practical and operative, still urging the soul — yea, lovingly constraining it to obedience.

3. They differ in their issues. Natural common knowledge vanisheth, as the apostle speaks (1 Corinthians 13:8). 'Tis but Mayflower, and dies in its month. "Doth not their excellency that is in them go away?" (Job 4:21). But this that springs from Christ is perfected, not destroyed by death; it springs up into everlasting life. The soul in which it is subjected carries it away with it into glory.

4. How are they obliged to love, serve, and honour Jesus Christ, whom he hath enlightened with the saving knowledge of Himself? O that with hands and hearts lifted up to heaven, ye would adore the free grace of Jesus Christ to your souls!

(J. Flavel.)

I. OUR LORD DESIGNED TO PUT AN ESPECIAL HONOUR ON THE SCRIPTURES. He might have taught His disciples without them. He might have enabled them. by immediate inspiration, to understand all things which related to His person. His office, and Divine commission; to His death and sufferings, His resurrection, and the glory that should follow. But He chose rather to refer them to the living oracles, given by God unto their fathers. Let me solemnly ask you, beloved brethren, what value do you set upon the Scriptures?

II. But, while vast numbers read not the Scriptures at all, MANY READ THEM, BUT UNDERSTAND THEM NOT. Their meaning is sealed up. If we would profit by the Scriptures, we must not read them like another book.

III. That these remarks may be brought to some practical end, let us, finally, ask — DO WE READ THE SCRIPTURES CONTINUALLY WITH THIS CONVICTION, THAT, WITHOUT THE TEACHING OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, WE CANNOT UNDERSTAND THEM? It is our duty to search the Scriptures; it is the Lord alone who can enable us to understand them.

1. If this conviction be strong on our minds, it will lead us to read the Scriptures with earnest prayer.

2. Again, if we be under an abiding conviction that, without the teaching of the Spirit, we cannot understand the Scriptures, we shall read them with diligence and perseverance.

3. Once more, if we be deeply convinced of our need of the grace of God, we shall read the Scriptures with an obedient, humble, teachable spirit.

(E. Blencowe, M. A.)

I. THE CHANGE PRODUCED. The unlocking of the whole soul; the breaking down of all the barriers of pride, prejudice, and sin, which preclude the gospel, and prevent the cordial reception of its salutary truths.

II. THE AUTHOR OF THIS CHANGE. The Lord Jesus Christ, by His Spirit. Inward illumination is necessary, because of —

1. The insufficiency of human powers.

2. The inefficiency of outward means.

III. The END of this change; the object which its Divine Author particularly regards; and this is, a right acquaintance with the holy Scriptures. "Then opened He their understanding"; why? to what end and purpose? "That they might understand the Scriptures." Here let it be carefully noted — the holy Scriptures are a complete revelation of the mind and will of God. But what is this understanding of the Scriptures, this right acquaintance with the Word of God, which evinces the teaching of the Spirit of Christ?

1. It is impressive. It is knowledge which touches and interests the heart.

2. It is progressive. The Spirit of Christ teaches gradually. "More and more unto the perfect day."

3. It is practical. This knowledge has influence on the spirit and conduct of men, an influence most salutary and important.

(1)It humbles for sin.

(2)It endears the Saviour.

(3)It promotes holiness.From the whole we remark —

1. The unhappy condition of those whose minds are yet closed against the light of the word and Spirit of Christ. Natural blindness is a melancholy affliction, but unspeakably more so this darkness of the soul!

2. The duty of such as desire Divine teachings. Think not highly of yourselves, but soberly as you ought to think.

3. The encouragement which the gospel gives to apply to Jesus Christ. This encouragement is large and free.

(T. Kidd.)

Whilst at prayer-meeting to-night, I learned more of the meaning of Scripture than ever before. Suitable frames of soul are like good lights, in which a painting appears to its full advantage.

(S. Pearse.)

This is in all probability as stupendous a miracle as any in the Lord's history. That men should in a moment receive a power of mental comprehension which they had not before, and that this power should enable them to see the true import and meaning of a book which had hitherto been closed to them, seems greater than any acts of healing, or feeding of multitudes, or stilling of tempests. It implies Divine power over our spiritual and intellectual nature such as God only can exercise. And yet it is the commonest of all miracles, and the one which survives amongst us. The opening of the mind and heart to the things of God is constantly now going on. To many — we may say to all — who submit their wills and understandings to God, the Scriptures are unlocked, a new light is shed upon every part of them, especially upon the works and words of the Lord. This power of a risen Christ we claim every time we put up to God one of the most familiar of all our prayers, that "by patience and comfort of His holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life" in Jesus Christ.

(M. F. Sadler.)

Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer
I. THE GOSPEL IS HERE REPRESENTED AS THE OUTCOME OF THE LONGCHERISHED PURPOSES OF GOD. It behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again, because it was included in God's redemptive purposes as revealed by His servants the prophets. Redemption was not an afterthought in the Divine mind.


III. THE GOSPEL, AS EXPRESSED IN THESE TWO FACTS, IS HERE REPRESENTED AS THE SUBJECT MATTER OF APOSTOLIC PREACHING. Why? Unquestionably, because they are the most vital and essential doctrines of Christianity. They lie at the root of all experimental religion.



(W. H. C. Harris.)

It would be difficult to find in the Word of God another paragraph which contains within itself more of the essential principles of the gospel than that to which this text belongs.

I. THE GROUND ON WHICH THE GOSPEL PROCLAMATION RESTS: "It behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." There could have been no gospel if there had been no Cross; but the death, even of Jesus, would have had no efficacy for the removal of human guilt, if He had not risen from the grave. The one fact is invariably connected with the other in the Epistles. The honour of the law required a victim. Three doctrines unite to form a trinity of gospel truth:

1. The person of Christ as God incarnate.

2. The death of Christ as the sacrifice.

3. The resurrection of Christ as the witness to the other two doctrines.

II. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE GOSPEL MESSAGE HERE DESCRIBED: "That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name." It is a proclamation of the remission of sins. This pardon is —

1. Full;

2. Free;

3. Immediate;

4. Irreversible.But it is not a proclamation of forgiveness alone. Two things, repentance and remission, are to go together. A man cannot have forgiveness and continue at the same time to indulge in sin. This mention of repentance is virtually the same thing as that insistence on faith so constantly found in the New Testament. Faith is the Christ. ward side of repentance. Repentance is the sinward side of faith.

III. THE ORDER IN WHICH THIS PROCLAMATION IS TO BE MADE: "To all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." The reasons of "beginning at Jerusalem" were —

1. To magnify the Divine mercy.

2. To secure a convincing illustration of the gospel's efficacy.

3. To establish a principle for the guidance of God's people in all ages.So the law is that our first efforts should begin in our own homes — "beginning at Jerusalem" — but we are not to be content with working there. We must look abroad also "to all nations."

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

etc.: —


1. That prophecy might be fulfilled (Zechariah 13:1).

2. That justice might be satisfied, and peace made (Romans 3:25, 26).

3. To convince and confound His adversaries.

4. To confirm the faith of His disciples.

5. To conquer sin, death, and grave.

6. That He might be the firstfruits.

7. That after abasement He might be exalted.

II. THE BLESSED EFFECTS RESULTING. "That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

1. The nature and necessity of repentance (Acts 5:31).

2. Full and free remission (Acts 13:39).

3. "In His name," or by His authority (Mark 16:15, 16).

4. Beginning at Jerusalem in the first place (Luke 1:72).

5. And carrying it to all nations.


1. The grace of Christ always prevents us (Luke 19:10).

2. Repentance and remission of sins are the fruits of Christ's death and resurrection (Romans 8:33, 34).

3. Remission of sins also accompanied with the saving knowledge of salvation.

4. The gospel commission is without exception of nations, as God's people are in all nations.

5. Salvation is alone in the name of Christ.

(T. B. Baker.)

The Weekly Pulpit.

1. Because He must show the evil of sin; and this is only seen in its results.

2. Because He must vindicate the Divine honour; and this He could only do by bearing the penalty of sin.

3. Because His truth would oppose the natural inclinations of men, and they would be sure to make Him suffer.

4. Because He must render a perfect obedience to the Father; and this could only be tested and proved by suffering.


1. Because His work was a commission, and some sign of its acceptance was needed.

2. Because His work was incomplete at death; part must be accomplished in renewed life.

(The Weekly Pulpit.)


1. Foretold in the Pentateuch.

(1)Genesis 22:18.

(2)Sacrificial slaying of beasts.

2. Foretold in the Prophets (Isaiah 53.; Daniel 9:25, 26; Zechariah 12:10).

3. Foretold in the Psalms (Psalm 16:9, 10).


1. This was first foreshown in the same story of Isaac, wherein his sacrifice or suffering was acted. For from the time that God commanded Isaac to be offered for a burnt-offering, Isaac was a. dead man; but the third day he was released from death. This the text tells us expressly, that it was the third day when Abraham came to Mount Moriah, and had his son, as it were, restored to him again: which circumstance there was no need nor use at all to have noted, had it not been for some mystery. For had there been nothing intended but the naked story, what did it concern us to know whether it were the third or the fifth day that Abraham came to Moriah, where he received his son from death? (see Hebrews 11:17-19). The same was foreshowed by the law of sacrifices, which were to be eaten before the third day. Some sacrifices were to be eaten the same day they were offered; but those which were deferred longest, as the peace-offerings, were to be eaten before the third day. The third day no sacrifice might be eaten, but was to be burnt: if it were eaten, it was not accepted for an atonement. but counted an abomination. Namely, to show that the sacrifice of Messiah, which these sacrifices represented, was to be finished the third day by His rising from the dead: and therefore the type thereof determined within that time,beyond which time it was not accepted for atonement of sin, because then it was no longer a type of Him.

2. As for the prophets, I find no express prediction in them for the time of Christ's rising (for that of the case of the Prophet Jonah, I take to be rather an allusion then a prophecy) only in general, "That Christ should rise again," is implied both in that famous prophecy of Isaiah 53., and that of Zechariah 12:3. I come to the Psalms, where not only His rising again is prophesied of, but the time thereof determined; though at first sight it appears not so: namely, in that fore-alledged passage of the Sixteenth Psalm, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, nor suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption." All men shall rise again, but their bodies must first return to dust, and see corruption. But Messiah was to rise again before He saw corruption. If before, then, the third day at farthest; for then the body naturally begins to see corruption.

(J. Mede.)

Christ's sacrifice upon Calvary came along by a process of natural simplicity. His death is readily explicable, and yet after He died He said that that death was one of the foregone conclusions of history: "Thus it behoved Christ to suffer." Paul said "Christ must needs have suffered." "Must." It is well to think down deep thoughts into the "musts" of history. The ages were surveyed — using the word of the civil engineer — before they were peopled and built upon, and the points were fixed which now century by century God is covering with facts and events.

(C. H. Parkhurst.)


1. It did not primarily behove Christ to suffer merely because the prophets had foretold that He should suffer and die; the necessity of His sufferings was rather the reason why prophets were directed to foretel a suffering Messiah. It behoved Him to suffer, that He might make a full and sufficient atonement for the sins of guilty man. It was the will of the Divine Father, and that will was sovereign and absolute, that Jehovah Jesus, the everlasting Son of the Father, should assume our nature, live in our world, and suffer in our stead. It was the voluntary engagement of the Son of God to accomplish His Father's will — "Lo! I come; in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God."

2. I grant you there are collateral reasons why it thus "behoved Christ to suffer." "Thus it behoved Him to suffer," that He might exhibit a perfect pattern of all excellence, and of patience in the midst of suffering. In all His condescension, in all His meekness, in all His forgiveness, in all His charity, He has taught us how to live and how to suffer; and "if we say we abide in Him, we ought to walk as He also walked."

3. "It behoved Him to suffer in our nature, and in our world, that He might, in some sense, ennoble and dignify the path of poverty and of suffering.

4. "It behoved Him to suffer," that from personal experience in our nature and in our world, He might know how to sympathise with His suffering people.

5. "It behoved Him to suffer," preparatory to that glory to which, as Mediator, He was to be exalted. "Ought not Christ to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory?" Not unfrequently does it happen, that the path of suffering is the high road to honour and glory; and never does true greatness appear in a light so impressive and interesting, as when seen grappling with difficulties, struggling with opposition, and ultimately rising superior to all. Through what a scene of suffering and agony and blood did our Divine Saviour pass, preparatory to entering into His glory! And when He arrived at the heavenly world, what an outburst of triumph and joy do we hear! "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain." And let His suffering followers know, that if so be they suffer with Him, in His cause and in His state and temper, they shall also be glorified together.


1. It behoved Him to rise, that in rising He might show that the redemption-price paid by the shedding of His blood was sufficient, and that it was accepted.

2. It behoved Him to rise from the dead, that in rising He might show that He had triumphed over death.

3. It behoved Him to rise., that in rising He might be "the firstfruits of them that slept."

4. It behoved Him to rise from the dead, that in rising He might assert and exercise His regal character and office as King of saints, as Lord of the earth.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

That repentance and remission of sins
From Matthew 4:17, coupled with this verse, we learn that repentance was the first subject upon which the Redeemer dwelt, and that it was the last which, with His departing breath, He commended to the earnestness of His disciples. He begins His mission crying, "Repent"; He ends it by saying to His successors the apostles, "Preach repentance and remission of sins among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

I. Repentance — ITS ORIGIN. When we cry, "Repent and be converted," there are some foolish men who call us legal. Now, we beg to state, at the opening of this first point, that repentance is of gospel parentage. It was not born near Mount Sinai. If repentance is ever obtained by the poor sinner, it must be found at the foot of the Cross, and not where the ten commandments lie shivered at Sinai's base. And as repentance is of gospel parentage, I make a second remark, it is also of gracious origin. Repentance was never yet produced in any man's heart apart from the grace of God.

II. But to pass forward from this first point to our second head, let us notice the ESSENTIALS of true repentance. I have thus, as best I could, feeling many and very sad distractions in my own mind, endeavoured to explain the essentials of true repentance, illumination, humiliation, detestation, transformation.

III. And now, with all brevity, let me notice, in the third place, the COMPANIONS of true repentance. Her first companion is faith. There was a question once asked by the old Puritan divines, "Which was first in the soul, faith or repentance?" Some said that a man could not truly repent of sin until he believed in God, and had some sense of a Saviour's love. Others said a man could not have faith till he had repented of sin; for he must hate sin before he could trust Christ. So a good old minister who was present made the following remark: "Brethren," said he, "I don't think you can ever settle this question. It would be something like asking whether, when an infant is born, the circulation of the blood or the beating of the pulse can be first observed." Said he, "it seems to me that faith and repentance are simultaneous. They come at the same moment. There could be no true repentance without faith. There never was yet true faith without sincere repentance." We endorse that opinion. I believe they are like the Siamese twins — they are born together, and they could not live asunder, but must die if you attempt to separate them. Faith always walks side by side with his weeping sister, true repentance. There is another sweet thing which always goes with repentance, just as Aaron went with Moses, to be spokesman for him; for you must know that Moses was slow of speech, and so is repentance. Repentance has fine eyes, but stammering lips. In fact, it usually happens that repentance speaks through her eyes, and cannot speak with her lips at all, except her friend — who is a good spokesman — is near. He is called "Mr. Confession." This man is noted for his open-breastedness. Repentance sighs over the sin — confession tells it out. Holiness is evermore the bosom friend of penitence. Fair angel, clad in pure white linen, she loves good company, and will never stay in a heart where repentance is a stranger. Repentance must dig the foundations, but holiness shall erect the structure, and bring forth the top-stone. Repentance is the clearing away of the rubbish of the past temple of sin; holiness builds the new temple which the Lord our God shall inherit. Repentance and desires after holiness never can be separated. Yet once more — wherever repentance is, there cometh also with it peace.

IV. And now I come to my fourth and last point, namely, the EXCELLENCIES of repentance. I shall somewhat surprise you, perhaps, if I say that one of the excellencies of repentance lies in its pleasantness. "Oh!" you say, "but it is bitter!" Nay, say I; it is sweet. At least, it is bitter when it is alone, like the waters of Marah; but there is a tree called the cross, which if thou canst put into it, it will be sweet, and thou wilt love to drink of it. At a school of mutes who were both deaf and dumb, the teacher put the following question to her pupils: "What is the sweetest emotion?" As soon as the children comprehended the question, they took their slates and wrote their answers. One girl in a moment wrote down "Joy." As soon as the teacher saw it, she expected that all would write the same, hut another girl, more thoughtful, put her hand to her brow, and she wrote "Hope." Verily, the girl was not far from the mark. But the next one, when she brought up her slate, had written "Gratitude," and this child was not wrong. Another one, when she brought up her slate, had written "Love," and I am sure she was right. But there was one other who had written in large characters — and as she brought up her slate the tear was in her eye, showing she had written what she felt — "Repentance is the sweetest emotion." And I think she was right. Besides this excellency, it is specially sweet to God as well as to men. "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." When St. lay a-dying, he had this verse always fixed upon the curtains, so that as often as he awoke he might read it — "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise." When you despise yourselves, God honours you; but as long as you honour yourselves, God despises you.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


II. THE PECULIAR WORK OF THIS COMMISSION. The preaching of repentance and remission of sins in the name of Christ.




(A. Somerville.)

I. THE WORK PRESCRIBED BY THE SAVIOUR. The end of this work is, that sinners should be saved. This practical end we must ever keep in view.

1. The means here prescribed is preaching — preaching repentance and remission of sins. This ordinance of preaching, even in the general sense of public religious teaching, is all but peculiar to the religion of Christ.

2. The power indicated in our text is the power of truth, of the true Word of God. And here we see the ultimate source of our strength, in the revealed will of God. The so-called crusaders, in their wild enterprise for the recovery of God-forsaken Palestine from the infidels, were animated and sustained by the battle-cry, "God wills it." In seeking to win the lost world to its life in God, from the bondage of sin and death and hell, we have to cheer us and sustain us the Bible truth, "God wills it." For the work which He has ordained shall certainly be done (Isaiah 55:10-13). This glorious work the gospel is fitted instrumentally to achieve by its nature as true and Divine, "the Word of God."

3. Not only the gospel is true and Divine; its Teacher is true and Divine. It is ordained in this Will that the preaching shall be "in the name" of Jesus the Christ.

II. THE ORDER IN WHICH THIS WORK IS TO BE UNDERTAKEN: "BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM." Not passing by Jerusalem, nor coming to her in the last place, but "beginning at Jerusalem": so runs the Will.

1. They are the nearest, most easily reached.(1) In place. To the apostles elect Jerusalem was literally the nearest point of Judaea, and Judaea of Palestine, and Palestine of the world. And even beyond Judaea and Palestine, in every important city of the Gentile world, there was a Judaea and Jerusalem, a Jewish quarter and synagogue, more accessible and convenient for public religious teaching and discussion than any other quarter and temple. This is one of his points of resemblance to the Scot — his nation, far more than ours, is the ubiquitous nation. All the world over, the Jew is nearest in place.(2) They are nearest in mind. The wood has first to be hewn in the savage forest, and the stones to be quarried from the bowels of the earth, before the heathen mind can furnish as much as an altar for our faith to be laid on. But in the mind of the Jew the altar is built to our hands; the wood is there upon it, ready to be kindled to a blaze.

2. They are, when found and saved, fitted to be the most precious, as instruments of diffusing the gospel to others. I have already referred to their lot of ubiquity, showing that they are by position an army in actual occupation of the world. I might add that they have a natural gift of tongues, being familiar with the languages of all the nations among which they are dispersed. And we have seen that they have a theological knowledge, derived from Old Testament revelation, such that they need only to know Jesus as the incarnate Word in order to be ready-made preachers of Him in the gospel.

3. They are the worst. They are the chief of sinners, peculiarly the children of the devil (John 8:44). No other nation has sinned as they have sinned, so long and deeply and desperately, against the light of God's offered mercy, first in "Moses and all the prophets," then in the person of Jesus the Christ, and finally in the apostles and evangelists throughout the new dispensation of the Spirit. Therefore we ought to preach the gospel of salvation "to the Jews first." For, first, in so doing we act in the spirit of the gospel as a dispensation of healing mercy: we illustrate the abounding grace of the great Physician, who hastens to go first with His remedy where the malady is deadliest. And second: when Jerusalem has yielded at last, and believed and repented for salvation, what shall her actual salvation be but spiritual resurrection to the world? For she will love much because she has been forgiven much.

(J. Macgregor, D. D.)

I. THE GRAND SUBJECTS OF THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY: repentance and remission of sins.







IV. TO WHOM: all nations.

V. WHERE FIRST: at Jerusalem.

(W. J. Grundy.)

Repentance and pardon are like to the three spring months of the year — March, April, and May. Sin comes in like March — blustering, stormy, and full of bold violence. Repentance succeeds like April — showery, weeping, and full of tears. Pardon follows like May — springing, singing, full of joys and flowers. If our hands have been full of March, with the tempest of unrighteousness, our eyes must be full of April, with the sorrow of repentance; and then our hearts shall be full of May, in the true joy of forgiveness.




IV. WE SHOULD SEEK THE CONVERSION OF CITIES, BECAUSE IN THEM THE ADVERSARY REIGNS WITH PECULIAR POWER. Would you see the power of Satan in cities? Cast your eye back upon the past. What were Sodom and Gomorrah? What were Tyre, and Sidon, and Nineveh? What was Babylon? What was Jerusalem in its latter days, when given up, accursed of God? What were they but sinks of pollution and fountains of ruin? And, could we draw aside the curtains of darkness, what might we see in modern cities?

V. THERE ARE PECULIAR ADVANTAGES FOR THE PROMOTION OF RELIGION IN CITIES. In cities, ministers and good men can readily and effectually co-operate in plans of usefulness. Cities also furnish peculiar advantages for individual exertion. If Christians in our cities would conduct themselves agreeably to the Bible, how awful to the wicked would be their example! What reformations would be wrought among the worldly and profane! How many haunts of poverty and wretchedness would be searched out! How many souls, once in communion with the saints, would be brought back from their wanderings!


(W. Patton, M. A.)


1. Repentance. This consists in conviction of sin, contrition of heart, and godly sorrow for transgressions; and it ends in real conversion to God.

2. Remission of sins. Free, full, final. The Forgiver retains no anger.

3. They were to preach both repentance and the remission of sins. We are not to separate what God hath joined together. To encourage the hope of pardon, without repentance, is rebellion against common sense, and treason against the whole spirit and letter of the Word of God. And, on the other hand, there is no true repentance without proper views of, and faith in, God's pardoning mercy and grace. Without these the heart may be terrified, but it never can be softened.


1. In His stead.

2. By His authority.

3. Through His mediatorial influence.


1. Christianity was designed to be universal; to enter and to pervade all nations of the earth.

2. Christianity is adapted to universality.

3. Enough has already been done to encourage our hope of its actual universality in due time.


1. To fulfil Scripture (Zechariah 14:8).

2. To attest more strongly the truth of Christianity. They were to begin to preach the facts of the gospel in the very place where it is reported they occurred; and so recently as to be in the memory of those they addressed. Would impostors have done this?

3. To afford proofs of the Saviour's compassion. He sends His ambassadors with offers of mercy and pardon to. a city whose inhabitants were reeking with His blood.

4. It was that His ministers should afford encouragement to all; so that none should have a just pretence "to perish in despair." "Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

5. It was to encourage His servants in their endeavours to evangelize. The apostles were not to begin at a distance, but as near as possible. Suppose, now, you had a wilderness covered with briers and thorns, and you wished to make a smooth passage through it; would it be wiser to begin at the farther end, and work homewards, or at home first, pursuing your course to the farther end? Would not the latter way save you some time and trouble? And, as you went on, would not the little parts you cultivated afford supplies to aid you to proceed with your cultivation?

(W. Jay.)

He that repents leaves the wrong way to take the right. Repentance is a change of mind leading to a change of conduct. He that repents turns quite round to God; his back was to heaven's gate, his face is now toward it. A single action may show the change, as the weather-vane, pointing to a new quarter, tells us that the wind has changed. And what a change that may be! "The wind is west," we cry; "the drought is over!" How simple is repentance, how mighty the effects! "Effects!" "Simple!" Is the rain that blesses the thirsty land caused by the turning weather-cock? Is the great change of wind, of which even smoke or a straw may give us notice, only to be had for the wishing, or so very simple in its causes? We cannot state too simply to ourselves what repentance is; but this repentance, of which we so speak, is a very great thing. This change in the soul's weather may come in with stormy darkness; thunder and rain and tempest may be the servants of God that bring the blessing. To preach repentance then is not merely to cry: "Consider your ways, amend them." It is to present such inducements, and to provide such "assistances" that the soul may feel itself very powerfully dealt with for amendment; and these are provided and presented in Jesus Christ.

(T. T. Lynch.)

"Remission of sins " is the assurance that God will not charge them against the repenting soul; and that He will break the strength they still have in it, and wholly disperse and destroy them. Pardon and complete deliverance are assured; and at once the effect of former sin begins to be put away. But the process of salvation is a gradual one. To put on Christ is not the work of an hour. The Physician once welcomed, many a visit must He pay. Even were the soul at the hour of its repentance absolutely assured that no more harm could ever come to it from what it had done amiss, it has all its good yet to win and to appropriate: as yet it occupies a low place; it is untaught, unclad; it must be educated; it can rise only by degrees. Christ has said for it, and for all souls, "I have overcome evil; I have perfected good." By faith in Him, i.e., by our so personal union with Him, through trust, that He is ours and we His, we gain all the benefits of His protection from evil, and His promised impartation of God. But we enter into the fulness of the blessing gradually. And, strong as our confidence in the Divine pardon may be, sin in us does not at once die; and earnest as our repentance toward God may be, the good new life in us is not at once adult and all-accomplished. But, in the name of Christ, there has been preached to us, and still is, "repentance and remission of sins": "repentance," with all inducements and all assistances; "remission," with all assurance: the comfort of the blessing, the earnest of its full realization — these may at once be ours. In the name of Christ: shall we say, by His power the one is preached; for His sake, the other? Yes; so we may say. But the two blessings are one in Him who has subdued the past for us and won for us the future. Vain, and wrong, were any declaration of pardon without a call to repentance. Vain, and even mocking, were any call to repentance without the promise of pardon. Hope there can be none for man unless he be made divinely good. Good, and happy in his goodness can no man be made, unless the forces of evil with which he was leagued, by which he was thralled, to which he contributed, are overcome.

(T. T. Lynch.)

Beginning at Jerusalem



IV. THAT THE EFFICACY OF HIS GRACE MIGHT BE MANIFESTED. In conclusion, we learn from the subject —

1. That it is the duty of professing Christians to manifest the spirit of Christ. If Christ is dwelling in you, you cannot but manifest His spirit, for His life is your life.

2. We learn from this subject, that it is our duty to spread the gospel of Christ.

3. From this Subject we learn how sincere and earnest is God's desire for the salvation of sinners — "He is not willing that any should perish."

(J. Dobie, D. D.)


1. Repentance.

(1)Repentance as a duty.

(2)The acceptableness of repentance.

(3)The motives of repentance. Not mere fear of hell; but sorrow for sin.

(4)Repentance in its perpetuity.

(5)The source of repentance. The Lord Jesus Christ is exalted to give repentance.

2. Remission of sins. Free, full, irreversible pardon for all who repent of sin, and lay hold on Christ by faith.

II. WHERE IT IS TO BE PREACHED. Among all nations. Divine warrant for missions.

III. But this is not all. We are actually told HOW TO PREACH IT. Repentance and remission are to be preached in Christ's name. What does this mean?

1. Ought we not to learn from this that we are to tell the gospel to others, because Christ orders us to do so? In Christ's name we must do it. Silence is sin when salvation is the theme. But it means more than that.

2. Not only preach it under His orders, but preach it on His authority. The true servant of Christ has his Master to back him up.

3. But does it not mean, also, that the repentance and the remission which are so bound together come to men by virtue of His name? Oh, sinner, there would be no acceptance of your repentance if it were not for that dear name!

IV. Now, I shall ask your attention to the principal topic of the present discourse, and that is, that He told His disciples WHERE TO BEGIN. The apostles were not to pick and choose where they should start, but they were to begin at Jerusalem. Why?

1. Because it was written in the Scriptures that they were to begin at Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:3; Joel 2:32; Joel 3:16; Zechariah 14:8).

2. I suppose that our Lord bade His disciples begin to preach the gospel at Jerusalem, because it was at Jerusalem that the facts which make up the gospel had occurred.

3. The third reason why the Lord Jesus told them to begin at Jerusalem may have been that He knew that there would come a time when some of His disciples would despise the Jews, and there. fore He said — When you preach My gospel, begin with them. This is a standing commandment, and everywhere we ought to preach the gospel to the Jew as well as to the Gentile; Paul even says, "to the Jew first."

4. The fourth reason for beginning at Jerusalem is a practical lesson for you. Begin where you are tempted not to begin. Naturally these disciples would have said one to another when they met, "We cannot do much here in Jerusalem. The first night that we met together the doors were shut for fear of the Jews. It is of no use for us to go out into the street; these people are all in such an excited frame of mind that they will not receive us; we had better go up to Damascus, or take a long journey, and then commence preaching; and when this excitement is cooled down, and they have forgotten about the crucifixion, we will come and introduce Christ gradually, and say as little as we can about putting Him to death." That would have been the rule of policy — that rule which often governs men who ought to be led by faith. But our Lord had said, "Beginning at Jerusalem," and so Peter must stand up in the midst of that motley throng, and he must tell them, "This Jesus whom ye have with wicked hands crucified and slain is now risen from the dead." Instead of tearing Peter to pieces they come crowding up, crying, "We believe in Jesus: let us be baptized into His sacred name." The same day there were added to the church three thousand souls, and a day or two afterwards five thousand were converted by the same kind of preaching. We ought always to try to do good where we think that it will not succeed.

5. Begin at home. Look well to your own children, servants, brothers, sisters, neighbours.

6. Begin where much has been already done. The Jerusalem people had been taught for centuries in vain; and yet Christ's disciples were to speak to them first. We must not pass the gospel-hardened; we must labour for the conversion of those who have enjoyed privileges but have neglected them.

7. Begin where the gospel day is short. It was about to end at Jerusalem. Now, then, if you have any choice as to the person you shall speak to, select an old man. He is near his journey's end, and if he is unsaved there is but a little bit of candle left by the light of which he may come to Christ. Or when any of you notice a girl upon whose cheek you see that hectic flush which marks consumption — if you notice during service the deep "churchyard" cough — say to yourself, "I will not let you go without speaking to you, for you may soon be dead." We ought speedily to look up those whose day of grace is short.

8. Begin, dear friend, where you may expect opposition. That is a singular thing to advise, but I recommend it because the Saviour advised it. If they began at Jerusalem, they would arouse a ferocious opposition. But nothing is much better for the gospel than opposition.

9. The Saviour bade them begin at Jerusalem, because the biggest sinners lived there.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. The charge to begin at Jerusalem shows how the gospel challenges investigation of the facts which it proclaims in the locality in which they transpired, and where, in consequence, they are capable of being most thoroughly sifted.

II. The charge to begin at Jerusalem shows that even Jerusalem sinners — the men who had thirsted for the Saviour's blood — the men who had cried, "Away with Him, crucify Him!" — the men who mocked Him in His last agonies — the men who reviled and tortured and murdered Him — were not excluded from His compassion.

1. Taking at the outset the lowest ground, we learn from His words that there is mercy for the greatest sinners.

2. But this is not all. The text requires us to advance a step further. It not only teaches that there is mercy for the worst sinners, but that the worst and most wretched sinners are especially the objects of mercy. Should you begin to ask how this is, and on what principle it is to be accounted for, our own feelings under certain circumstances may help us to an answer. The mother, if she loves as a mother should, has no arbitrary or groundless preference for any of her children. While they are all about her, behaving as children should, she cannot tell you which is dearest. Most sincerely she will tell you that she loves them all alike. But in after years, when their character is developed, and each pursues his own course, it is the poor prodigal whose suffering most awakens her solicitude, and not so much his suffering as his sin. It is his image that is most frequently present to her mind. Let me add here, that the salvation of the worst sinners will serve most to magnify the Divine mercy. As the rough sea makes manifest the good qualities of the lifeboat which has weathered the storm; as the physician's skill is most illustriously displayed, and the efficacy of his medicines most strikingly evinced, by the cure of the most aggravated disease; as the builder's reputation is advanced, not only by the beauty and symmetry of the structure which he has erected, but also by the worthlessness of the materials out of which it has been formed; so is mercy most illustriously displayed and most gloriously magnified in the salvation of the greatest sinners. Moreover, the forgiveness of the greater guilt is fitted to awaken greater gratitude in the forgiven sinner.

III. The Saviour's charge shows the order in which we should proceed in our efforts for the conversion of the world. The principle which He commends to us is the sound principle of beginning at home. But while our efforts should begin at home, they should only begin there.

(W. Landels.)

Mark the order to be observed, for it is here prescribed, in promulgating the system of truth and mercy throughout the world. They were to "begin at Jerusalem"; and therefore we must begin there. For thus it is written — "A law shall go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." This part of the Divine order gives to our common Christianity a character of the most resplendent truth. "Beginning at Jerusalem." Suppose they had begun anywhere else but at Jerusalem. Suppose they had passed Jerusalem by. Suppose they had gone to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. Suppose they had gone to countries still more remote, and there commenced operations, and there proclaimed repentance and remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. Infidelity with both its eyes open and both its ears, to look at anything that can be seen, and listen to anything that can be heard, which can be lifted up to the discredit of Christianity — infidelity would very soon have raised its crest, arid lifted its voice on high. It would have said, "You see how these apostles, as they are called, managed this matter. Not a man of them dared say a word in Jerusalem. They knew, if they had gone there with their tales about the darkened sun, the rending rocks and rising dead, the people of Jerusalem would have risen up to confront them; a child of seven years old would have been enough to confront them all. Away they went to another part of the world, and there began with their tales of one Jesus that lived and died and rose again, and that all who believe in Him will be saved by Him; and these untutored people, who had no means of ascertaining whether the statements were true or false, seeing the confidence with which they were asserted, were credulous enough to receive them, and thus your Christianity made a beginning in the world." Did it sot Let infidelity blush, if of a blush it is capable — which I very much doubt — for where shame is, virtue may be some day or other. Let infidelity blush! — at Jerusalem they did begin. On the very spot where the facts happened, there were those facts fearlessly and triumphantly proclaimed. They did not wait half a century, till a]most all that lived when the facts occurred were numbered with the dead. They went immediately; they "began" there on the very spot; there they preached a risen Saviour, and repentance and remission of sins in His name. Truth loves daylight, truth glories in the sunshine — invites attention, challenges examination, commands conviction and assent. "Begin at Jerusalem!" and does not this give to our Divine Christianity a character of the tenderest compassion? "Begin at Jerusalem?" I can almost imagine I hear Simon Peter, who had a warm heart and therefore a ready tongue, say to his Master — "Oh! let it be rather anywhere but Jerusalem. Hast Thou forgotten how they treated Thy prophets before Thee? Hast Thou so soon forgotten how they treated Thyself? — how they despised Thy teaching and Thy prayers, and Thy entreaties and tears? Hast Thou so soon forgotten how they thirsted for Thy blood, and how they rested not till they had imbrued their hands in it? Look at Thy hands and side, do not they bear the marks of their cruelty? — Anywhere but Jerusalem." Such might be the language of man, but such was not the determination of our merciful Redeemer — "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." "Begin at Jerusalem." "Though I bear the marks of their cruelty, they shall have the first offer of My clemency. Begin there. Go and try to find out those that falsely accused Me, and tell them I am ready to become their advocate, to plead their cause before the throne on high. 'Begin at Jerusalem ' — try to find out those that scourged Me, and tell them from Me, that by My stripes they may be healed. 'Begin at Jerusalem ' — find out those cruel wretches that mingled for Me in My extremity the cup of vinegar and gall, and tell them from Me, that at My hand they may receive the cup of salvation. 'Begin at Jerusalem' — find out those that plaited the crown of thorns — that put it on — that smote Me with a reed, and mocked Me — and tell them from Me, that from Me they may receive' a crown of glory that fadeth not away.'"

(R. Newton, D. D.)

Suppose you gentlemen who are in business received no business letters to-morrow morning when you reached your office, and you were expecting large remittances from abroad, you would be very much astonished. You would wait for the next post, and for the next, but I expect that, before noon, your excitement would be so great that you would hurry off, probably, to the General Post Office, and, if there was a universal non-delivery of letters in the city of London, you would really wish to see the Postmaster-General if he were within reach, or, at any rate, the postmaster of the main office. And what would be your criticism if, when you explained your troubles and the non-delivery of the letters, that official shrugged his shoulders, and calmly replied that the letters were all there, and that you were quite aware that the post-office was open from seven to ten, and that you bad only to call and you could have your letters. You would turn round and say, "The Government pays you to deliver the letters at our address." And in the same way God has given you and me certain messages of mercy to the sinners in this neighbourhood, and it is our business to take those messages to them.

(H. P. Hughes, M. A.)

Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem

1. Its essential feature. "Power." his comprehends all the "fruits of the Spirit."

2. It is properly and distinctly a gift imparted from without and above. "Endued with power from on high."

3. Its purpose. Not an ornament or accomplishment merely. It qualified men for various offices in the Church (Ephesians 4:7, 11).

II. TARRYING FOR FITNESS. Great benefits require time for their realization: and spiritual exercise prepares for spiritual endowment.

1. By their enforced tarrying the disciples were taught that no man must thrust himself into the ministry of Christ.

2. The delay was an important element of their preparation.

3. The place for power is the place of Divine appointment. Why "Jerusalem"? It was full of associations of His ignominy and death. It contained the worst enemies of His cause. But "Christ is God's forgiveness."

(A. F. Muir, M. A.)

The time during which they were to "tarry" proved to be ten days — from the Thursday to the Sunday week following. It was just long enough to be a real test and trial. You may say, perhaps, considering the circumstances, it was a tremendous trial. And yet, mercifully, just shortened enough to be not intolerable — a discipline, but like every other from the Father's hand, a discipline beautifully tempered. I am inclined to think that this interruption — I speak, of course, according to man — this interruption by ten days had a great design, and that it was to illustrate one very important part of God's methods with all His children, at all times and under all circumstances. I see traces of the same method of dealing throughout the Bible. There is a pause, there is a breathing time, before anything falls. In judgments, the flood did not begin till not only a hundred and twenty years had passed, but not until seven days after the date for which it had been positively announced. And at Sodom, at Gomorrah, at Jericho, at Nineveh, at Jerusalem, there were intervals, distinct, between sentence and execution. While equally, many, I might say most, of the best blessings of which we read did not come till there had first been what you may call their period — a waiting-time. Sometimes it is very short, as in the case of the Syrophoenician woman, or Mary and Martha at Bethany, three or four days; sometimes longer, as with Abraham looking for a son, or David's succession to his predicted throne; sometimes exceedingly protracted, as when good king Hezekiah never lived to see the answer to a father's prayers in the conversion of his son, and yet, nevertheless, when the appointed moment came, his son was brought to God, though the lips that prayed it were silent. And what, what is the whole of this dispensation through which we are now passing? A space between two advents — a waiting time for that which seemed to be, and which apostles thought to be, quite close at the door two thousand years ago. Do you say that is too long to be a parallel, that is not an interval? Nay, "a little while and ye shall not see Me; and again a little while and ye shall see Me, because I go to the Father." And we are dealing with One to whom "one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." The thought, then, which I wish to impress upon you, and which seems to me to be the lesson of this season is, that God is a God who delights in intervals — intervals as they relate to our little minds, but all an equal part in one grand design — and that the right viewing and the proper use of these intervals is an essential part of the Christian's education. We ought to know how these intervals should be passed. First, you must have in your mind a remembrance that it is an interval, only an interval, an ordained interval, an interval with a defined boundary line — though you cannot see it — that it is in the map, that it is as much a part of the map of God's covenant as the issue which is to come, or as the means which you are now using to obtain it. Then, acknowledging it as God's own waiting time, you must honour Him. Shall the great God, all wise and true, be hurried by one of His creatures? "Tarry thou the Lord's leisure" is written on the fore-front of all God's government. Is not it enough for you that He has told you "what"? — are you to dictate the "when," and determine the "where"? Still, while you keep the eye of expectation upon the horizon where the promise is to arise, keep your hand on the door. The hour is a fixed hour — it is in the "determinate counsel and fore-knowledge of God." Then, in the interval, you will do well to do just what Christ told His little Church to do in this great model of all waiting — go on with present duties, be content for a little time to have a very small sphere, keep in the appointed path, and be sure that you use ordinances, be where all blessing comes, stay in Jerusalem. Then, in your Jerusalem, look to it that it is all love, else your prayers will be hindered. And, like the twelve — and this is a wonderful record, and shows how God blesses and honours His waiting ones, even when all outward circumstances are quite dark — spend the time in great joy. And be much in prayer, especially united prayer.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Endued with power from on high
Our need to-day is the same as that of the apostles. Our work is prosecuted under different circumstances, but its difficulties are essentially the same. The weak things of the world have still to contend against the mighty, and can be equal to the struggle only in so far as they are made mighty by power from on high. And the promise to us is unchanged.

I. WHAT THIS SPIRITUAL POWER IS. In a word, it is intensity in every part of the Christian life. There is power in faith — the strong, simple, unwavering faith which so lays hold of a truth that it possesses and controls the soul, stirring its deepest sympathies, and awakening its mightiest faculties. There is power in the devoted loyalty to truth which leads a man to obey her call at whatever cost, to surrender wealth, ease, honour, and, what is as hard as all besides, personal prejudice, as well as interest for her sake. There is power in the courage which leads a man to work out his own ideal of duty; to speak what is true, and do what is right, without taking counsel with flesh and blood; to stand alone and defy a scoffing world, rather than compromise his integrity or betray his trust. There is power in sympathy — the gentle, loving, active compassion, which finds its chief delight in doing good; which unlocks the hearts of men as by a magic key, and establishes a rule within them by the force of its own unselfishness. There is power in the grandeur and sublimity imparted to life by its conscious association with another and eternal state of being, and the desire so to shape all its thoughts and words and deeds that it shall be but the fitting prelude to that better and purer life. There is power in devoted love to a high and noble Person: a love which not only inspires in the soul the earnest desire to partake of His goodness and beauty, but to forget itself in the daily effort to exalt and honour Him. All these elements are united in that "spiritual power" of which I speak.

II. THE NEED WHICH THE CHURCH HAS OF THIS POWER. It is the one great want of this age. With it, we need not be afraid of the utmost liberty; without it, there is no safety, even in the most watchful and zealous conservatism. With it, we shall be able to silence the gainsaying even of this sceptical generation; without it, we may employ the most cogent arguments, and put them in the most convincing form, and our labour will be utterly fruitless; for it is the hearts of men we have to move rather than their intellects, and hearts are only reached by the power of soul. With it, we may still have controversy, but there will be a counteractive force that will repress all its evil and violence;. without it, we may have uniformity and quiet, but in them there will be the seeds of corruption, decay, and death. With it, we may have a feeble agency and imperfect organization and defective plans, and yet out of their very weakness will be perfected strength; without it, we may have improvement in our machinery, but for lack of the motive power there will be no result. Give this, and everything will follow. The whole aspect of our religious condition will be altered, a new and more vigorous love will characterize the action of the Church, problems that seem insoluble will be settled, and difficulties that have been regarded as insuperable will be overcome.

III. HOW THIS POWER IS TO BE OBTAINED. It is "power from on high." God gives it — gives it to every humble and trusting soul, gives it in answer to prayer, gives it liberally to all who earnestly seek. The first and great condition of it is absolute trust in Him. Nothing else can impart earnestness and sincerity to our supplications.

(J. G. Rogers, B. A.)

I propose to illustrate this description of the blessed Spirit —



I. Consider, then, in these extraordinary gifts, which were only intended for the time, how mightily God wrought in man.

1. Take the gift of tongues.

2. Mark the illumination of the mind with the full truth.

3. Mark the power with which they spake. All was light, all feeling.

4. Mark their miracles of healing.

5. Note their discernment of spirits, as in the cases of Ananias and Simon Magus.

6. Finally, take their courage.

II. BY THE ORDINARY INFLUENCES EXERTED ON THE APOSTLES AND ON ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS. Let us, then, consider how this power manifests itself. And here, too, we shall see a mighty working of God in man, not inferior in real glory, and superior in grace, to those extraordinary illapses. This is displayed —

1. In the awakening of the soul of man from its deep and deadly sleep of sin.

2. Our subject is illustrated by the office of the Spirit as the Comforter.

3. We have another instance in the office of the Spirit as the Holy Ghost the Sanctifier.

4. Take a final instance from the fruits of the Spirit.I apply this subject to your edification by observing —

1. That there is a power promised to you more glorious than all the endowments of apostolic gifts.

2. Fix the greatness of the blessing before you.

3. Do you ask how you are to attain it? See your example in the apostles. Believe your Lord: "I send the promise of My Father upon you."

4. Know that "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Aspire, then, to this.

5. Ask the effusion of the Spirit upon your friends, the whole Church, and the world.

(R. Watson.)

The chief aim and labour of Boulton was the practical introduction of Wart's steam engine as the great working power of England. With pride he said to Boswell, when visiting Soho, "I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have — power."


Some men are richly endowed with this priceless gift. When they speak their hearers feel that a supernatural power is grappling with them, and forcing them to yield or to set up a conscious resistance. People are often at a loss to account for the influence which such men possess. As men they see nothing in them to account for it; but they are compelled to feel and confess that mysterious something with which their entire being is surcharged. Mr. Carpenter, of New Jersey, a Presbyterian layman, who lived many years ago, presents a most striking instance of this wonderful power. His education was very limited, and his mental endowments were of the most ordinary kind. Till anointed of the Holy Ghost he was a mere cipher in the Church. As soon, however, as he received that anointing, he became a man of marvellous spiritual power. The hardest sinners melted under his appeals, and yielded to Christ. At his death it was stated that by a very careful inquiry it had been ascertained that more than ten thousand souls had been converted through his direct instrumentality. Finney is another instance. "Soon after his conversion," we are told, "he received a wonderful baptism of the Spirit, which was followed by marvellous effects. His words uttered in private conversation, and forgotten by himself, fell like live coals on the hearts of men, and awakened a sense of guilt, which would not let them rest till the blood of sprinkling was applied. At his presence, before he opened his lips, the operatives in a mill began to fall on their knees, and cry for mercy. When traversing Western and Central New York, he came to the village of Rome in a time of spiritual slumber. He had not been in the house of the pastor an hour before he had conversed with all the family, and brought them all to their knees seeking pardon or the fulness of the Spirit. In a few days every man, woman, and child in the village and vicinity was converted, and the work ceased from lack of material to transform; and the evangelist passed on to other fields to behold new triumphs of the gospel through his instrumentality."

(John Griffith.)

When I was preaching in Farwell Hall, in Chicago, I never worked harder to prepare my sermons than I did then. I preached and preached; but it was beating against the air. A good woman used to say, "Mr. Moody, you don't seem to have power in your preaching." Oh, my desire was that I might have a fresh anointing. I requested this woman and a few others to come and pray with me every Friday at four o'clock. Oh, how piteously I prayed that God might fill the empty vessel. After the fire in Chicago, I was in New York city, and going into the bank on Wall Street, it seemed as if I felt a strange and mighty power coming over me. I went up to the hotel, and there in my room I wept before God, and cried, "Oh, my God, stay Thy hand!" He gave me such fulness that it seemed more than I could contain. May God forgive me if I should speak in a boastful way, but I do not know that I have preached a sermon since, but God has given me some soul. Oh, I would not be back where I was four years ago for all the wealth of this world. If you would roll it at my feet, I would kick it away like a football. I seem a wonder to some of you, but I am a greater wonder to myself than to any one else. These are the very same sermons I preached in Chicago, word for word. It is not new sermons, but the power of God. It is not a new gospel, but the old gospel, with the Holy Ghost of power.

(D. L. Moody.)

Suppose we saw an army sitting down before a granite fort, and they told us that they intended to batter it down, we might ask them, "How!" They point to a cannon ball. Well, but there is no power in that; it is heavy, but not more than half-a-hundred or perhaps a hundred-weight; if all the men in the army hurled it against the fort they would make no impression. They say, "No, but look at the cannon!" Well, but there is no power in that. A child may ride upon it; a bird may perch in its mouth. It is a machine, and nothing more. "But look at the powder." Well, there is no power in that; a child may spill it; a sparrow may peck it. Yet this powerless powder and powerless ball are put into the powerless cannon: one spark of fire enters it, and then, in the twinkling of an eye, that powder is a flash of lightning, and that cannon ball is a thunderbolt which smites as if it had been sent from heaven. So is it with our church or school machinery of this day; we have the instruments necessary for pulling down strongholds, but O for the fire from heaven!

(W. Arthur.)

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