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handle me, and see ; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and feet.
41. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat ?
, 42. And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43. And he took it, and did eat before them.
44. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.
46. And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day :
47. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48. And ye are witnesses of these things.
Now, probably, for the first time, the disciples were enabled to comprehend the purpose of Christ's death, as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of men. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer. He had before spoken of giving “ his life a ransom for many.” He had before spoken of “laying down his life for his friends:” of being “lifted up from the earth,” and so “drawing all men unto him." He had compared
3 ουτως έδει παθειν ΤΟΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΝ.
himself to “a corn of wheat, which if it die
In this way, the mighty scheme of redemption might now be unfolded in all its parts from the beginning: how “as in Adam all died, even so in Christ should all be made alive:” as “ by one man
4 Gen. ii. 15. 5 Isa. liii. 5, 6.
6 Numb. xxi. 9. 7 Heb. ix. 22.
8 Heb. ix. 26–28.
sin entered into the world, and death by sin; even so the grace of God, and the gifts by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, had abounded unto many.” That
That “as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Thus it behoved Christ to suffer. But all would have been still spoken in vain, if he had not at the same time opened their understandings, and enabled them to comprehend the reason why it behoved Christ to suffer: to perceive the holiness of God, the sinfulness of sin, and the consequent guilt of man. This is the key to those Scriptures, which without it are fast closed. The office of the Spirit is, to “reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" "to conclnde all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ may be unto them that believe.”
These were the grounds, on which repentance and remission of sin should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And the apostles were to be witnesses of these things. First, therefore, they must receive them into their own hearts, in order that they might be witnesses of them to the world. “ Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” And it was his own conviction which enabled Peter to counsel his astonished countrymen, “Repent, and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”] It was from personal conviction that Paul said, “By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” 2
9 Rom y. 12-21. 1 Acts ü. 38. 2 Acts xiü. 39.
Yet still how should they be sufficient for these things? How should these “unlearned and ignorant men” stand before governors, and kings, and councils? How should they overcome the prejudices of the Jews, how awaken the deadness of the Gentile heart? “A mouth and wisdom must be given them, which their adversaries should not be able to resist."
49. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you : but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
50. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51. And it.came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
52. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:
53. And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Such was the conduct of the disciples. And how could it be otherwise? They could not return to the ordinary business or duties of life, who had thus "tasted of the heavenly gift, and the powers of the world to come.” They must be speaking of the things which they had seen and heard. They must be praising aud blessing God, who had “ remembered his holy covenant,” and “ given knowledge of salvation unto his people.” They must be thinking within themselves, What are we, and what is our father's house, 12 that we should be appointed witnesses of these things ?
12 See 2 Sam. vii. 18.
Let us remember that what was cause of joy and praise to the apostles, is equal cause of joy and praise to ourselves, who believe in Jesus “ through their word.” Such is the habitual feeling of the Christian, the state of his mind: that
“ Him, having not seen, we love; and in him, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.” 13
1 Pet. i. 8.
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