The Solemn Charge
Luke 24:47
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

It is an allowable curiosity to wonder how the apostles of our Lord received this "their solemn charge."

1. They must have been greatly impressed by its extreme seriousness; they were to preach repentance and remission of sin "among all nations. And although they did not know as we do what that meant, and how wide was the range of the Saviour's purpose, they could realize as we cannot how deep and bitter would be the enmity which a gospel of the crucified Nazarene would encounter, more especially in Jerusalem.

2. But they may have been powerfully sustained by the presence of the Lord himself. The power or' his resurrection" was then upon their souls; they were to go forth in his Name, who had just triumphed over man's last and greatest enemy - death. What could they not do through him? If we ask what was the message, in its fulness, which they were charged to deliver, we reply -

I. REPENTANCE AS CHRIST HAD PREACHED IT. They were to preach repentance in his Name. Therefore of the kind which he demanded. And this was no mere outward amendment; it was not found in the external habits of devotion; no amount of almsgiving, fasting, prayers, would constitute it. It meant:

1. Self-condemnation. Not necessarily the exhibition of overwhelming emotion, but the decided and deep conviction of our own unworthiness, and real regret for wrong done and for service withheld in the past.

2. The return of the heart to God. The coming back from the far country of estrangement, or forgetfulness, or denial and open enmity, and the seeking anew the Father's face and favour.

3. The outcasting from the soul of all tolerance of evil, so that sin is not only shunned but hated.

4. The pursuit of all moral excellency; to be attained by the study and the love of the great Exemplar himself. And this repentance, real and thorough, was to be immediate. There was to be no guilty and dangerous postponement; as soon as the soul recognized its duty it was to start on the true and right course.


1. Full. It was a forgiveness without reserve. The son (of the parable, ch. 15.) was not relegated to the servants' hall, though he had thought of asking for no more than that. He was admitted to the full honour of sonship; he was to wear the best robe and the ring, and he was to sit down to the table which was loaded in his honour. The mercy we receive through Christ, and which is to be offered "in his Name," is no imperfect thing; it is full, entire, complete. All past transgressions are absolutely forgiven, so that they will never be alleged against us or stand between us and the love of God. We ourselves are taken into the gracious favour of our heavenly Father, admitted to his family, counted among his own children, constituted his heirs, having freest access to his presence, welcome to call him by the most endearing name.

2. Immediate. There is no probation or apprenticeship to be served; we have not to wait to approve ourselves; we are not sentenced to any form of expiation by menial service before we gain our childhood. At once, so soon as we return in spirit unto God, that moment we are welcomed to the side and to the home of our Father.

3. In faith. We are to seek and to find forgiveness "in Christ's Name," i.e. in the exercise of a simple but living faith in him as in our Divine Saviour. So the apostles evidently understood their Master (see Acts 10:43; Acts 13:38, 39; 1 Peter 1:8, 9; 1 John 2:12). Thus the ascended Saviour instructed the "abortive-born apostle" (Acts 26:18), and thus that faithful witness continually taught (see Acts 20:21). Those who speak for Christ are to invite all sinful men to put their trust in him, the Saviour of mankind, the "Propitiation for the sins of the world," and, accepting him as such, to take the full, free mercy of God unto eternal life. Such was the message which the apostles were solemnly charged to deliver. There was in this great instruction:

1. One charge which they were more particularly to observe - they were to begin at Jerusalem. It was right they should begin there, for it was there that all "these things" (ver. 48) were known and could be attested; and, beginning there, the grace and the magnanimity of the Crucified One would be more abundantly manifested.

2. Another, which more particularly affects ourselves - this message of mercy is to be carried to "all nations." It is "the common salvation," needed by all and fitted for all, to work out and send forth which the Lord Jesus lived and died. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

WEB: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

The Divine Spirit and the Human Understanding
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