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47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things.

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47. To all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Christ now discovers clearly what he had formerly concealed—that the grace of the redemption brought by him extends alike to all nations. For though the prophets had frequently predicted the calling of the Gentiles, still it was not revealed in such a manner that the Jews could willingly admit the Gentiles to share with them in the hope of salvation. Till his resurrection, therefore, Christ was not acknowledged to be any thing more than the Redeemer of the chosen people alone; and then, for the first time, was the wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14) thrown down, that they who had been strangers, (Ephesians 2:19,) and who had formerly been scattered, might be gathered into the fold of the Lord. In the meantime, however, that the covenant of God might not seem to be made void, Christ has assigned to the Jews the first rank, enjoining the apostles to begin at Jerusalem. For since God had peculiarly adopted the posterity of Abraham, they must have been preferred to the rest of the world. This is the privilege of the firstborn which Jeremiah ascribes to them, when Jehovah says, I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is first-born, (30:9.) This order, too, Paul everywhere observes with the greatest care, telling us that Christ came and proclaimed peace to those who were near, and afterwards to strangers who were at a distance, (Ephesians 2:17.)

48. And you are witnesses of those things. He does not yet commission them to preach the gospel, but only reminds them to what service he has appointed them, that they may prepare themselves for it in due time. He holds out this, partly as a consolation to soothe their grief, and partly as a spur to correct their sloth. Conscious of their recent departure from their Master, they must have been in a state of dejection and here, contrary to all expectation, Christ bestows on them incredible honor, enjoining them to publish to the whole world the message of eternal salvation. In this manner he not only restores them to their former condition, but by the extent of this new favor he utterly obliterates the recollection of their heinous crimes; but at the same time, as I have said, he stimulates them, that they may not be so slow and dilatory in reference to the faith of which they were appointed to be preachers.




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