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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 15 - Acts 5:30, 35 - Apostolic Testimony to an Ascended Christ Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


Here is true apostolic testimony; testimony for Christ; testimony for the risen Saviour; testimony before enemies, the council of the Jews, in the temple; in spite of threats, with death in prospect. It is brief testimony, but it contains the whole gospel; good news to the sinner wrapped up in a few plain facts, each one of which is as the light of a new sun. Let us take this testimony, as thus given, in the five following parts.

I. The death. "Jesus, whom ye slew, and hanged on a tree." The council would not name His name; they spoke of "this man." Peter names Him—Jesus. They said, "ye intend to bring this man's blood upon us;" that is, your object is to prove us His murderers. Peter answers: Yes, it is; ye slew Him, ye hanged Him on a tree; ye who ought to have bid Him welcome as your Christ. Israel's rulers were Messiah's murderers! Two charges are here against them: (1.) they slew Him; they said, Away with Him; they condemned Him; they were guilty of His blood. Yes; he died; and by their hands He died. (2.) They hanged Him on a tree; they doomed Him to the worst of deaths, heaping shame upon Him as the worst of criminals. The great fact is then proved beyond doubt. His friends proclaim it; His enemies admit that they did the deed. Jesus has died. On this certainty our gospel rests itself.

II. The resurrection. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus. Here we have (1) resurrection, the actual bringing up out of the grave of Him who went down into it. (2) The resurrection of Jesus. Jesus of Nazareth rises as well as dies; the same Jesus in body, soul, and spirit; it is a certainty, established by infallible proofs. (3) His resurrection by God. It is not by chance or natural laws, but by God. God Himself steps in and does the work, that men may know that He acknowledges Jesus as His Son. (4) His resurrection is by the God of Israel, the God of Abraham. It is Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, that raises Him, and thereby proclaims Him Messiah, the promise and hope of the fathers. What a testimony this was to Israel, and to the whole world! "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased?"

III. The exaltation. For Jesus there is more than resurrection. He is not only brought up from the grave, but lifted up on high. He passes from Joseph's tomb to the throne of the majesty in the heavens; from the lowest to the highest place in the universe, with only one intermediate step, viz., His forty days sojourn on earth. And this exaltation is not only to the right hand of God, but specially by His right hand. God, the God of Israel, is the doer of it, by His own right hand and His holy arm. It is an act of divine and glorious power. Every part of this work in behalf of Jesus is the doing of Jehovah. He would have it known how He loves and honours Him; and takes Him to be with Him, like Enoch, "because He pleased Him."

IV. The honour and the title. A Prince and a Saviour. As a Prince He is Israel's Prince; the Prince of life; the Prince of the kings of the earth. All power is His in heaven and earth. He is King of kings; for he has overcome, and, as the Conqueror, has received power over the nations. As a Saviour, He has deliverance for the lost in His hand. He came down from heaven to seek and save the lost; He has gone up to heaven on the same errand of grace. His name is Jesus, or Jehovah the Saviour; mighty to save; able to save to the uttermost, neither is there salvation in any other. The words do not mean that it was by His exaltation that He was constituted Prince and Saviour; they no doubt intimate that this exaltation was His open and visible installation in heaven as such. But they more directly imply that it was in virtue of His being Prince and Saviour that He was exalted. The exaltation owned Him as such already. The honour and the title were His when on the cross and in the grave; and because of this He is exalted to a seat worthy of these. It is with this Prince and Saviour that we have to do. He is able and willing to save. His names and titles assure us of this. Let us learn the meaning of these, and extract from them the good news which they so plentifully contain. This Prince and Saviour is Jesus of Nazareth; bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh.

V. The office. To give repentance unto Israel and the forgiveness of sins. He is qualified by His office as well, as His person to do this. God has exalted Him for this very purpose. As Joseph was set next to Pharaoh to distribute Egypt's corn, so Jesus is set on the Father's right hand to dispense all the fullness of God. Thus we have the security of the Father as well as of the Son for the discharge of His gracious office. He cannot fail; He will not disappoint. Two things specially He is exalted to give. (1.) Repentance, that is a change of mind; the new heart and the right spirit; alteration of views; deliverance from the evil heart of unbelief. He says, Repent, and He gives repentance. (2.) Forgiveness. "Thy sins be forgiven thee" were His frequent words on earth. They are the same still. He pardons in the Father's name and in His own. "Neither do I condemn thee," are the words which sound from the highest heaven to us. His person speaks pardon, His office speaks pardon, His lips speak pardon and His hands are full of pardon. "Forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin," is His character and His prerogative.

It is with this Jesus that we have to do. The thought of this should banish fear and root out unbelief. All that He is and has is at our disposal. Let us go and get it