If you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side!
(Benjamin Grosvenor, "The Temper of Jesus Christ towards His Enemies, and His Grace to the Chief of Sinners")
"Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." Luke 24:47
It is very affecting that the first offers of grace should be made to those who, of all people in the world — had done Him the most harm! One would rather have expected the apostles would have received another kind of charge, and that Christ would have said, "Let repentance and forgiveness of sins be preached — but do NOT carry it to Jerusalem, that wicked city, that has been the slaughter-house of my prophets, whom I have often sent. Last of all, I myself, the Son, came — and with wicked hands, they have crucified and murdered Me! They may do the same to you! Do not let the gospel enter those wicked gates, through which they led Me, its Author, to crucifixion!"
But Christ singles out exactly these murderous people of Jerusalem — to make monuments of His mercy, and commands the first offer of eternal life to be made to them! As if our Lord had said: "Lest the poor house of Israel should think themselves abandoned to eternal despair — as cruel and vile as they have been — go, make the first offer of grace to them! Let those who spilled My blood — be welcome to its healing virtue. Tell them that there is repentance and forgiveness, even for them!"
"Nay, if you meet that poor wretch who thrust his spear into My side, tell him that there is another way, a better way of coming to My heart — even My heart's love! Tell him, that if he will repent, and look upon Me whom he has pierced, and will mourn — then I will cherish him in that very bosom which he has wounded! Tell him that he shall find the blood which he has shed — to be an ample atonement for the sin of shedding it! And tell him from Me, that he will put Me to more pain and displeasure by refusing this offer of My blood — than when he first drew it forth!"
"For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!" Matthew 9:13