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anti-type should appear, and the shadow give place to the substance, and the sun, now at its meridian height, no longer cast a shade. And now up to Jerusalem were ascending from the country round crowds of pilgrims; those chiefly who had contracted some ceremonial defilement from which it was necessary to purify themselves before partaking of this passover. "A marvellous purification; with a murderous. will; with homicidal intentions, and blood-stained hands."1 They scrupled to eat bread with unwashen hands who scrupled not to imbrue their hands in innocent blood. For though we are not to confound these new comers with those of whom we lately read, yet we find them afterwards the ready tool of the others. No sooner are they come into the sacred city than, even in the Sanctuary, they begin to inquire for Jesus. The general opinion seems to have been that He would not adventure Himself into this danger. For both the rival parties in Jerusalem, Pharisees and Sadducees, had agreed herein. They had now required any who knew the place of His retirement to betray Him. What a picture this gives us of the Jewish people at this time! We have here a glimpse of life in Jerusalem. We see the people not going up into the Temple to pray, but chatting idly with one another in the precincts; gossiping together; discussing contemporary politics; asking the news of the day. The House of God, the House of Prayer, seemed a resort of loungers.2 Let us take heed lest there be anything like it among ourselves.
1 Chry. in S. Jo. Hom. lxv. Is. i. 14-16; 1 Cor. v. 8.
2 This unhappily was not confined to the Temple of the Jews. Some Christian Churches could shew the like. Even our own cathedral of St. Paul has been so desecrated; turned
into a regular rendezvous, made a
"No place so sacred from such fops is barred,
In the sixth year of Edward VI. a proclamation was issued "prohibiting plays and fightings in Cathedral Churches, and bringing in horses and mules into the same; whereby may
Essay on Criticism, Part iii.
be gathered what indecencies and profanations were now practised in churches."-Strype's Mem. II. 299, cited in Brewer's ed. of Fuller's Ch. Hist. iv. 90.
THE RETURN TO BETHANY.
St. John xii. 1, 9–13.
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
From Bethany, after a signal work, the Lord had withdrawn.' To Bethany, before a still more signal work, He now returns. Our Evangelist notes the very time. Precious now were the days of the Son of man. We may not marvel that much people of the Jews, a great crowd,3 successive relays of visitors, trooped over from Jerusalem, to see Lazarus and his Restorer side by side. But we must marvel at the infatuation of the men who thought of putting again to death one who had lately, by a power Divine, been raised to life. Such was the blindness of their rage. Yet it speaks well for Lazarus that by reason of Him many of the Jews forsook their former false teachers and believed on Jesus;4 not only seeing him, who had been dead, alive again, but hearing doubtless from those lips, which they had seen sealed in death, loving testimony to the Christ. The events of this next day after the Lord's arrival in Bethany belong to what has since been called, in commemoration of what is here recorded, Palm Sunday. It is the day which ushers in the 3 See the original. Compare St. John xi. 45.
St. John xi. 54.
Holy Week, the Sunday next before Easter. At this time. the Holy City was already filling with the crowds of people, pilgrims from all parts of Palestine, who had trooped in from all the country far and near, to prepare for their great annual Feast of the Passover. Already we have heard them canvassing whether He would be likely to come or not to this great gathering of the people; and now when the news comes that He is coming, that He is not only in the neighbourhood, but close at hand, actually on His way from Bethany to Jerusalem, they set out to meet Him. These were mostly men of Galilee, pilgrims who had come up to the metropolis from the places where most of His mighty works were done. They were the men who once before would have come and taken Him by force to make Him a king. They were, if anything, less prejudiced, less under the influence of the Chief-Priests and Pharisees, than the Jews of Jerusalem. They took branches of palm-trees in their hands, these were a sign of joy, a festive ensign-and went forth to meet the King of Israel. All unconsciously they uttered and fulfilled words of prophecy. For their cry "Hosanna," is the Psalmist's "Save now, I beseech Thee, O Lord." And their other words of welcome, in which they acknowledge Him as coming in the name, that is, with the authority of Jehovah,--these are the complement of that prophetic Psalm which foretells the coming of the Christ.
BEHOLD, THY KING COMETH.
St. Luke xix. 29-35.
And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying, Go ye into the village over against
1 St. John xi. 55, 56.
2 St. John vi. 15.
St. John v. 43.
Ps. cxviii. 22-26. It formed part
of the great Hillel (Pss. cxiii.-cxviii.) which at that time they were wont to sing.
you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.
The district east of Jerusalem went by this name "Bethphage and Bethany;" the former of these villages being almost one of the suburbs. It lay at the foot of the mountain called the Mount of Olives. Very circumstantial are the particulars gathered out of the Evangelists concerning the mission of these two Disciples, marking the foreknowledge of the Lord,-an ass with its unbroken colt; 3" tied by the door without, in a place where two ways met; "4 the natural question of the owners; their prompt, though unlikely, response to these strangers who impress them in the name of the Lord of all. It was the fulfilment of prophecies which went before concerning Him. These seem
.. to the point
1 "He comes where these two touched one another... The Jews. . . naturally mentioned Bethphage first, as being the nearest to the city."-Bp. Wordsworth.
2 St. Matt. xxi. 2. The mention of the colt only in the other accounts does not exclude the idea of the parent animal, which accompanied and kept pace with her foal. The latter, as being that on which alone the Lord rode, naturally demanded greater prominence in the descriptions of the event. St. Matthew, who alone cites the prophecy in Zechariah, is the only one who has occasion to mention both. The Lord, as St. John records, "found" it, for He minutely directed where it should be found. He found it by those two of His Disciples whom
He expressly sent to find it.
Only those beasts which had never yet been worked were used for sacred purposes. Like His birth, of a Virgin Mother; like His burial, in a new sepulchre wherein was never man yet laid; so His kingly coming is marked with a corresponding circumstance; and the animal He rides on is one whereon yet man never sat. Chrysostom (in S. Jo. Hom. lxvi.) regards this as prefiguring the calling of the Gentiles. And so Augustine, in S. Jo. Tr. li. 5.
4 St. Mark xi. 4.
5 St. Matt. xxi. 4, 5; St. John xii. 14, 15; Is. lxii. 11; Zech. ix. 9. Bp. Wordsworth quotes from the Philologia Sacra to the effect that in the N. T. two or three prophecies arc sometimes woven together, which yet
to recall the style of those early judges and deliverers of Israel, whom God raised up from time to time to save His people from the hand of their enemies, and who were in the habit of riding on such animals; which in Judæa, where there were formerly no horses, are of a larger size and nobler appearance than those in this country. Thus He signified that His Kingdom was not of this world; that He came with no pomp of human power; that, unlike the warlike Kings of Israel, who, multiplying horses and chariots (contrary to God's command) weakened rather than relieved their people,-He, on the contrary, should come as those Heavensent judges in the early days, who though mounted on meaner animals, in a more simple style, and with less imposing appearance, were yet enabled by God to do great things. Here we see Him for our sakes laying aside His glory, and coming, not as kings use to do, in state, with royal retinue, in goodly chariot, or on a stately steed, but on an ass's colt; and even this not His own, at least in so far as He was man, but borrowed; and harnessed with no goodlier trappings than the garments of His Disciples, which they spread thereon. Such was the style of Christ's coming. See the humility of Zion's King in His first Advent. And yet His progress was not so far beneath the splendour of the procession of earthly potentates, as was the majesty of His Kingdom above any or all of theirs. Thus He entered into the holy city, "binding his foal unto the vine, and His ass's colt unto the choice vine;" as Jacob in departing prophesied concerning Judah,3 when he gathered his sons together to tell them that which should befall them in the latter days. Both Jew and Gentile He, the true Vine, binds to Himself with the cords of a man and with bands of love.