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 1 which foretells the coming of the Christ.





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.

3 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


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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.



are spoken of as what is said by the Prophet (sing.) to shew the harmony between them, and that all the Prophets were inspired by one Spirit.

1 Judges v. 10; x. 4.

2 St. Matthew (xxi. 7) speaks popularly. The Lord, of course, rode only on one of them. Compare, for a like

analogy, the original of Judges xii.
7; 2 Chron. xxv. 28; Job xvii. 1;
Jonah i. 5.

3 Gen. xlix. 1, 10, 11. Justin
Martyr (Apol. ii. 147), citing this, says
that the ass's colt in the history was
tied to a vine.

St. John xv. 1-6.

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St. John xii. 16-19.

These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. The people therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. For this cause the people also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

How ingenuous this confession of one of their number that there were things which the Disciples themselves did not understand until after the day of Pentecost!1 What weight it lends to all that he asserts! How entirely may we depend upon the veracity of such an honest chronicler as this! But the fulfilment explains the prophecy; and so when Jesus was glorified,' when He had returned to that place where He was before, to the glory which He had with the Father before the world was; when He had ascended up again into Heaven, and had thence poured out upon His Church the promised Spirit ;-then they remembered all these things, and marvelled at their own dulness and slowness of heart to believe all that the Prophets had spoken. Christ sent them the Comforter, and He brought all things to their remembrance. When the time came, then they remembered. Their faith was no sudden impulse. It was a grace of gradual growth. One fact after another recurred to their opening minds. They saw the connexion between the words of the Prophet and the works of their Master. How

1 St. John ii. 17, 22; viii. 27; xiii. 7; St. Luke xxiv. 6-8.

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are said and done by Christ, which shall not be presently understood, but in their season." - Baxter, in his Many things Paraphrase.


eminently honest and satisfactory such convictions as these! How entirely remote from all mere enthusiasm and selfdeception! In the case of false-christs, of false religions, the faith or the credulity is strongest and most fanatical at the outset, and then it wanes, and gradually declines, ending sometimes in a strong reaction and in an immortal hate; but the faith of the Disciples was the growing conviction of their minds. It was ever waxing onward. All these circumstances were gradually confirming it. It was as the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. And now we have some insight into the reason why these crowds came out to meet Him, and escort Him back into the city. The people who had seen the miracle told the rest. Those who had been present at Bethany when, as out of his bed, the Lord, by that word which was with power, called Lazarus out of his grave; 2 raised him from the dead as one might wake a friend from sleep,-they went to their own city, as that woman of Samaria,3 and told their friends. who remained behind what things Jesus had done. Hence their visits to Bethany the day before. Hence their coming forth now to meet Him on His way to Jerusalem. But that sight, which should have given joy to every true heart, of the multitude meeting and following Christ, seems only to have stirred the gall and excited the envy of the Pharisees. Now they see their fears confirmed,5 their authority weakened, their craft in danger. What care they as to the truth or justice of His claims if only these seem to conflict or interfere with their own selfish aims?

Those namely referred to in ch. xi. 19, 31, 33, 36, 37-42, 45. These are the ones intended in v. 17 here; manifestly distinct from those mentioned in vv. 9, 11, 18.

2 St. John xi. 43.

3 St. John iv. 28-30, 39-42.


V. 9 above.

5 St. John xi. 47-50.

6 V. 11 above.

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