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THE DULNESS OF THE DISCIPLES.
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
are said and done by Christ, which shall not be presently understood, but in their season."- Baxter, in his
St. John xvi. 4. 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; 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.
HE ENTERS INTO JERUSALEM.
St. Luke xix. 36-40.
And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
Carpeting the ground on which he is about to tread with clothes taken from off their backs,' with branches of trees, and with flowers, was in the East a way of welcoming a King. And now, as if struck by a sudden impulse, not just the Twelve, but the whole body of those which believed on Him among that multitude, in descending the mountain burst out into a chorus of praise. All the mighty works they had seen in those three years of His ministry come crowding into their memories, and with accumulating force compel the conviction that the kingdom of their father David 2 is come at last, that the promised Son of David is come, and this is He. Therefore to Him the multitudes that went before and that followed,3those that went forth to meet Him from Jerusalem,* and those that accompanied Him from Bethany, the advanced guard and the rear-guard of that royal host,—shouted their Hosannas.5 Heaven's peace is again proclaimed on earth.
We may recall the famous incident in English history of Sir Walter Raleigh spreading his costly cloak before Queen Elizabeth, as she was disembarking from her barge, to protect her royal feet from the mire. 2 St. Mark xi. 10.
3 St. Matt. xxi. 9.
St. John xii. 12, 13, 18.
5 It is observable that the phrase is used to which our Lord refers in St. Luke xiii. 35. He is there however anticipating the time when the whole nation shall join in that welcome
Angels are as it were called upon to swell the strain. Highest glory is ascribed to the in-coming King. But there were Pharisees, as we have seen,' among that crowd, and some of these hypocrites actually had the audacity to require our Lord to silence His followers. Very memorable is His answer to these malcontents. They could not choose but cry. He who formed man at first out of the dust of the earth, who was able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham,2 would not find wanting men to proclaim His praise. It was a proverbial expression. If these refused to render homage due, the stones would as it were cry out of the wall, bearing witness to such ingratitude.
WEEPING OVER JERUSALEM.
St. Luke xix. 41-44.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
It was, as we have seen, on His way from Bethany; and His way, we know, lay along the mount which is called the Mount of Olives. At a bend in the road, at the beginning of the descent into Jerusalem, that most famous city of the
which here only His disciples offered, and which the Pharisees, as leaders and representatives of the nation, refused.
St. John xii. 19.
2 St. Matt. iii. 9.
3 Hab. ii. 11.
As represented in Sir Charles Eastlake's well-known picture.
world bursts upon the view. There the Lord seems to have halted. He came to a stand, arrested (if we may so say) by that sight; the sad spectacle of a city visited by God in vain. It moved Him even to tears. There on the slopes of Olivet He paused, and wept1 for those who wept not for themselves. Hear His words," If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!" 2 And there He paused.3 It was an abrupt, unfinished saying; the broken utterance of a huge grief. As a humane judge might be moved, when compelled to pronounce the last sentence of the law on one who has abused great opportunities, as he thinks how different it might have been. And then He added-for now it was all too late,-"But now are they hid from thine eyes.' ." Within forty years, an historian of their own tells us, as the Lord foretold, the city was destroyed. "In the Mount of Olives where Jesus shed tears over perishing Jerusalem, the Romans first pitched their tents when they came to its final overthrow." Those very details of the siege, which the Lord here foretells, were all exactly, as unconsciously, fulfilled. And this because the rebellious city knew not the time of its visitation; that is, because it made no use of the time allotted to it for repentance; because it disregarded its opportunity, refused to recognize or acknowledge the Messiah when He came, behaved as one who knew not. Let those who now in like manner care not to know those things which alone can give them true peace in life and death, beware lest that judicial blindness. come upon them which overtook the nation of the Jews.10 Those who persist in shutting their eyes, may one day find
1 So did David, that type of Him, on the same mountain. 2 Sam. xv. 30. 2 "Perhaps in the actual words spoken by the Lord there may have been an allusion to the name Jerusalem."-Alford.
3 An instance of what Grammarians call Aposiopesis.
Compare St. Luke xiii. 34, 35, and see Deut. xxxii. 29; Ps. lxxxi. 13. Here is a revival and realization of those earlier prophetic cries over these who refused to be corrected. So our