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banner, and our Master's death is our life. It is a good reason why we should study to do good, and, in consideration of the love of Christ in dying for us, not hesitate to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John iii. 16. Ministers should be more forward than others to serve and suffer for the good of souls, as blessed Paul was. Acts xx. 24; Phil. ii. 17. The nearer we are all concerned in, and the more we are advantaged by, the humility and humiliation of Christ, the more ready and careful we should be to imitate it. 29 “And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.
30 | And, behold, btwo blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy Caus, O Lord, thou Son of David. 32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? 33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes; and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
These blind men had heard of Christ by the hearing of the ear, but they desired that their eyes might see him. When they heard that Jesus passed by, they asked no further questions, who were with him, or whether he was in haste, but immediately cried out. It is good to improve the present opportunity, to make the best of the price now in the hand, because, if once let slip, it may never return. These blind men did so, and did wisely; for we do not find that Christ ever came to Jericho again. Now is the accepted time.
In the address of these blind men, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David, we have an example of importunity in prayer. They cried out as men in earnest; men in want are earnest, of Cold desires do but beg denials. Those that would prevail in prayer, must stir up
themselves to take hold on God in the duty. When they were discountenanced in it, they cried the
The stream of fervency, if it be stopped, will rise and swell the higher. This is wrestling with God in prayer, and makes us the fitter to receive mercy; for the more it is striven for, the more it will be prized and thankfully acknowledged.
Of humility in prayer; in that word, Have mercy on us, not specifying the favour, or prescribing what, much less pleading merit, but casting themselves upon, and referring themselves cheerfully to the Mediator's mercy, in what way he pleases ; “Only have mercy.”
Of faith in prayer; in the title they gave to Christ, which was in the nature of a plea, O Lord, thou Son of David, they confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and therefore bad authority to command deliverance for them. Surely it was by the Holy Ghost that they called Christ Lord, 1 Cor. xii. 3. Thus they take their encouragement in prayer from his power, as in calling him the Son of David, they take encouragement from his goodness, as Messiah, of whom so many kind and tender things had been foretold, particularly his compassion to the poor and needy, Psal. lxxii. 12, 13. It is of excellent use in prayer, to eye Christ in the grace and glory of his Messiahship; to remember that he is the Son of David, whose office it is to help, and save, and to plead it with him.
of perseverance in prayer, notwithstanding discouragement. The multitude rebuked them, as noisy, clamorous, and impertinent, and bid them hold their peace, and not disturb the Master, who perhaps at first seemed not to regard them. In following Christ with our prayers, we must expect to meet with hindrances and manifold discouragements from within and from without, something or other that bids us hold our peace. Such rebukes are permitted, that faith and fervency, patience and perseverance, may be tried.
The multitude rebuked them; but Christ encouraged them. He stood still and called them, ver. 32. He was now going up to Jerusalem, and was straitened till his work there was accomplished; and yet he stood still to cure these blind men. He called them, not because he could not cure them at a distance, but because he would do it in the most obliging and instructive way, and would countenance weak but willing patients and petitioners. Christ not only enjoins us to pray, but invites us; holds out the golden sceptre to us, and bids us come and touch the top of it.
He inquired farther into their case : What will ye that I shall do unto you? This implies, 1. A
very fair offer; “Here I am ; let me know what you would have, and you shall have it." What would we more! He is able to do for us, and as willing as he is able: “Ask and it shall be given you. 2. A condition annexed to this offer, which is a very easy and reasonable one-that
they should tell him what they would have him to do for them. One would think this a strange question, any one might tell what they would have. Christ knew well enough; but he would know it from them, whether they begged only for an alms, as from a common person, or for a cure, as from the Messiab. They soon made known their request to liim, such a one as they never made to any one else ; Lord, that our eyes may be opened. The wants and burthens of the body we are soon sensible of, and can readily relate. O that we were but as apprehensive of our spiritual maladies, and could as feelingly complain of them, especially our spiritual blindness! He cured them; when he encouraged them to seek him, he did not say, Seek in vain. What he did was an instance of his pity; Ile had compassion on them. Misery is the object of mercy. They that are poor and blind are wretched and miserable (Rev. iii. 17), and the objects of compassion. It was the tender mercy of our God that gave liglit and sight to them that sat in darkness, Luke i. 78, 79. We cannot help those that are under such calamities, as Christ did ; but we may and must pity them, as Christ did, and draw out our soul to them.
It was also an instance of his power : Ile that formed the eye, can he not heal it? Yes, he can, he did, he did it easily, he touched their eyes; he did it effectually, Immediately their eyes received sight. Thus he not only proved that he was sent of God, but showed on what errand he was sent --to give sight to those that are spiritually blind, to turn them from darkness to light.
These blind men, when they had received sight, followed him. None follow Christ blindfold. lle first hy his grace opens men's eyes, and so draws their hearts after him. They followed Christ, is his disciples, to learn of him, and as his witnesses, eye-witnesses, to bear their testimony to him, and to his power and goodness. The best evidence of spiritual illumination is a constant inseparable adherence to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Leader.
CHAPTER XXI. 1 Christ rideth into Jerusalem upon an ass, 12 driveth the buyers and seller's out of the temple,
17 curseth the fig-tree, 23 putteth to silence the priests and elders, 28 and rebuketh them by the similitude of the two sons, 33 and the husbandmen, who slew such as were sent
unto them. А.
ND when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage,
unto "the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with ber: loose them, and bring them unto
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 °Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 4 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: 'others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, & Hosanna to the Son of David : "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Ilosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus kthe prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
a Mark xi. 1; Luke xix. 29. b Zech. xiv. 4. c Isa. Ixii. 11; Zech. ix. 9; John xii. 15. d Mark xi. 4. e 2 Kings ix. 13.
f See Lev. xxii. 40; John xij. 13. g Psal. cxviii. 25. h Psal. cxviii, 26; Chap. xxiii. 39. i Mark xi. 15; Luke xix. 45 ; John ii, 13, 15. k Chap. ii. 23; Luke vii. 16; John vi, 14, vii. 40, ix. 17.
All the four evangelists take notice of this passage of Christ's riding in triumph into Jerusalem, five days before his death. The passover was on the fourteenth day of the month, and this was the tenth ; on which day the law appointed that the paschal lamb should be taken up (Exod. xii. 3), and set apart for that service; on that day, therefore, Christ, our Passover, who was to be sacrificed for us, was publicly showed. So that this was the prelude to his passion. He liad lodged at Bethany, a village not far from Jerusalem, for some time; at a supper there, the night before, Mary had anointed his feet, John xii. 3. But, as is usual with ambassadors, he deferred his public entry till some time after his arrival. Our Lord Jesus travelled much, and his custom was to travel on foot from Galilee to Jerusalem, some scores of miles, which was both humbling and toilsome. Yet once in his life he rode in triumph; and it was now when he went into Jerusalem, to suffer and die, as if that were the pleasure and preferment he courted; and then he thought himself begin to look great.
In this passage we have the provision that was made for this solemnity; and it was very poor and ordinary, and such as bespoke his kingdom to be not of this world. Here were no heralds at arms provided, no trumpet sounded before him, no chariots of state, no liveries; such things as these were not agreeable to his present state of humiliation, but will be far outdone at his second coming, to which his magnificent appearance is reserved, when the last trumpet shall sound, the glorious angels shall be his heralds and attendants, and the clouds his chariots. But in this public appearance, the preparation was sudden and off-hand. It was very mean. He sent only for an ass and her colt, ver. 2. Asses were much used in that country for travel ; horses were kept only by great men, and for war. Yet some think that he had herein an eye to the custom in Israel for the judges to ride upon white asses (Judg. v. 10), and their sons on ass-colts, Judg. xii. 14. And Christ would thus enter, not as a Conqueror, but as the Judge of Israel, who for judgment came into this world.
The disciples who were sent to borrow this ass, are directed to say, The Lord has need of him. In the borrowing of this ass, we have an instance of Christ's knowledge. Though the thing was altogether contingent, yet Christ could tell his disciples where they should find an ass tied, and a colt with her. We have an instance of his power over the spirits of men. The hearts of the meanest subjects, as well as of kings, are in the hand of the Lord. Christ asserts his right to use the ass, in bidding them bring it to him,—the fulness of the earth is the Lord Christ's; but he foresees some hindrance which the disciples might meet with in this service; they must not take them privily, but in the sight of the owner, much less with force and arms, but with the consent of the owner, which he undertakes they shall have, If any man say aught to you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of him. What Christ sets us to do, he will bear us out in the doing of, and furnish us with answers to the objections we may be assaulted with, and make them prevalent; as here, Straightway he will send them.
We have an example of justice and honesty, in not using the ass, though for so small a piece of service as riding the length of a street or two, without the owner's consent. As some read the latter clause, it gives us a farther rule of justice : You shall say the Lord hath need of them, and he (that is, the Lord), will presently send them back, and take care that they may be safely delivered to the owner, as soon as he has done with them. What we borrow we must restore in due time, and in good order; for the wicked borrows, and pays not again. Care must be taken of borrowed goods, that they be not damaged. Alas, Master, for it was borrowed !
A prediction was fulfilled in this, v. 4, 5. Our Lord Jesus, in all that he did and suffered, had very much his eye upon this, That the Scriptures might be fulfilled. As the prophets looked forward to him (to him they all bare witness), so he looked upon them, that all things which were written of the Messiah, might be punctually accomplished in him. This particularly which was written of him, Zech. ix. 9, where it ushers in a large prediction of the kingdom of the Messiah, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh, must be accomplished.
The procession itself was answerable to the preparation, both being destitute of worldly pomp, and yet both accompanied with a spiritual power. There was nothing in Christ's retinue stately or magnificent. Sion's King comes to Sion, and the daughter of Sion was told of his coming long before ; yet he is not attended by the gentlemen of the country, nor met by the magistrates of the city in their formalities, as one might have expected; he should have had the keys of the city presented to him, and should have been conducted with all possible convenience to the thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David; but here is nothing of all this; yet he has his attendants, a very great multitude ; they were only the common people, the mob, (the rabble we should have been apt to call them), that graced the solemnity of Christ's triumph, and none but such. The chief priests and the elders afterward herded themselves with the multitude that abused him upon the cross; but we find none of them here joining with the multitude that did him honour. Ye see here your calling, brethren, not many mighty, or noble, attend on Christ, but the foolish things of this world, and base things, which are despised, 1 Cor. i. 26, 28. Christ is honoured by the multitude, more than by the magnificence of his followers; for he values men by their souls, not by their preferments, names, or titles of honour..
Now, concerning this great multitude, we are here told what they did; according to the best of
their capacity, they studied to do honour to Christ. They spread their garments in the way, that he might ride upon them. When Jehu was proclaimed king, the captains put their garments under him, in token of their subjection to him. Those that take Christ for their king must lay their all under his feet; the clothes, in token of the heart; for when Christ comes, though not when any one else comes, it must be said to the soul, Bow down, that he may go over. Others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way, as they used to do at the feast of tabernacles, in tuken of liberty, victory, and joy; for the mystery of that feast is particularly spoken of as belonging to gospel times, Zech. xiv. 16.
What they said ; They that went before, and they that followed, were in the same tune; both those that gave notice of his coming, and those that attended him with their applauses, cried, say. ing, Hosanna to the Son of David, ver. ix. When they carried branches about at the feast of tabernacles, they were wont to cry Hosanna, and from thence to call their bundles of branches their hosannas. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseech thee ; referring to Psal. cxviii. 25, 26, where the Messiah is prophesied of as the Head-stone of the corner, though the builders refused him; and all his loyal subjects are brought in triumphing with him, and attending him with hearty good wishes to the prosperity of all his enterprises. Hosanna to the Son of David is,
This we do in honour of the Son of David.”
We have here his entertainment in Jerusalem (ver. 10), When he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved ; every one took notice of him, some were moved with wonder at the novelty of the thing, others with laughter at the meanness of it; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel ; others, of the Pharisaical class, were moved with envy and indignation. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ's kingdom!
Upon this commotion, we are farther told what the citizens said; Who is this? They were, it seems, ignorant concerning Christ. Though he was the Glory of his people Israel, yet Israel knew hiin not; though he had distinguished himself by the many miracles he wrought among them, yet the daughters of Jerusalem knew him not from another beloved, Cant. v. I. The Holy Ore unknown in the holy city! In places where the clearest light shines, and the greatest profession of religion is made, there is more ignorance than we are aware of. Yet they were inquisitive concerning him. Who is this that is thus cried up, and comes with so much observation? Who is this King of glory, that demands admission into our hearts? Psal. xxiv. 8 ; Isa. Ixiii. 1.
The multitude answered them, This is Jesus, ver. 11. The multitude were better acquainted with Christ than the great ones. The voice of the people is sometimes the voice of God. Now, in the account they gave of him, they were right in calling him the Prophet, that great Prophet. Hitherto he had been known as a Prophet, teaching and working miracles; now they attend him as a King ; Christ's priestly office was, of all the three, last discovered. Yet they missed it, in saying he was of Nazareth, and it helped confirm some in their prejudices against him. Some that are willing to honour Christ, and bear their testimony to him, yet labour under mistakes concerning him, which would be rectified if they would take pains to inform themselves. 12 'And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that
sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the "moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, "My louse shall be called the house of prayer; obut ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things tliat he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, POut of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise ? 17 | And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
1 Mark xi. Il; Luke xix. 45; John ii. 15. m Deut. xiv. 25. n Isa. lvi. 7.
p Psal. viii. 2. 9 Mark xi. 11; John xi. 18.
o Jer. vii. 11; Mark xi. 17; Luke xix. 46.
When Christ came into Jerusalem, he did not go up to the court or the palace, though he came in as a King, but into the temple, for his kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world; it is ip holy things that he rules, in the temple of God that he exercises authority
When he came to the temple he drove out the buyers and sellers. Abuses must first be purged out, and the plants not of God's planting be plucked up, before that which is right can be established. The great Redeemer appears as a great Reformer, that turns away ungodliness, Rom. xi. 26. He cast out all them that sold and bought ; had done this once before (John ii. 14, 15), but there was occasion to do it again. Buyers and sellers driven out of the temple, will return and nestle there again, if there be not a continual care and oversight to prevent it, and if the blow be not followed, and often repeated.
The abuse was, buying and selling, and changing money in the temple. Lawful things, ill-timed and ill-placed, may become sinful things. That which was decent enough in another place, and not only lawful, but laudable, on another day, defiles the sanctuary, and profanes the Sabbath. This buying and selling, and changing money, though secular employments, yet had the pretence of being for spiritual purposes. They sold beasts for sacrifice, for the convenience of those that could more easily bring their money with them than their beast; and they changed money for those that wanted the half-shekel, which was their yearly poll, or redemption-money, or upon the bills of return, so that this might pass for the outward business of the house of God; and yet Christ will not allow of it. Great corruptions and abuses come into the Church by the practices of those whose gain is godliness, that is, who make worldly gain the end of their godliness, and counterfeit godliness their way to worldly gain (1 Tim. vi. 5); from such withdraw thyself.
The purging out of this abuse. Christ cast them out that sold. He did it before with a scourge of small cords (John ii. 15); now he did it with a look, with a frown, with a word of command. Some reckon this none of the least of Christ's miracles, that he should himself thus clear the temple, and not be opposed in it by them who by this craft got their living, and were backed in it by the priests and elders. It is an instance of his power over the spirits of men, and the hold he has of them by their own consciences. This was the only act of regal authority and coercive power that Christ did in the days of his flesh. He began with it (John ii.), and here ended with it. Tradition says, that his face shone, and beams of light darted from his blessed eyes, which astonished these market-people, and compelled them to yield to his command. If so, the Scripture was fulfilled, Prov. xx. 8, “ A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes." He overthrew the tables of the money-changers. He did not take the money to himself, but scattered it-threw it to the ground; the fittest place for it. The Jews, in Esther's time, on the spoil laid not their hand. Esther ix. 10.
He shows, from a Scripture prophecy, what the temple should be, and was designed to be My house shall be called the house of prayer ; which is quoted from Isa. Ivi. 7. All the ceremonial institutions were intended to be subservient to moral duties. The house of sacrifices was to be a house of prayer; for that was the substance and soul of all those services. The temple was in a special manner sanctified to be a house of prayer; for it was not only the place of that worship, but the medium of it; so that the prayers made in or towards that house had a particular promise of acceptance (2 Chron. vi. 21), as it was a type of Christ; therefore Daniel looked that prayer: and in this sense no house or place is now, or can be, a house of prayer, for Christ is our temple ; yet in some sense the appointed places of our religious assemblies may be so called, as places where prayer is wont to be made. Acts xvi. 13.
He shows, from a Scripture reproof, how they had abused the temple, and perverted the intention of it,—Ye have made it a den of thieves
. This is quoted from Jer. vii. 11, ** Is this house become a den of robbers in your eyes ?” When dissembled piety is made the cloak and cover of iniquity, it may be said that the house of prayer is become a den of thieves, in which they lurk, and shelter themselves.
When our Lord had driven the buyers and sellers out of the temple, he invited the blind and lame into it; for he fills the hungry with good things, but the rich he sends empty away. Christ, in the temple, by his Word there preached, and in answer to the prayers there made, heals those that are spiritually blind and lame. It is good coming to the temple, when Christ is there, who, as he shows himself jealous for the honour of his temple, in expelling those who profane it, so he shows himself gracious to those who humbly seek him.
Our Lord also silenced the offence which the chief priests and scribes took at the acclamations with which he was attended. They were inwardly vexed at the wonderful things that he did ; they could not deny them to be true miracles, and therefore were cut to the heart with indignation at them. Acts iv. 16, v. 33. They openly quarrelled at the children's hosannas; they thought that hereby an honour was given him which did not belong to him, and that it looked like ostentation.
men cannot bear that honour should be done to any but to themselves, and are uneasy at nothing more than at the just praises of deserving men.
Christ, having silenced them, forsook them (ver, 17). He left them, in prudence, lest they