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LUKE xviii. 31.
Why should they go up to Jerusalem ? Or, rather, why should they not go up to Jerusalem ? That our Lord should thus draw attention to the obvious fact that they were going thither. Why should they not go up to Jerusalem ? The season of the Passover was approaching; at which season it was the duty of every male of the house of Israel there to “ keep the feast.” Why should they not go up to Jerusalem at any time; at all times ? For Jerusalem was “the joy of the whole earth.” The Psalmist had said, “ Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Sion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King":” and, “ I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord: our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem b!” To them who loved Jerusalem it was promised, “ they shall prospero." Among the predictions of the latest prophet had been this; “ the offering of Jerusalem shall be pleasant d.” There were " set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of Davido;" there was the temple of the Lord'. • The Lord dwelt at Jerusalem 8 ;" o the habitation of the God of Israel was in Jerusalem." It had been promised, that in mount Sion and in Jerusalem should be deliverance'; that this city should remain for everk; that upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem should be poured the Spirit of Grace!. Why then
a Psalm xlviii. 2. b Psalm cxxii. 1, 2. c Psalm cxxii. 6. d Mal. iii. 4. e Psalm cxxii. 5. f Psalm lxviii. 29. 8 Psalm cxxxv. 21. h Ezra vii. 15. i Joel ii. 32. k Jer. xvii. 25. i Zech. xii, 10.
should they not go up to Jerusalem? or why should their attention be so called to the fact, that they were going up to the joy of the whole earth; to the place where were set the thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David m? To go up to Jerusalem was a thing to be desired at all times, then why were the disciples “afraid ?” It was a matter of duty at that time; then why were they “ amazed ?” “ They were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them, and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid.”
Strange repugnance to the notion of shame and suffering as connected with the going up of Messiah to Jerusalem! Far other were their thoughts ! St. Peter indeed had been rebuked, yet the thought of the hearts of them all still was, “ This be far from Thee, Lord!” Not for this, not for this, do we go up to Jerusalem; but to “restore again the kingdom unto Israel";" to “ sit on twelve thrones, judging the m Psalm cxxii. 5.
n Acts i. 6.
twelve tribes of Israel”;" to set the King upon His “holy hill of ZionP;” to receive “the heathen for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession 9:" for this do we go up to Jerusalem. Yet how shall it be?
Where is the pomp, the power, the observation, that should attend this setting up anew of the throne of David ?
Was it not, probably, this contrast between carnal expectations and the means He announced for their fulfilment that caused the Disciples to follow in amazement and fear?
But, for all their misconceptions, for all their amazement, for all their fears, that of which they misconceived was about to be brought to pass in very truth; that at which they were amazed was about to work out a greater marvel; that which they so feared was about to bring about their joy. Their misconception of a visible carnal kingdom was about to have its refutation in the erection of a spiritual king• Matt. xix. 28. p Psalm ii. 6. 9 Psalm ii. 8.
dom, visible and invisible. Their amazement at the lack of means was to be surpassed by the greater wonder which should attend the achievement of what then seemed an improbability and an impossibility; their fear was to be extinguished in triumph; their earthly thoughts of Him Who went “ before them in the way going up unto Jerusalem” were to be exchanged for worship of Him Who, ascending up on high to sit at the right hand of the Father,
hereby opened the kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven, to all true believers.
“Of course,” we may say: we, who have been brought up as Christians; we, whom the Spirit has prevented from before the dawnings of infant consciousness; we, to whom the Apostles' Creed has been as household words from the time we could first frame words; we, to whom the Te Deum has been a daily song; we, to whom the Hymn of St. Athanasius has been a monthly Catechism: we may say, Of course. To this very thing “bear all the Prophets witness, that Christ must needs suffer, and