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the disciples began to rejoice, and to praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works that they had seen, and cried (John xii. 13.) Hosanna, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.
MARK xi. 10. “ Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. When the number is here divided read again from Luke xix. 37th verse.
The joy of the people displeased some of the proud and coldhearted pharisees who came with Jesus from Bethany, and they
Verse 39, 40. “From among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that if these were to hold their peace, the very stones would immediately cry out.
In this manner, by answering with a proverb, which they well understood, Jesus shewed these men that the truth must have its way. He was the true “ King of Israel,” and it was part of the plan of God His Father, that He should be thus publicly acknowledged.
From the courts of the Temple, from the city, from its gates and walls, this glad procession could be seen. The Pharisees within them could hear the shouts of triumph, and the solemn joyful Hosanna, "Blessed be the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord.” They heard and trembled. But there is a pause. Why, as He draws nigh, does the Messiah stay awhile His steps ? He looks down upon Jerusalem. The glorious city lies glittering at His feet. It is only divided from the mount of Olives on which He stands, by the Brook Kedron flowing through the valley of Jehoshaphat ; not, as now, barren and bare, but clothed with fertile gardens. Does He look upon it with the admiring pride that filled the bosom of every Jew ? or does He see in it the scene of His sufferings now close at hand ? Is it the thought of these sufferings which shadows over with sadness the brow of Jesus, while every face around Him is bright with triumph ?
Verse 4). “And when He was come near, He beheld the city and wept over it.” Yes, He wept, and thus He spoke,–
Verse 42. “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.”
Jesus, and the rejoicing crowd, were looking down upon Jerusalem, the queen of cities, crowned with her glittering Temple ; and beautiful must that scene have been ! for when the sun arose above the mount of Olives, and poured its rays direct upon the Temple, we read in history that it blazed in answering brightness like another sun.* Its marble walls, and columns of purest white, its splendid porches, and gates, and pinnacles all sheeted with burnished gold, its courts paved with many coloured marbles, were the “perfection of beauty." On every side were stately palaces of marble, rows of colunins and avenues of trees, sparkling fountains, and gardens of richest verdure. All things fair and splendid were assembled there. So lovely was the scene, that when the inspired prophets sought to paint the glories of God's own kingdom above, they could find no fitter emblem, and Heaven itself was named by them “the new Jerusalem."
Thus, on that day shone the fair city; yet, when Jesus looked upon it, He wept.
The past, the present, and the future lay before Him.
It had been a still and lonely solitude when Abraham led up the mountain-side, “bis son, his only son Isaac whom he loved," to offer him by God's command, a sacrifice upon Mount Moriah, where stood the Temple Jesus looked upon. Gradually among these mountains Jerusalem had arisen—the Holy City-beloved by God for Abraham and for Isaac's sake. He had rescued it from the impure heathen and given it as a heritage to their children. He had cherished them in weakness, strengthened them in well-doing. They had been taught by God Himself. Chastised for their sins, their city had been destroyed. Forgiven by Him, it had been rebuilt, adorned, and beautified, till now it had no equal. To them God had spoken as a Father speaketh to his children. He had promised His own Son to be their King, and that in Him all the other nations of the earth should be blessed. He had sent them prophets to warn them of His coming. Vainly sent. The time was come and gone. Jerusalem had not known the day of ber visitation, and it was past. The fair city crowned the hills, glittering in the sun; but her doom was hastening on, a few times more that sun should rise and set, and then the measure of her guilt would be full, her day of grace for ever ended.
The nation was about to reject their Messiah.
The hosannas of the crowd would soon be changed to the fearful cry of “ Crucify him! Crucify him!” and those who now strewed the path of Jesus with branches of Palm, would press forward to see him expire in agony upon the accursed cross. He knew it, but it was not for this He wept. It was because that this, their last and greatest crime, would bring upon that generation all the blood that had been shed from righteous Abel * down to that awful day. The sacrifice that was to save the world would be in vain to them, therefore He wept. He knew that "the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand,” and that far distant lands, yea, the very ends of the earth should see the salvation of God," but Jerusalem His own fair city and her children, His own peculiar people, had rejected Him, and now their ruin was hastening on, therefore He wept. He saw as though already there, the gathering hosts of Rome, the appointed ministers of vengeance. He saw as if present there, that dreadful line soon to be drawn round about Jerusalem, through which none could break but to a cruel death, within which none could remain but to perish by famine, or by the swords of their own countrymen. He saw the palaces and towers, the Temple of God, the wonder of the world, lie in heaps of smouldering ashes, the very fires that consumed them, slackened by the blood of her children. Do we marvel that Jesus wept, and that while he beheld the city he cried, thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things belonging to 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.”
* Matthew xxiii. 27-33. Luke xi. 50, 51
Men seldom weep. When they are moved to tears, we know their grief must be great; for there is a strength in the manly mind that bears up against sorrow. Jesus not only had this strength, being truly man, but He was also God. Yet He wept. How great must have been His sorrow! Twice He wept. Each time it was for the misery which sin had brought on man. By the grave of Lazarus He wept the woes of death: now gazing on Jerusalem He wept her coming ruin. To save men He freely gave His life; yet there were griefs from which He could not save them, for sin is the wages of death ; and that solemn debt must be paid by each and all. If men persist in rebellion, rebels they must die, they cannot escape their doom, more awful far than death ; "after death cometh the judgment."
Let us pause to think whether the Saviour 'may not weep for us? All that He did for Jerusalem, has He not done for us ? Let us glance back through the story of our lives. In our baptism we were numbered, even as Israel of old, among His people; brought into His family, and adopted as His children. From the time we can first remember, can we not trace His guiding hand ? He has taught and warned us by His word, He has helped us through many a sore strait. He has punished us for sin, He has comforted us in sorrow. In all things He has been to us a Father. What is the return we are making ?
Like His people of old we may shout His name with loud hosannas; we may, as it were, carry palm-branches before Him, and do Him all outward honour ; but how stands our hearts before Him? Is worldly ambition and self-willed pride the temper of our minds? Then are we, like the Jews of old, ready “to crucify the Son of God afresh, and to put him to an open
shame." Let us fear to “frustrate the grace of God," * lest, while we seek to be “justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners.” | There is more danger of this than we are apt to think ; and greatly we need to watch our hearts and lives. Let not the poor think that by their poverty they are saved from this danger : it is as difficult in the cottage as in the palace to receive Christ in His true character, as the Saviour from sin ; and to remember the cause for which He
to destroy the works of the devil.” But in that crowd which came with Jesus down the Mount of Olives, there were some true disciples. Gracious God, grant that of such we may * Galatians ii. 21.
+ Ibid 17.