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be found in the great day, when the secrets of all hearts shall be made known.
Prayer. O God, our Saviour, grant to us, in this our day, to know the things belonging to our peace. Let us not delay till the dark days come, and they are hid from our eyes. Let us bail thee now as our Saviour, our only trust. The time will come when all our earthly hopes shall lie in ruins round us ; there will be no safety then but in thee. Now we would be thine. Calmly we desire to rest in thee, and even in the valley of the shadow of death we shall fear no evil, for thou art with us, our Saviour and our God. Amen.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, surrounded by the rejoicing crowds who proclaimed Him King of Israel, the excitement spread through the city. The procession had descended the Mount of Olives in full view of Jerusalem ; the hosannas and the shouts of triumph could be heard long before the gates were passed; and multitudes anxiously waited His approach.
“Is this indeed our Messiah King come at last ? Who is He ?” These were the questions wbich eagerly passed from lip to lip.
MATTHEW xxi. 10, 11. “ And when he was come into Jerusalem all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." The same whose fame had spread throughout the land for the space of three years; who, declaring himself to be the Son of God, had shown forth the powers of God, in raising the dead and healing all manner of diseases by a word. We
We may imagine the feelings of the crowd as they followed Him to the Temple and witnessed His works of mercy and power, for
Verses 14–16. “The blind and the lame came to him in the temple ; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and Scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise ?"
The hosannas of the multitude had died away, but now they rose again, like an echo, from the voices of children. Their simple cry of joyful welcome sore displeased the chief priests and Scribes, but was accepted by Jesus.
The children saluted him as the promised Son of David, and He reminded those proud men that David had foreseen, that from the mouth of babes and sucklings God would perfect the praise which they would grudge. The exact words of David's Psalm * are these_"Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength, because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger," and for a moment these enemies were stilled. They made no reply; but they did not change their angry resistance, or their purpose against the life and doctrines of our Lord.
There is nothing more touching than the difference between the simple faith, the loving trust of little children, and the proud cavilling of the wise in their own conceit, who hate the doctrines of Christ, for the very reason that they bring them down to the level of little children.
* Psalm viii. 2.
It was in vain that the chief priests and Pharisees sought to keep down the feelings of the people. They were forced to confess they could not. They
Join xii. 19. “Said therefore among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing ? behold, the world is gone after him.”
And of a truth Jesus was the subject of all men's thoughts. The hope that He was indeed the Messiah King of Israel grew stronger every hour. It spread from the Jews themselves to those strangers who, having been converted to the faith of Israel, had learnt to look for the coming of a Prince who was to reign in righteousness, and to rule over the kingdoms of the earth.
Verse 20, 21. “And there were certain Greeks * among them that came up to worship at the feast : the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.”
These strangers did not venture into the presence of Jesus without having first asked permission. There seemed to be some doubt as to whether they might be brought to Him in the Temple, and we do not know how the matter was settled; but this request to see Jesus was, as it were, the first whisper of the mind of the Gentile nations.
Verse 23. “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified.”
It was the special and promised glory of the Messiah that in Him all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
* The Jews of that day were in the habit of calling all strangers, of whatever country, “Greeks ; ” in the same manner as the Greeks themselves, and the Romans, called the natives of all other nations “ Barbarians.”
* Genesis xviii. 18.
Two thousand years before, Abraham had rested in that promise. In faith he had rejoiced to see the day that now was come.* The desire of these Greeks to see Jesus was a sign of the coming-in of the far-off families of the Gentiles. The hour was come that the Son of Man should be glorified, but little did men think how that glory was to be won.
They were ready to welcome him as their king, they did not understand their need of Him as a sacrifice. Jesus taught them in dark sayings and parables. It was best for them that He should do so, for it forced them to dwell upon His words, that they might find out his meaning, and so they would be less likely to pass out of their minds. It was thus He shewed them that it was by his death He was to bring Life into the world. Instead of sending a direct answer to the Greeks, He said
Verse 24. " Verily, verily I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
Even so would it be seen that He, by his death, should prove the life of the world. The corn springing from the buried grain was but a faint picture of the glorious fruits soon to spring from the resurrection of the Son of Man ; but He must die and be buried, and his disciples must be prepared for this.
The time was now come when whosoever would follow Christ must be ready to do so through a painful path; if need be, to death itself. Let them think well of it; for once entered upon it, they could not draw back. Therefore Jesus said
Verse 25. “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
Strong words are these, but time soon sbewed their meaning. The early Christians quickly found their truth. When persecutions began to arise, some few from love of life drew back, and from fear of death denied their Lord. Most miserable were they, and even of their life in this world, it might truly be said they lost it, for in losing their present peace of mind, and their future hope, they lost all that made life of value.
* John viii. 56.
Not less true were those words “ He that hateth his life shall keep it to life eternal.”
When spoken they must have seemed strange, but they were soon to be explained by the joy of many a martyr. To the Christian, life without Christ would be hateful, insupportable, therefore to run the risk of death rather than deny Him, is but an act of common sense in all those who believe that He will open for them the gates of heaven. Knowing this, Jesus said,
Verse 26. 'If any man serve me, let him follow me ; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will
Father honour." Whosoever will follow the Redeemer in this path which leads through death to life, shall be where he is, and shall share his glory which the Father shall give Him.
Jesus gave this promise to strengthen and comfort all who were willing to be His disciples. Well did he know how greatly they would need it. He deeply felt the awful hour that was now close at hand; and it is most affecting to see Him suffer, as it were, at the thought of suffering, even while He was arranging all things for His own sacrifice; that great work which his Father had given Him to do, and by which alone men could be saved. Thus we see Him, at once, Man to be loved with the heart's whole affection, and God to be worshipped with the soul's deepest reverence.
He said Verse 27. “ Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say ? Father, save me from this hour! But for this cause