« AnteriorContinuar »
forever foreboding and declaring that the weathercock is the compass, but God's needle points to one unwavering pole-star, in which there is no parallax neither shadow of turning. And that pole star of our faith is that which shone out upon the disciples when Jesus was entering the deep night of his delivery to be crucified, the rich promise of his final triumph.
We do not always see the signs of it. We think of God's machinery as standing still and useless. More than half the time since Jesus died, his cause seemed hopelessly stationary or retrograding. For the thousand years of the middle ages, Christianity seemed a Samson in the hands of the Philistines, fettered and blinded and shorn, and grinding corn in the dungeon of the dark ages.
We remember this, but we also remember how at the close of the thousand years there came the revival of learning and the invention of printing, and the circulation of the Bible, and the Reformation. And just at that time, when the ages were ready for the birth of a new world, there rose up out of the trackless waste of water far to the westward, a fresh new world, a veritable New Jerusalem, sent from God out of heaven, that in this land of promise the new exodus out of the Egyptian darkness of mediæval time might find a new sphere for the application of Christian principles to growing social life. Again and again the Philistines have gathered to witness the humiliation of the blind captive, and the giant has laid his hands upon the pillars and caused them to crumble; and from out the ruins, the cause of Christ has come unscathed. It prevails nothing against him: the world is on its way to him.
Jesus' triumphal entry was not an isolated event. A thousand years before David had brought the ark to the city, singing,
'Lift up your heads, O ye gates
And the King of Glory shall come in!"
“Who is this King of Glory?". And clear had the answer come,
“Jehovah of hosts, he is the King of Glory!" Jerusalem saw no grander day in the thousand years that intervened until Jesus entered the walls of the same city, and to the mocking challenge of the Pharisees there rang back the answering chorus, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!"
And he still comes, and shall come. triumph of purity and righteousness, with the opening of the barred gate to every dark heart, with the opening of every new kingdom to the Gospel, his coming is with mofe and more of glory, and evermore shall be until the world not only goes after him, but finds him and crowns him as its Lord and King.
We have not learned to count time and mark progress as God does. It is said that in a German town there was a famous clock, a part of whose machinery had never been used, and whose use was unknown to any
The maker of the clock had died, and those who climbed the dusty tower saw motionless wheels that seemed useless. The clock ticked on for years until a full century had gone by, when there burst out upon the ear of the town a chime sweeter than their ears had had ever heard before, and the wheels that had been still for a hundred years awoke and rang out their glad centennial song. So it often seems. But to God, every wheel, dust-laden and motionless, has its time of moving, and every bell, though long silent, its place in the gamut of that sweet chime that yet shall burst upon the ear of the world when all nations shall acknowledge the sway of Jesus..
The triumphal entry accomplished its immediate purpose in the public announcement which it involved that Jesus was the Messianic King. That proclamation and the joy which it evoked were sufficient for the day when they occurred. We are told that Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple, and lookEi rcuri about upon all things, remaining until eventide, when he went out unto Bethany with the twelve, and lodged there.
But that proclamation of regal authority involved some exercise of the prerogatives belonging to the Messiah. Monday morning beheld Jesus in what was to his disciples a new role. He had wrought miracles of mercy; they now saw a miracle of stern judgment. The hand which had been laid with healing power upon the sick, and which he stretched forth with a welcome to the penitent, became strong for the overturning of tables and the breaking of dove-cages. He who had hidden himself from crowds became the center of a crowd composed of the curious, the wondering, the sympathetic, and the hostile.
Not in petulance or in anger did he curse the barren fig tree; not because it was fruitless at a time when fruit was not to be expected; but because its boastful display of leaf proclaimed to the word a sham. He spoke in symbol to the tree the words of condemnation which the nation deserved and must soon hear.
Mere unfruitfulness brought from the heart of Jesus pity and patience and a desire to dig about the tree and wait in hope of what another season might bring forth; but hollow pretense and boastful hypocrisy had come to the time of judgment. The tree was his own nation;
it had had its pruning and digging: the time had come when it must be cut down.
The disciples were inclined to think so much about the miracle as to forget to seek for the lesson. And Jesus was unwilling that the only lesson should be that of retribution, but made it also one of faith. For retribution a barren tree might be removed; but for faith, and the righteous ends of faith, God would move, not the tree only, but the very mountain to which the tree was rooted.
We think of Jesus as meek and lowly; but he was also the uncompromising enemy of sham. We love to think of the love of God; but that love has two poles, and its negative pole is eternal disapproval of wrong doing. In the olden time there had been those who said, “The Lord will not do good; neither will he do evil!” There still are many who believe that God is passive in the moral conflicts of the world. prophet of old promised that when the Lord came suddenly to his temple, he should be like refiner's fire, and that the wicked could not abide the day of his coming
Condemnation of evil is inseparably joined to approval of the good. A God, who abiding amid the shadows, permits the earth to go its way of good or evil unrestrained, does not satisfy the ethical demands of the soul. “Let God arise; let his enemies be scattered!" cried the psalmist in a time of moral confusion. And a prophet promised those who loved the Lord, but who were sadly confessing to themselves that it seemed vain to serve him, that the Lord would come, and enable them to look back, and see that God discerned between the righteous and the ungodly.
Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save the world, yet, in the process of that salvation, it
became necessary to exhibit that stern disapprobation of sin which is only the other name for the abiding love of God.
Some very practical and much needed lessons for Christian people suggest themselves in connection with the incidents of this day. One of these lessons is that of reverence for the house of God. God dwells not in temples made with hands, but we do. And our reverence for God is reflected in and influenced by our respect for the house dedicated to his worship. It is fitting that it be as good and beautiful a house as we can build. It ought not to fall below the other public buildings of the community in its dignity and impressiveness. It ought not to be less beautiful or comfortable than the homes of the people within its membership. , It should be so constructed, so appointed, so kept, as to inspire a worshipful feeling in all who enter. And from it should be banished all that can profane it, all that can bring into it the unhallowed spirit of greed or strife. Many good people go farther than this, and hold that the church edifice should be used for no purpose except that of the worship of God. God is honored in whatever promotes the spiritual welfare of his children. The church should be the home of the spiritual life of its people, the place to which they come on life's great occasions to consecrate their joy or sorrow, their penitence, their aspiration, their hope, before the altar of God. Whatever makes the house of God more sacred to these ends is worthy. Whatever defeats these ends profanes the temple. The joyful shout of the children in the temple did not profane it; and Jesus refused to forbid them to cry out in joy within its courts. The healing of the sick did not make the temple less holy, but more so. The gathering of money for the poor and for the procla