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THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
CHRIST'S ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM.
Matthew xxi, 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: HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST.
The Gospel for this day seems to have been appointed on account of the parallel which may be drawn between the manner of our blessed Saviour's entering into Jerusalem, in a kind of lowly triumph, when He was hailed by the multitude as the Son of David, and the King of Israel; and the manner in which He will appear at His second advent, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day, as the King OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. When He was leaving the temple of Jerusalem for the last time before He was betrayed to be crucified, He declared to those who were assembled in it, Behold, your house is left unto you desolate; for I say unto you, ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. This is then the manner in which He will be hailed at His second coming, when He shall appear to the salvation of them that look for Him. And in these same words, the Evangelist informs us in the text, He was hailed by the people of Jerusalem when He entered that city a few days before His death. Let us endeavour to connect together the two subjects, in our consideration of the Gospel for this day. While in the
First place, we review the narrative contained in it; and
Secondly, consider more particularly the import of the acclamation made by the multitude in our text.
It appears from the Gospel according to St. John, that it was after our Lord Jesus Christ had raised Lazarus from the dead, that He determined to go to Jerusalem in the manner which our Evangelist has related. On this occasion,
12 Thess. i. 10. 2 Rev. xix.16. 3 Mat.xsvi.2. 4 Mat. xxiii. 38,39.
instead of going on foot privately as He was accustomed to do, He resolved to make His entry into the capital as prophecy had foretold that He should do, in an humble and lowly manner, riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass , thus to stain the pride of worldly pomp and glory. St. Matthew informs us, that when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them, and bring them unto Me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them: and straightway he will send them. Here our Saviour showed Himself to be acquainted with circumstances that occurred at a distance, and to have a knowledge of the dispositions of men without seeing them, and an ability to turn their minds as He would. His object in doing this, was to show that He claimed to Himself the character of the Messiah. The prophet Zechariah having foretold that He would so appear. It was, therefore, incumbent upon Him to fulfil the prophecy. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting
5 Zechariah ix. 9.
upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. What a sight was this! To behold the King of the universe displaying such humble pomp. The disciples, who were employed in this business, were not at all aware of their Master's reason for acting in this manner. Nevertheless they went and did as Jesus commanded them. And brought the ass and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Him thereon. They took off their upper garments, to serve as trappings for the decoration of the animal on which He was seated, and in token of their willing submission to His authority.
It being only six days before the Passover, one of the festivals at which all the males of the nation were required to appear before the Lord, in the place which He had chosen, to put His name there ;o the city of Jerusalem was full of people, who had come up to the feast. The miracle that Jesus had wrought, by raising Lazarus from the dead, after he had been four days in the grave, had been reported in the city, and had excited great astonishment among the people. St. John says, For this cause the people met Him, for that they heard that He had done this miracle.? The news of His coming into the city was spread abroad, and a very great multitude went out to meet Him, and spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them
6 Deuteronomy xvi. 6, 16.
7 John xii. 18.
in the way. By doing these things they declared that they were willing to receive Him as their King; and manifested their joy at His coming to take possession of His kingdom and to reign over them; since He had shown Himself to be the mighty Conqueror of death and the grave. 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; Hosanna in the highest. This acclamation of the multitude is taken from the hundred and eighteenth Psalm, where the word Hosanna is rendered Save now, I beseech thee. The object of the acclamation is to be considered in the latter part of this discourse.
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. How wonderful was it, that He, who had usually been so retired, should now all of a sudden show Himself so publicly to the people! The multitude of His attendants, and the loudness of their acclamations occasioned great surprise. The Pharisees were particularly displeased at it. Some of them who had mingled among the crowd, said unto Him, Master, rebuke Thy disciples. The disciples themselves were as much astonished as others at the con
8 Psalm cxviii. 25, 26.
9 Luke xix. 39.