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former princes had helped to ruin the nation. God had repeatedly taught the people to expect a king of David's race to come and save them; and that they might not look for one like those who had undone them, he particularly described him as resembling those under whom their country had been delivered; kings who feared GOD, and therefore feared no enemy; who, though mounted on asses, and colts, the foals of asses, had been enabled to put to flight thousands and tens of thousands, that came together against them.
The king foretold by the prophets was moreover to be just, meek, and lowly but how could he have deserved this character, had he appeared in the pomp and pride of war, surrounded by horses and chariots, in direct opposition to the law of God? Or, as he was to bring salvation to the people, could he make use of those means which God had never prospered, and which he had sufficiently declared he never would prosper?
We see then, that it was essential that the MESSIAH should come riding on a colt, the foal of an ass; and from the prophet's words, "I will cut off the chariot, &c." we may understand, that this humble action was to be opposed to the pride of their warlike kings.
The passage which has the second place in this Section, helps to illustrate this construction* Let us now see in what manner this prediction was fulfilled.
JESUS MAKES A TRIUMPHANT ENTRY INTO
From Matt. Chap. xxi.-Mark, xi. Luke, xix. John, xii. AND when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were *The annotations to this Section are chiefly extracted from Bishop Sherlock's Dissertations on our LORD's entry into Jerusalem.
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 with her a colt whereon man never sat: loose them, and bring them unto me.
And if any man say aught unto you, ye shall say, The LORD hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without, in a place where two ways met: and they loose him.
And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?
And they said, the LORD hath need of him.
And they brought him to JESUS: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they sat JESUS thereon.
The people therefore that were with him, when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strewed them in the way.
And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the LORD; Hosanna in the highest.
And much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that JESUS was coming to Jerusalem,
Took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna, blessed is the king of Israel that cometh in the name of the LORD.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the dis
ciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.
Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the LORD; peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Tell ye the daughters of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
These things understood not his disciples at the first; but when JESUS was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude, said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you, that if these would hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Every circumstance evinces, that our SAVIOUR perfectly understood the import of all the ordinances of the Jewish religion. Whatever was there typified he realized. As the Lamb was set apart for the passover on the tenth day of the month, five days before the feast, on that very day CHRIST chose to shew himself publicly as the MESSIAH; and to do honour to THE FATHER, he entered Jerusalem in a triumphant manner: but as he sought not an earthly kingdom, he was not attended with the usual ensigns of royal accession appropriated by the kings of those days. No heralds at arms pro
his title to the crown of Judea; no trumpets sounded before him; he did not ascend a stately chariot attired in robes glittering with gold and gems, but arrayed in a mean habit, he humbly rode on an ass's colt. Our LORD knew where to direct his disciples to seek one, which the owner would be willing to lend for his use. How must it have strengthened their faith, to find every particular agree with his prediction! When they had brought the colt and its dam to their Master, and found that he intended to ride the foal, having no saddle, they pulled off their own upper garments to supply the want of one, upon which he seated himself.
It was our LORD's constant practice to take his journeys on foot; this is the only instance recorded in sacred writ of his going otherwise; and it is very remarkable that he should choose a beast "whereon never man rode," as it requires both skill and courage to manage such an one. But skill and courage were unnecessary to JESUS, for his divine power could restrain all creatures, and make them subservient to his will.
The miracle which our LORD wrought in raising Lazarus from the dead had left a strong impression on the minds of numbers who were eye-witnesses of it; they boldly averred it, and declared themselves ready to bear record, or depose the truth of it upon oath; this influenced many more, so that a great multitude followed him, carrying branches of palm-trees, as was usual on public triumphs; and others came forth from the city to meet him, notwithstanding the command of the Sanhedrim to apprehend him. Fully convinced that JESUS was the promised MESSIAH, these people resolved to shew him all possible respect; and, as their acclamations tended to promote the honour of GoD, by bearing testimony to the faithfulness of the divine promises, our LORD readily accepted
accepted them; and, to show that he was not dejected at the thoughts of his approaching sufferings, he advanced cheerfully towards Jerusalem, whilst the people who attended him expressed in loud acclamations their joyful hopes, that their long expected MESSIAH would assume his throne, and deliver them from the oppression of the Romans. The meaning of the word Hosanna is, Save, we beseech thee.
The Pharisees seem to have made it a rule, that some of them should attend all our LORD's public motions: those who were with him at the time he was thus honoured, expressed their surprise that he, who pretended to have so much humility, should give encouragement to such seditious proceedings, and hazard the consequences of them. On this occasion our LORD laid aside all reserve, and informed them, that as it was absolutely necessary for the fulfilment of the prophecies that the MESSIAH should enter Jerusalem in this manner, if those who were eyewitnesses of it should remain silent, GOD would sooner animate the stones to bear evidence to the completion of them, than suffer a triumph so evidently marked out by the prophets to remain without testimony.
This open declaration of our LORD increased the envy and rage of the Pharisees, who began to fear that all the endeavours of the Sanhedrim to destroy him would prove ineffectual, since his popularity so greatly encreased.
The disciples did not at this time understand the meaning of our LORD's actions. It is likely, that, being illiterate men, they had never studied the prophetic writings; but our SAVIOUR's frequent references to them were brought to their recollection when they received the HOLY GHOST after his death; and then they perceived their correspondence with the wonderful events of his life.