Christ Entering Jerusalem.
SUMMARY.--The Lord Leaves Bethany to Enter Jerusalem.
The Charge to the Two Disciples.
The Fulfillment of Prophecy.
The Great Multitude Who Prepare the Way.
Hosanna to the Son of David.
Jesus Enters the Temple.
The Money-Changers Cast Out.
The Barren Fig Tree.
The Controversy with the Rulers.
The Parable of the Two Sons.
The Parable of the Vineyard and the Husbandmen.
The Stone That the Builders Rejected.
1. When they drew nigh unto Jerusalem. Jesus passed through
Jericho, where he bestowed sight on Bartimæus and salvation on
Zaccheus, came up the mountain pass from Jericho to Jerusalem, stopping
over the Sabbath in the congenial home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, in
Bethany, and so on Sunday morning made his entry into Jerusalem.
Luke 19:29-44, and John 12:12-19.
As they drew nigh to Jerusalem they ascended the Mount of Olives. There
were three paths over the Mount of Olives: (1) on the north, in the
hollow between the two crests of the hill; (2) over the summit; and (3)
on the south, between the Mount of Olives and the Hill of
Offence--still the most frequented and the best. Along this Jesus
To Bethphage. Bethphage and Bethany were suburban villages near
to one another, and lying on the direct line of road that led to
Jerusalem from the east.
Mount of Olives. A hill just east of Jerusalem, so called from
the olive trees upon it. It was about a mile from the city. It was
their open ground--for pleasure, for worship; the "Park" of Jerusalem;
the thoroughfare of any going or coming in the direction of the great
2. Into the village over against you. Bethphage is in view, over
against them, perhaps separated from them by a valley.
Ye shall find an ass tied. In the East the ass is in high
esteem. Every Jew expected, from the words of one of the prophets
that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem riding on an ass.
3. The Lord hath need of them. It is probable that the owner was
4, 5. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the
Isa. 62:11, and Zech. 9:9.
The prophet here describes him as riding upon one of the humblest of
animals, and in the fulfillment we find, (1) that the animal was
borrowed; (2) that he rode without a saddle on borrowed garments; (3)
that it was a colt on which no man had ever before rode. Only animals
hitherto unused were regarded fit for sacred uses. See
Deut. 21:3; 1 Sam. 6:7.
This is the only instance reported in which the Lord ever rode on any
7. They set him thereon. Hitherto he had entered the holy city
on foot; this day he would enter as David and the judges of Israel were
wont--riding on the ass.
8. And a very great multitude spread their garments. Vast
multitudes were gathered at Jerusalem at the Passover. The law required
the assembling of the Jewish nation. Josephus says that several
millions were wont to gather. Among these were thousands of Galileans
who had heard of Jesus, seen his miracles, and believed in him as their
Messiah King. When the people of Bethlehem, during the war between
Turkey and Egypt in 1836, sought the protection of the British consul,
they "spread their garments in the way" of his horses, in order to do
Cut down branches from the trees. John
says that these were the branches of palm trees; rather, the wide,
spreading, branch-like leaves of the palm tree, well fitted to form a
soft, level carpet. The only branches of the palm tree are its leafy
9. Hosanna. A Greek modification of the Hebrew words rendered,
"Save now, I beseech thee," in
of which formed part of their song, "Blessed," etc. It is used as an
expression of praise, like hallelujah.
That cometh in the name of the Lord. The words are taken in
Ps. 118:25, 26,
a hymn which belonged to the great hallelujah chanted at the end of the
Paschal Supper and the Feast of Tabernacles. The people were accustomed
to apply it to the Messiah.
10. All the city was moved. The procession burst into full view
of Jerusalem as it appeared on the Mount of Olives, two hundred feet
higher than the temple mount. There, as the city appeared in all its
splendor, according to
he stopped and wept over its coming sorrows. As the procession
descended, it was in plain view of all Jerusalem, and its magnitude,
shouts and songs excited the wonder of the whole city.
11. Jesus the prophet of Nazareth. The inquiry arose everywhere,
"Who is this?" to which the Galileans who composed so large a part of
the procession, responded: "It is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth, of
Galilee." Of this they were sure; of his real character none but his
own disciples knew, and they imperfectly. The Galileans regarded him
the prophet named by Moses in
12. And Jesus went into the temple. According to
on this day, after the triumphal entry, he entered the temple, looked
around, perhaps to note the abuses, and then at eventide went out to
Bethany. The next day, returning, he again entered the temple, and
wrought the cleansing that is here recorded. He went into the temple,
not as a worshiper, but as its Lord.
Cast out all them. This casting of the traders out of the temple
is not to be confounded with that recorded in
at the commencement of Christ's ministry. See notes
Them that sold and bought in the temple. A market was held there
for the sale of animals and those things necessary for the temple
service. Not the less a desecration because so great a convenience. The
part of the temple occupied by the traders was not in the temple
proper, but the Court of the Gentiles. In the accompanying plan of the
temple, the open space next to the outer walls is this court.
Tables of the moneychangers. Money would be required, (1) to
purchase materials for the offerings; (2) to present as free-offerings
to the temple treasury
(Mark 12:41; Luke 21:1);
(3) to pay the yearly temple tax of half a shekel due from every Jew,
however poor. All this had to be paid in native coin called the temple
shekel, which was not generally current. Strangers, therefore, had to
change their Roman, Greek, or Eastern money, at the stalls of the
money-changers, to obtain the coin required. This trade gave ready
means for fraud, which was only too common. Christ's act was a defiance
to those who sought his death.
Of them that sold doves. Required for poor women coming for
(Lev. 12:6, 8; Luke 2:24)
from all parts of the country, and for other offerings.
13. It is written. In
A house of prayer. A place of sacred worship.
A den of thieves. A cave or den of robbers. The language
indicates that it was a corrupt and fraudulent traffic, which a corrupt
and fraudulent priesthood had permitted to encroach on the worship of
God. It is a desecration of religious institutions to use them for
15. The chief priests and scribes . . . were sore displeased.
These inveterate enemies were displeased, not only at the authority he
had assumed over the temple, but at the acclamations of approval, the
cries of the children, and the evident favor of the people.
16. Hearest thou what these say? Christ's answer to the priests
is a rebuke to all who would check religious enthusiasm on the part of
children. The quotation is from
The praise of the innocent child is the perfection of praise.
17. Went to Bethany. Two miles east of Jerusalem. During the
eventful week, he seems to have passed his nights, until Thursday, at
the congenial home of Lazarus.
18. Now in the morning. Compare
and Luke 19:45-48.
This was Monday.
19. Seeing a fig tree. On the route from Bethany to the city.
The fig is common in Palestine.
Found nothing thereon, but leaves.
adds that "the time of figs was not yet;" that is, of ripe figs. The
green figs ought to have appeared among the leaves in April, though the
fruit began ripening in June.
Let there be no more fruit from thee. Peter calls this a cursing
It was doomed to death and withered. On the next morning (Tuesday) it
"was dried up from the roots"
It was a parable in action, illustrating how the fruitless Jewish
nation should wither away. It had leaves, but no fruit.
21, 22. If ye have faith. See note on
23. When he was come into the temple. Compare
Mark 11:27, and Luke 20:1.
This was on Tuesday, after the discourse on the fig tree, which
occurred the morning after the curse was pronounced.
The chief priests and the elders.
Mark and Luke
add "the scribes." These three classes made up the Sanhedrim, and this
was probably a deputation from that body.
By what authority doest thou these things? Such acts as driving
the money-changers and traders out of the temple, done the day
24. I also will ask you one question. A malicious question is
often best answered by a question which will expose the
25, 26. The baptism of John. Though the people generally had
obeyed John, they had rejected his baptism. Yet they dared not say it
was of men, for fear of the people; nor that it was of heaven, because
they had disobeyed it. They therefore say,
27. We cannot tell. Hence the Lord refuses to answer their
question, but immediately addresses them in a parable. As his death
approaches, his parables are unusually solemn.
28-31. A man had two sons. The two sons represent
the priests, elders and scribes on the one hand, and the publicans and
harlots, "the sinners," on the other. Both classes were bidden to work
in the Lord's vineyard. The publicans and sinners had refused, but
repented at the preaching of John. The others professed to obey, but
did not. The design of the parable is to show that the publicans and
harlots, whom they so much despised, were morally superior to his
32. Repented not afterward. The Greek word here translated
"repent," is not the one which is used in all commands as, "Repent, for
the kingdom of heaven is at hand,"
"Repent and be baptized,"
"Repent and be converted,"
etc. This term
means, rather, regret or sorrow; the word in the other passages
means "change your minds" or "hearts." The regret, or sorrow, for sin
leads to repentance
(2 Cor. 7:10).
The scribes and Pharisees did not regret their course, when they saw
sinners repenting, so that they could come into a penitent belief.
33. Hear another parable. Compare
Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19.
The second parable is also a rebuke of the ruling classes that were
seeking his death.
There was a certain householder. The head of a family is here
selected to represent God. In what follows is portrayed the blessings
he had bestowed and the care he had taken of Israel.
Which planted a vineyard. Our Lord draws, as was his wont, his
illustration from common life and familiar objects. Palestine was
emphatically a vine-growing country.
And hedged it round about. God in his care not only planted
Israel, but hedged the nation around by the law which separated
it from the Gentiles.
Digged a wine-press in it. The wine-press consisted of two parts:
(1) the press, or trough, above, in which the grapes were placed and
there trodden by the feet; (2) a smaller trough, into which the
expressed juice flowed through a hole. Here the smaller trough, which
was "digged" out of the earth or rock and then lined with masonry, is
put for the whole apparatus, and is called a wine
Built a tower. Towers were erected in vineyards for the
accommodation of keepers, who defended the vineyards from thieves and
from troublesome animals. The hedge and wine-press and tower represent
the various advantages conferred by God upon the Jewish people
Let it out to husbandmen. Representing the rulers of the Jews,
and also the people as a whole, a nation, are included.
Went into a far country. Better, "into another country," as in
the Revised. "For a long while" (or time), adds
It means that God left Israel to itself to see what use it would make
of the favors he had bestowed.
34. When the time of the fruit drew near. Probably no definite
time, but whenever any special duty was to be done, or special call to
repentance made, as by the prophets.
He sent his servants. The prophets.
That they might receive the fruits of it. The householder's
share. The rent was to be paid in a stipulated portion of the produce.
The fruits were obedience, love, righteous living, teaching the true
God to the nations, etc.
35. And the husbandmen took his servants. According to the
obvious design of the whole parable, this is a lively figure for the
undutiful and violent reception often given to the prophets or other
divine messengers, and the refusal to obey their message. See
Luke 11:47-50; 13:33, 34.
1 Thess. 2:15; Rev. 16:6; 18:24.
Killed another. Some of the prophets were not merely maltreated,
but actually put to death.
37. Last of all he sent unto them his son. This was the last and
crowning effort of divine
mercy; after which, on the one side, all the resources, even of
heavenly love, are exhausted; on the other, the measure of sins is
perfectly filled up.
38. This is the heir. He for whom the inheritance is meant, and
to whom it will in due course rightfully arrive. Christ is "heir of all
Come, let us kill him. The very words of Genesis
where Joseph's brethren express a similar resolution. This resolution
had actually been taken
Let us seize on his inheritance. If Christ prevailed, Judaism
must fall; if they could destroy Christ they could maintain their hold
on the vineyard; or, in other words, seize the inheritance. Such was
39. Cast him out of the vineyard. This may involve an allusion
to Christ suffering "without the gate"
(Heb. 13:12, 13; John 19:17).
Slew him. This is a prophecy of his own death at the hands of
the men whom he was addressing.
40. When the lord . . . cometh, what will he do? This question
is addressed to the Jews, who seem to have been so carried away by the
vivid description that they answered without seeing that they
pronounced their own sentence (see
41. They say unto him . . . and will let out his vineyard to other
husbandmen. Their answer is not only their own decree of judgment
upon themselves, but an unconscious prediction. The nation was nearly
destroyed in the Roman war; 1,100,000 perished in the siege of
Jerusalem; the Jewish polity was destroyed, and "another people," the
Church of Christ, mostly Gentile aliens before, received the
inheritance and the kingdom.
42. The stone which the builders rejected. "The Scripture" that
speaks of this stone is
Psalm 118:22, 23--a
psalm which the Jews applied to the Messiah. Peter twice applied it to
(Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7).
The figure represents a stone rejected by the builders as worthless,
and then found to be the chief corner-stone of the building. The stone
is Christ, rejected by the Jewish nation, but "the chief corner-stone,"
for this is what is meant by the "head of the corner." The
"corner-stone" joined two walls. Alford thinks this is a reference to
the union of Jews and Gentiles in the church.
Marvellous. That the rejected stone should become the "chief
corner-stone, elect and precious," on which the whole structure of the
spiritual temple rests.
43. Given to a nation bringing forth the fruits. The kingdom was
taken from the Jews and given to the "chosen nation"
(1 Peter 2:9);
not any particular nation, but those chosen out of the nations to be a
44. Whoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken. Two fates
are named for opposers in this verse; those who fall on the stone shall
be broken; those on whom the stone shall fall shall be ground to
powder. While the principle is general, the special application is to
the Jewish opposers. Their falling upon the Stone (Christ) was
the ruin of their nation. When the Stone fell upon them, in the
judgment he had predicted because they rejected him, they were ground
to powder in the awful desolation that occurred about thirty-seven
45. When the chief priests and Pharisees had heard, etc. When
the application of the parable was made, they perceived that they were
meant and that they had condemned themselves.
46. When they sought to lay hands on him. Jerusalem was filled
with people, and the demonstration, two days before, on Sunday, showed
that thousands of Galileans, at least, regarded him a prophet. Hence,
they find some darker and safer way than an open assault in the day.
None can oppose Christ without injury. Even the silent opposition of
indifference will cause us to be "broken" unless repented of. To
continue our opposition until the day of grace is over will result in
irretrievable ruin. Those who are "ground to powder" are beyond