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faith hath saved thee.' Thy confidence, belief that I could cure, has been the means of obtaining this blessing. Faith had no power to open the eyes, but it led them to Jesus; it showed that they had just views of his power; it was connected with the cure. So faith has no power to save from sin, but it leads the poor, lost, blind sinner to Him who has power, and in this sense, it is said, we are saved by faith: his touching their eyes was merely a sign that the power of healing proceeded from him.
Here was an undoubted miracle. These blind men were well known. One at least had been long blind. They were strangers to Jesus. They could not have, therefore, feigned themselves blind. The miracle was wrought in the presence of multitudes, who took a deep interest in it, and who could easily have detected the imposition if there had been one. The men followed him. They praised or glorified God. (Mark and Luke.) The people gave praise to God also. (Luke.) They were satisfied that a real miracle was performed. He that can give sight to the blind cannot lead us astray. He that can shed light in the beginning of our faith, can enlighten our goings through all our pilgrimage, and down through the dark valley of the shadow of death.
1 AND when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
See also Mark xi. 1-11. Luke xix. 29-44. They were going up now from Jericho, ch. xx. 29. The distance was about nineteen miles. The mount of Olives, or Olivet, is on the east of Jerusalem. Between this and Jerusalem there runs a small stream called the brook Kidron, or Cedron. It is dry in the hot seasons of the year, but swells to a considerable size during heavy rains. The valley through which this passes is called the valley of Jehoshaphat, or the valley of Hinnom. See note, Matt. v. 22. The mount of Olives was so called from its producing in abundance the olive. It was from Jerusalem about a sabbath day's journey, or a mile, Acts i. 12. On the west side of the mountain was the garden of Gethsemane, Luke xxii. 39. Mark xiv. 32. On the east side of the mountain, probably at its base, were the villages of Bethphage and Bethany. Mark and Luke say that he came near to both those places. The mount of Olives is about a mile in length, and overlooks Jerusalem; so that from its summit almost every part of the city can be seen.
2 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.
The village here meant was not far from Bethany, and about
two miles east of Jerusalem. (Mark and Luke.) He had lodged at Bethany the night before, and in the morning sent his disciples to the village over against them; that is, to Bethphage, John xii. 1-12. 'Ye shall find an ass tied,' &c. In Judea there were few horses, and those were chiefly used in war. Men seldom employed them in common life, and in ordinary journies. The ass, the mule, and the camel are still most used in eastern countries. To ride on a horse was sometimes an emblem of war: a mule and an ass the emblem of peace. Kings and princes commonly rode on them in times of peace; and it is mentioned as a mark of rank and dignity to ride in that manner, Judges x. 4; xii. 14. 1 Sam. xxv. 20. So Solomon, when he was inaugurated as king, rode on a mule, 1 Kings i. 33.
Mark and Luke say that he told them they should find a colt tied. This they were directed to bring. They mention only the colt, because it was this on which he rode.
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, the Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
'The Lord hath need of them.' This means, the master has need of him. The word 'Lord' often means master, as opposed to servant, Matt. x. 24. Eph. vi 5. 1 Pet. iii. 5, 6. The word is sometimes used in the bible as applied to God, or as a translation of the name Jehovah. Its common use is as a title of respect given by an inferior to a superior, by a servant to a master, by a disciple to a teacher. As a title of high respect it was given to Christ, or the Messiah. The persons to whom these disciples were sent, were probably acquainted with the miracles of Jesus, and favourably disposed towards him.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an
The prophecy here quoted is found in Zech. ix. 9. It was always, by the Jews, applied to the Messiah. Daughter of Zion.' That is, Jerusalem. Zion was one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built. On this stood the city of David and some strong fortresses. The names daughter and virgin were given to it often, in accordance with the oriental figurative manner of expression, Amos v. 2. Ps. cxxxvii. 8. Isa. xlvii. 1. Meek.' See note, Matt. v. 5. The expression here rather denotes peaceful, not warlike; not with pomp and state, and the ensigns of ambition. Sitting upon an ass,' &c. He rode on the colt. (Mark and Luke.) This expression in Matthew is one which is common with all writers. See Gen. xix. 29. Judges xii. 7.
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
And put on them their clothes.' This was done as a token of respect, 2 Kings ix. 13.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
Others showed the same respect by throwing their garments before him; others by cutting down branches of trees, and casting them in the way. This was the way in which conquerors and princes were often honoured. To cast flowers or garlands, or boughs, before a warrior returning from victory, or a king entering into his kingdom, was a common way of testifying joyful and triumphant feeling. John says, xii. 13, that these branches were branches of the palm-tree. The palm was an emblem of joy and victory, Rev. vii. 9.
The palm-tree is common in warm climates, and was abundant in Palestine. The finest grew about Jericho and Engeddi. Hence Jericho was called the city of palm-trees.
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 word 'hosanna' means Save now, or save, I beseech thee. It is a Syriac word, and was the form of acclamation used among the Jews. It was probably used in the celebration of their great festivals. During those festivals they sang the 115th, 116th, 117th, and 118th psalms. In the chanting or singing of those psalms, the Jewish writers inform us that the people responded frequently hallelujah, or hosanna. 'Son of David. The Messiah. 'Blessed is he,' &c. That is, blessed be the Messiah. This passage is taken from Ps. cxviii. 25, 26. To come in the name of the Lord, is to come by the authority of the Lord; to come commissioned by him to reveal his will. The Jews had commonly applied this to the Messiah. 'Hosanna in the highest.' This may mean either Hosanna in the highest, loftiest strains, or it may be a prayer to God, Save now, O thou that dwellest in the highest, in the highest heaven, or among the highest angels.'
Mark adds, that they shouted, 'Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord.' That is, the kingdom promised to David, 1 Kings ii. 4; viii. 25.
Luke adds, xix. 38, that they said 'Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.' The word peace is used here as significant of joy
-joy, triumph, exultation in heaven at this event; increased rejoicing from the accession of the redeemed: and the highest glory to God.
Among such a multitude the shouts of exultation and triumph would by no means be confined to the same words. Some would say one thing, and some another; one evangelist recorded what was said by one part of the multitude, and another what was said by another part.
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
There was great excitement. The sight of such a multitude, the shouts of the people, and the triumphant procession through the city, excited much attention and inquiry.
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
The account of the barren fig-tree and of the cleansing of the temple is stated in Mark xi. 12-19. See also Luke xix. 45-48. From Mark xi. 11-15, it is probable that this cleansing of the temple did not take place on the day that he entered Jerusalem in triumph, but on the day following. He came and looked round upon all things, Mark says, and went out to Bethany with the twelve. On the day following, returning from Bethany, he saw the fig-tree. Entering into the temple, he purified it on that day; or perhaps he finished the work of purifying it on that day, which he commenced the day before.
The temple was built on mount Moriah. The first temple was built by Solomon, about 1000 years before Christ, 1 Kings vi. He was seven years in building it, 1 Kings vi. 38. This temple, erected with great magnificence, remained till it was destroyed by the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar, five hundred and eighty-four years before Christ, 2 Chron. xxxvi. 6, 7, 19.
After the Babylonish captivity, the temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel, but with vastly inferior and diminished beauty. This was called the second temple. It was often defiled in the wars before the time of Christ, and had become much decayed and impaired. Herod the Great, being exceedingly unpopular among the Jews, on account of his cruelties, (see note, Matt. ii.) was desirous of doing something to obtain the favour of the people, and accordingly about sixteen years before Christ, he commenced the work of repairing it. This he did, by removing one part after another till it had become in fact a new temple, greatly surpassing
he former in magnificence. It was still called by the Jews the second temple; and by Christ's coming to this temple, the prophecy, Haggai ii. 9, was fulfilled. John says, ii. 20, forty and six years was this temple in building.' Christ was then thirty years of age, which, added to the sixteen years occupied in repairing it before his birth, makes forty-six years.
The temple itself was a small edifice, and was surrounded by courts and chambers half a mile in circumference. Into the sacred edifice itself our Saviour never went. He was not a priest, and consequently was allowed to enter no further into the temple than the other Israelites. The works that he is said to have performed in the temple, therefore, are to be understood as having been performed in the courts surrounding the sacred edifice. Those courts will now be described.
The entrance to the courts on the top of the mount was by nine gates, all of them extremely splendid. On every side they were thickly coated with gold and silver. But there was one gate of peculiar magnificence. This was called the beautiful gate, Acts iii. 2. It was on the east side, and was made of Corinthian brass, one of the most precious metals in ancient times. This gate was fifty cubits, or seventy-five feet in height.
The whole temple, with all its courts, was surrounded by a wall about twenty-five feet in height. On the inside of this wall, between the gates, were piazzas or covered porches. On the eastern, northern, and western sides there were two rows of these porches; on the south, three. These porches were covered walks, about twenty feet in width, paved with marble of different colours, with a flat roof of costly cedar, which was supported by pillars of solid marble, so large that three men could scarcely stretch their arms so as to meet around them. These walks or porches afforded a grateful shade and protection to the people in hot or stormy weather. The one on the east side was distinguished for its beauty, and was called Solomon's porch, John x. 23. Acts iii. 11. It stood over the vast terrace or wall which he had raised from the valley beneath, and which was the only thing of his work that remained in the sacred temple.
When a person entered any of the gates into this space within the wall, he saw the temple rising before him with great magnificence. But the space was not clear all the way up to it. Going forward, he came to another wall, inclosing considerable ground, esteemed more holy than the rest of the hill. This between the first and second wall was called the court of the Gentiles. It was so called because Gentiles might come into it, but they could proceed no further. This court was not of equal dimensions all the way round the temple. On the east, north, and west, it was quite narrow. On the south it was wide, occupying nearly half of the whole surface of the hill. In this court the Gentiles might Here was the place where much secular business was