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JESUS WEEPS OVER JERUSALEM.-CURSES THE BAR REN FIG-TREE.
From Luke, Chap. xix.-Matt. xxi.
AND when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side.
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another: because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
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.
And JESUS entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
And on the morrow when they were come from Bethany he was hungry.
And seeing a fig-tree afar off, having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
And JESUS said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. How tender and compassionate was our LORD's pro
phetic lamentations over Jerusalem! The prospect of the miseries to which its wretched inhabitants would, through their own obstinacy, be consigned by divine vengeance, melted him into tears. It might rather have been expected that the sight of that city, in which he was to endure such sufferings, would have provoked him to express indignation against it: but our merci ful REDEEMER seems to have forgot all his own wrongs, great and cruel as they were, and to have felt only for his enemies!
The commotions which were occasioned by the public entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, rendered it impracticable for any to lay hold of him; and he entered the temple publicly as the MESSIAH, and shewed that he had no fear of his persecutors: but the day being far advanced, our LORD soon retired from thence, reserving to a future time the reformation of those disorders which he now only remarked in silence. It is likely that our LORD dismissed the multitude, and would not remain all night in the city, that he might not be suspected of a design to head a faction. So intent was he on fulfilling his mission, that he left Bethany very early in the morning, without waiting for food; but, finding himself hungry, he resolved to take occasion from this circumstance to give a striking and important lesson to his disciples; therefore observing a fig-tree at some distance from the road, he desired them to go with him, that he might gather some fruit for his refreshment; for as the time of gathering was not over, and it was full of leaves, there was reason for them to expect to find plenty of figs; but, behold, it bore none: on which he condemned it to perpetual barrenness. We cannot suppose that our LORD was ignorant of the condition of this tree, but his disciples certainly were: his cursing it therefore was only meant to intimate, that the curse of GoD would wither
and destroy the Jewish nation, which he had before compared to an unfruitful fig-tree.
We do not find that our LORD eat food any where else that morning; his meat was to do the will of him who sent him; and, while engaged in this work, he seemed indifferent to the demands of natural appetite.
Who that reads our LORD's lamentation over Jerusalem can forbear to join in it? for it is dreadful to think that a city and nation, which enjoyed such superior advantages over all others, should provoke God to inflict such heavy judgments on them: but since the Son of Gon wept over the Jews, though they indulged such personal hatred to him, surely Christians should regard the miserable remnant of that once-honoured people with compassion; and heartily pray, that they may at length be converted, and acknowledge the MESSIA II the SON of DAVID, the true KING of Israel, who alone can bring them SALVATION.
JESUS ENTERS INTO THE TEMPLE, AND DRIVES OUT THE TRADERS.
From Matt. Chap. xxi.-John, Chap. ii.
AND they came to Jerusalem: and JESUS went into the temple, and found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves, and the changers of money, sitting:
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen and poured out the changers money, and overthrew the tables;
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my father's house an house of merchandize.
And he taught, saying unto them, is it not written,
My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, be cause all the people were astonished at his doctrine.
And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
And when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: they were sore displeased,
And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And JESUS saith unto them, Yea: have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany, and he lodged there.
Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, What signs shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
JESUS answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But be spake of the temple of his body.
When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them : and they believed the scripture, and the word which JESUS had said.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Our LORD appears to have had in view the completion of the following prediction of the prophet Malachi.
The LORD whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple: even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's soap.
And he shall sit as a refiner, and purifier of silver : and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
This prediction CHRIST partly fulfilled the day before, by his sudden and unexpected entrance into the temple as THE MESSIAH. Though our LORD came to abolish the Mosaic dispensation, it was highly proper that he should vindicate the honour of his FATHER, by forbidding any profanation of that temple which was to be dedicated to his service whilst it remained. It was also agreeable to our LORD's character, as REDEEMER of the world, to see that justice was done to the Gentile proselytes who were admitted to worship there. These had a court peculiarly appropriated to them, which those who sold doves for sacrifices, and exchanged foreign money into current coin, had taken possession of, to the great disturbance of the worshippers. As this practice was directly opposite to the law of Moses, the traders could not justify it; neither could the Jews pretend to reprove CHRIST for driv• ing them out. The temple at Jerusalem was designed, from its original institution, as a house of prayer for peo ple of all nations who would become true worshippers of GOD: it was therefore insufferable in the Jews to make it