Matthew 21* Christ enters Jerusalem. (1-11) He drives out those whoprofaned the temple. (12-17) The barren fig-tree cursed. (18-22)Jesus' discourse in the temple. (23-27) The parable of the twosons. (28-32) The parable of the wicked husbandmen. (33-46)1-11 This coming of Christ was described by the prophetZechariah, #Zec 9:9|. When Christ would appear in his glory, itis in his meekness, not in his majesty, in mercy to worksalvation. As meekness and outward poverty were fully seen inZion's King, and marked his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, howwrong covetousness, ambition, and the pride of life must be inZion's citizens! They brought the ass, but Jesus did not use itwithout the owner's consent. The trappings were such as came tohand. We must not think the clothes on our backs too dear topart with for the service of Christ. The chief priests and theelders afterwards joined with the multitude that abused him uponthe cross; but none of them joined the multitude that did himhonour. Those that take Christ for their King, must lay theirall under his feet. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseechthee! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! But ofhow little value is the applause of the people! The changingmultitude join the cry of the day, whether it be Hosanna, orCrucify him. Multitudes often seem to approve the gospel, butfew become consistent disciples. When Jesus was come intoJerusalem all the city was moved; some perhaps were moved withjoy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of thePharisees, were moved with envy. So various are the motions inthe minds of men upon the approach of Christ's kingdom. 12-17 Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned intoa market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, andpartly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them fromthe place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry,#Joh 2:13-17|. His works testified of him more than thehosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling thepromise, that the glory of the latter house should be greaterthan the glory of the former. If Christ came now into many partsof his visible church, how many secret evils he would discoverand cleanse! And how many things daily practised under the cloakof religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den ofthieves than to a house of prayer! 18-22 This cursing of the barren fig-tree represents the stateof hypocrites in general, and so teaches us that Christ looksfor the power of religion in those who profess it, and thesavour of it from those that have the show of it. His justexpectations from flourishing professors are often disappointed;he comes to many, seeking fruit, and finds leaves only. A falseprofession commonly withers in this world, and it is the effectof Christ's curse. The fig-tree that had no fruit, soon lost itsleaves. This represents the state of the nation and people ofthe Jews in particular. Our Lord Jesus found among them nothingbut leaves. And after they rejected Christ, blindness andhardness grew upon them, till they were undone, and their placeand nation rooted up. The Lord was righteous in it. Let usgreatly fear the doom denounced on the barren fig-tree. 23-27 As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chiefpriests and scribes were much offended, especially because heexposed and removed the abuses they encouraged. Our Lord askedwhat they thought of John's ministry and baptism. Many are moreafraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and thereforescruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their ownthoughts, affections, and intentions, or their remembering andforgetting. Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry. It is bestto shun needless disputes with wicked opposers. 28-32 Parables which give reproof, speak plainly to theoffenders, and judge them out of their own mouths. The parableof the two sons sent to work in the vineyard, is to show thatthose who knew not John's baptism to be of God, were shamed bythose who knew it, and owned it. The whole human race are likechildren whom the Lord has brought up, but they have rebelledagainst him, only some are more plausible in their disobediencethan others. And it often happens, that the daring rebel isbrought to repentance and becomes the Lord's servant, while theformalist grows hardened in pride and enmity. 33-46 This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of theJewish nation; and what is spoken to convict them, is spoken tocaution all that enjoy the privileges of the outward church. Asmen treat God's people, they would treat Christ himself, if hewere with them. How can we, if faithful to his cause, expect afavourable reception from a wicked world, or from ungodlyprofessors of Christianity! And let us ask ourselves, whether wewho have the vineyard and all its advantages, render fruits indue season, as a people, as a family, or as separate persons.Our Saviour, in his question, declares that the Lord of thevineyard will come, and when he comes he will surely destroy thewicked. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, andthey would not admit his doctrine or laws; they threw him asideas a despised stone. But he who was rejected by the Jews, wasembraced by the Gentiles. Christ knows who will bring forthgospel fruits in the use of gospel means. The unbelief ofsinners will be their ruin. But God has many ways of restrainingthe remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaksout redound to his praise. May Christ become more and moreprecious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone ofhis church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised andhated for his sake.
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