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judges of the twelve tribes of Israel ; and that all his disciples shall receive, in this age, a hundredfold for what they have renounced for his sake, and in the next shall become immortal.
James and John, however, are not satisfied with separate thrones equal to the other apostles ; they aspire to be above them all, and to sit, one on the right hand, and the other on the left, of the KingJesus.
But such pre-eminence, Jesus tells them, is not in his power to give. God has already prepared it for those whom he has chosen ; but the servant of all, he shall be chief, as he himself is, for he is about to give even his life for the ransom of many.
These conversations took place on the way to Jerusalem, and on leaving Jericho Jesus is hailed as Messiah by two blind beggars, to whom he restores sight. He enters Jerusalem, sitting on an ass, predicted of the Messiah. This is his first public assertion (and this by act rather than word) of the Messianic dignity; and here is no display of regal pride, but rather a confirmation of his teaching, that the prime condition of entering the kingdom is lowliness and meekness of spirit.
But the prophet of Nazareth, who is expected in Jerusalem, and whose approach in this manner, attended by a great number of disciples, has at once suggested the ideas of Messiahship, is surrounded by
* Mark xi. 7. Comp. Matt. xxi. 7, and ask, O serious reader,Wherefore this difference ?
eager multitudes, who proclaim him their anointed king, of the house of David (Matt. xxi. 1-9).
Jesus tacitly accepts the homage, and the fact is noted by the chief persons of the Pharisaic sect, and by the chief priests (mostly Sadducees). on his way to the temple, followed thither by a great crowd, of whom many, especially children, continued to shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David !” to which a parallel cry would be in England,“ Long live King Jesus !” As was natural, “ All the city was stirred, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee ” (Matt. xxi. 10, 11).
Arrived at the temple, Jesus, scandalized at the noise of the traffickers in the outer courts of the sacred edifice, authoritatively cleared them—the people who accompanied him perhaps doing his bidding, by upsetting the seats of the traders, and hustling them out--after which he cured many blind and lame persons who resorted to him.
He lodged at a suburb of the city called Bethany, and as he re-entered Jerusalem on the following morning, he wrought a miracle of an exceptional character, viz. that of causing a fig tree to wither under his curse—a curse not causeless, since the tree, though bearing leaves, had no fruit. When the disciples expressed their astonishment, he told them that all things were possible to the prayer of faith. If they had faith, it would be in their power to work still greater wonders than this, even, for example, "If ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up, and cast into the sea, it shall be done" (Matt. xxi. 21).
Jesus went again to the temple and taught the people, who there flocked to hear him ; but his acts of the previous day were called in question by the chief priests and other influential persons, who demanded on what authority he acted. They had previously directed the attention of Jesus to the claim made on his behalf, by the more enthusiastic of the people, contained in the popular cry taken up by the children and long-continued, and Jesus, quoting from one of the Psalms, intimates that children are sometimes more discerning than their elders.
But when these elders demand his credentials for the tacit assumption of Messianic authority, he silences them by placing them in a dilemma respecting John the Baptist, in whose prophetic mission they did not believe, but shrank from avowal of their disbelief for fear of losing their reputation among the people, who still regarded John as a prophet.
Jesus now began to denounce the Pharisees and the religious teachers as worse than the tax-gatherers and harlots, and declared that they would not be permitted to enter the kingdom. He knew, apparently, that these men, haughty and overbearing, full of self-seeking, would never comprehend the nature of the true divine kingdom, which must be established within their hearts before they could be admitted into the outward kingdom of the Messiah, consisting of the converted only. He therefore threatens them with punishment, and so exasperated them that they would have seized him, but that they knew the people were favourably disposed towards him.
Being afraid to arrest and condemn him themselves, they sought to embroil him with their Roman masters, supposing, if he claimed the Jewish throne, their task would be easy. But, seeing their intent, Jesus, to their signal discomfiture, evaded the question which, with that object, they proposed.
To the Sadducees, who had tried to puzzle him on the subject of the resurrection of the body, he preached a spiritual resurrection only, instancing the chief patriarchs as living still.
His having silenced the Sadducees would be likely to incline the Pharisees rather towards him, or to make them more ready calmly to test him. Accordingly, one of them, a student and expounder of the law, asked him which was the great commandment therein. Jesus replied, “ Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hangeth the whole law, and the prophets" (Matt. xxii. 37-40).*
* On another occasion, also, Jesus epitomized the teaching of the law and the prophets (see Matt. vii. 12): “All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them : for this is the law and the prophets."
The Pharisees appear to have listened respectfully on this occasion, and Jesus now, in his turn, questions them, asking their views of the descent or ancestry of the Messiah. They reply, in accord with the common belief of the Jews, that he must be descended from David. But Jesus combats this idea, perhaps knowing that there was no evidence of his own descent from the royal line, and his argument made on them so great an impression that they dared not encounter him any more.
Some time now elapsed, during which Jesus remained in Jerusalem quietly teaching, and observing the conduct especially of the religious teachers and the Pharisees, who laid claim to especial sanctity. He saw and heard much that aroused his indignation, and he at length denounced these classes of persons (held in high esteem by the people) with great severity, and publicly exposed their faults. He accused them generally of hypocrisy, in pretending to righteousness when they were full of secret uncleanness and iniquity, and, calling them a brood of vipers, asked how they could possibly escape condemnation.
It is, however, more and more apparent that the people of Jerusalem are becoming alienated from the Galilean prophet. Those who welcomed him with shouts are now silent, and the cry is soon to be heard,
Jesus asked the Pharisees, “What think ye of the Christ? whose Son is he?” They reply, “ The Son of David.” But David reverences him as his superior, calling him lord. Would he thus, in spirit, do homage to his own descendant? “If David then calleth him lord, how is he his son ?” (Matt. xxii. 41-45).