“And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. 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 answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. 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 the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. And when even was come, he went out of the city.”—Mark 11:8-19

As the Lord Jesus approached Jerusalem He was clearly affected by the sight before Him. The city was full of pilgrims attending the feast of Passover. There were three main feasts each year to which Jewish worshippers were expected to travel: the feast of Tabernacles in October, the feast of Passover in April, and the feast of Pentecost in May.

The Feast of Passover

This was Passover and commemorated the nation’s deliverance from Egypt. The population of the city swelled greatly due to visitors from near and far. It was a time of joy and celebration, good for business and full of religious fervour. Yet, feasts were occasions fraught with tension for the Jewish religious and civil leaders, and their Roman overlords. Messianic anticipation ran high, Jesus had the support of the people and there was popular expectation that the restoration of David’s kingdom was imminent. The authorities were on edge.

The Lord’s enemies conspire

Into this situation Jesus now entered. The common people cheered and sang His praises but the Lord’s enemies, provoked by a mix of jealously and fear, were plotting His death. They thought to use the elevated excitement of the feast to be finally rid of Jesus and to bring an end to His movement for ever.

Jesus Christ the GodMan

However, the Lord had a calling beyond restoring an earthly kingdom and many of the incidents recorded by the Gospel writers about these days before His arrest and trial seem designed to emphasise both the humanity and the divinity of the Saviour and His suitability as a Substitute-in-death for His people. The Lord’s tears over the city, His hunger and weariness, as well as His miraculous healings and evident power in ‘cleansing’ the temple confirm He was both God and Man.

The things Christ sees

Mark tells us that upon entering Jerusalem, and perhaps specifically the temple, the Lord ‘looked round about upon all things’. Doubtless this phrase is intended to inform us that the Saviour took note of all that was happening around Him, and understood the significance of the events. Luke tells us He wept over the ancient city, so often blessed, now soon to be destroyed. Here we see the human nature of the Saviour, ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities’.

His worshipping people

We are told the Lord saw His followers rejoicing and praising God ‘with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen’. This reminds us how praise and worship of God becomes the Lord’s people, and how we each should be ready always to recall our experiences of grace and mercy, and give thanks for the mighty work of our redemption.

The hypocrisy of false religion

The Saviour saw the hypocrisy of the religious Jews, the chief priests and scribes, a rebellious people, walking in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts, and provoking the Lord to anger continually to His face (Isaiah 65:2, 3). He silenced their ‘holier than thou’ criticisms but they sharpened their knives to slay Him.

Zeal for His Father’s house

Entering the temple, the Lord saw the moneychangers and merchants who had made His Father’s house, ‘a den of thieves’. These He rebuked and chased from the temple, overturning their tables and unseating them from their booths. This action appears to have been repeated on consecutive days and stressed the moral authority, boldness and, not least, the physical strength and presence the Lord exhibited.

To seek and save, to heal and deliver

The Lord also saw the needs of the poor, the sick and the sinful. He saw the lame and the blind who came to Him for help. As was His practice He graciously and powerfully delivered them from their diseases and disorders. None who come to Him believing He can help them shall ever be turned away disappointed.

The blindness of evil hearts

The Jews had no excuse for denying Christ’s divinity, having seen His power demonstrated repeatedly. But they would not, and could not, believe in Him because, as He said, these truths were hid from their eyes, and they ‘knew not the time of Christ’s visiting them’ in grace and mercy.

The sight of Sovereign Grace

When Mark tells us the Lord ‘looked round about upon all things’ let it remind us of the Lord’s union and involvement with us in our humanity, but also of His sovereign awareness, knowledge and engagement with us in our hearts and souls. Nothing is hid from the sight of Him who sees all things.

Amen

Peter Meney



Comments

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2019, The Association of Historic Baptists