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13 And said unto them, It is dren crying in the temple, and written, My house shall be called saying, Hosanna to the Son of the house of prayer : but ye David! they were
sore dishave made it a den of thieves. pleased,
14 And the blind and the 16 And said unto him, Hearlame came to him in the temple, est thou what these say? And and he healed them.
Jesus saith unto them, Yea: 15 And when the chief priests have ye never read, Out of the and scribes saw the wonderful mouth of babes and sucklings things that he did, and the chil- thou hast perfected praise? offer doves in sacrifice. See Lev. 5: people knew that the traffic was 7. 12: 8.
constantly, in numerous respects, an 13. It is written ; in Is. 56:7. See unrighteous and oppressive business. also Jer. 7: 11. By forming a sen- On a former occasion, Jesus had, in tence from the language of these two a similar manner, shown his disappassages, Jesus expressed his very probation of the buying and selling deep sense of the desecration of the in the temple. John 2: 13-17. temple by its being made a place of 14-16. It is probable, by a compecuniary emolument, and particu- parison with Luke 19: 39, 40, that larly of unrighteous gain.
what is related in these verses, took The departing of the traders from place on the day of the Saviour's er. the temple, at the command of Jesus, tering the city and the temple, and will be explained by referring to the the day before the cleansing of the circumstances of the case. He had, temple. Huve ye never read ; in Ps. the day before, been, so to speak, es- 8:2. || Thou hast perfected praise. corted into the city, amid the accla- The idea would be better expressed mations of the populace, as the Mes- by the words thou hast appointed siah, their promised king, and all the praise. The language in the psalm feelings of the populace were in his is slightly different; but the idea is favor. It was regarded as the proper there the same as is here expressed office of the Messiah, to remodel ex- by the Saviour. The psalmist apisting institutions, to establish new pears to have declared, that God had, laws, and in various ways to effect a in the works of creation and provinew order of things. "The people, dence, made such a manifestation of then, would regard him as acting in his glorious character, that even babes his appropriate character; and many might discern it, and praise him for of the traders, doubtless, would be it; and thus God is said to have apstruck with awe at the appearance of pointed or prepared praise, inasmuch one who had been thus publicly dis- as he had performed a work which tinguished by the people, and who laid a foundation for praise. The had the reputation of singular devo- Saviour applied this thought to the tion to the cause of piety. Their con- present occasion; as much as to say, sciences, too, doubtless, reproached If even children are spoken of in the them for the many wrong practices Old Testament as giving praise for of which they were guilty; and com- the work of creation, much more, in pelled them, however reluctantly, to view of the Messiah's having come, obey one who appeared thus burn-ought there to be praise from chiling with a true zeal for the honor of dren, — from young as well as from God, and as acting by divine authori- old. Compare Luke 19: 40. As ty. Besides, the traders knew and passages parallel to the verses thus felt, that they could obtain no coun- far considered, see Mark 11:1-11, tenance from the people, should they 15–17. Luke 19 : 29–48 John 12: have attempted resistance. The | 12-19.
17 And he left them, and 20 And when the disciples went out of the city into Betha- saw it, they marvelled, saying, ny; and he lodged there. How soon is the fig.tree with
18 Now in the morning, as ered away! he returned into the city, he 21 Jesus answered and said hungered.
unto them, Verily I say unto 19 And when he saw a fig- you, If ye have faith, and doubt tree in the way, he came to it, not, ye shall not only do this and found nothing thereon, but which is done to the fig-tree, but leaves only, and said unto it, also, if ye shall say unto this Let no fruit grow on thee hence- mountain, Be thou reinoved, forward forever. And present- and be thou cast into the sea, ly the fig-tree withered away. it shall be done.
17. Bethany; a village about two in God, when we pray to him. He miles distant from Jerusalem, and made use of the present occasion for which was a frequent and favorite that purpose. || Unto this mountain. place of resort for Jesus, while in this for a similar method of representing part of the country. See on verse 1; the power of faith, see Matt. 17: 20. and compare John, 11th chapter. By stating a very strong case, our Mark (11: 11) mentions this instance Saviour meant to be understood as of retiring to Bethany. It is also saying, that confidence in the divine probably referred to in John 12: 36. power is peculiarly acceptable to God,
18. In the morning ; that is, the and that God will most favorably renext morning; which was the morn- gard and answer prayer which proing of the day on which he drove out ceeds from this spirit of confidence in the traders from the temple.
him. Mark, in relating this conver19. In the way; on the side of the sation, uses language which shows road, not within a private enclosure. that our Saviour spoke with reference The tree was a barren one; not only to prayer in general, and not merely then destitute of fruit, but never hav- to what might be offered by the aposing borne any. Mark (11: 12—14) tles. He says (11: 23), “Whosoever gives a more particular account of the shall say,” &c. He also adds ancircumstance here related ; and, as other trait in the character of acceptcompleting the account of this day's able prayer (11: 25, 26), namely, the proceedings, mentions, in vs. 18, 19, spirit of forgiveness. On this point, the wish of the scribes and chief compare Matt. 6: 14, 15. 18:21-35. priests to seize Jesus, and his again The very extensive promise which retiring, in the evening, from the city. our Lord here made to believing || Presently. This word is here to be prayer, must not, of course, be conunderstood in a general sense, equiv. templated without reference to the alent to our word soon. Mark relates will and the glory of God. He must more particularly (11: 20), that the be the judge respecting our petitions ; disciples noticed the tree's being and we must confide not only in his withered from the roots on the follow- ability to grant our requests, and his ing morning. In animated narration, kind disposition to gratify our desires, and in conversation, we often use but also in his knowledge and wissuch words in a similar manner; dom, as determining what ought to meaning to express a very short time. be done. In all our prayers, we
21. If ye have faith. Jesus fre- ought to exercise unlimited and unquently showed a desire to inculcate wavering confidence in the power, on his disciples the importance of love, and wisdom of God. Prayers faith; that is, unwavering confidence offered in such a spirit, will be pleas
22 And all things whatso- | ever ye shall ask in prayer, ing to him ; and such prayers he will concede to him the right, in all cases, answer favorably, unless his wisdom of determining what would be for the and love see a different course to be best ? Such a view as this relieves the best on the whole. In true sub- the subject of prayer from many difmission, we ought always to leave ficulties which some persons feel; and our petitions with him; knowing that shows that praying in faith means we must not dictate, but, as contiding praying with confidence in God, and children, and as ignorant, dependent with hearty submission to God, rathcreatures, yield to him the right of er than with an unqualified belief that deciding. While, then, we place full the precise objects of our prayer shall confidence in God, we must not be be granted. arrogant nor presumptuous.
22. And all things whatsoever, &c. father should promise his son to give The remarks on the preceding verse him whatsoever he should from time present the cautions necessary to a to time desire, it would, of course, be right perception of the meaning of taken for granted, that the son would this verse. Mark says (11 : 24), “* Benot ask what he knew to be contrary lieve that ye receive them;” that is, beto the father's judgment and wishes; lieve that ye shall receive them. The it would also be taken for granted, present tense is here used for the fu. that if the child, in the sincerity and ture, as is not unfrequent. The idea simplicity of his heart, should igno- is, Place implicit confidence in God, rantly ask for what the father knew and let no doubt respecting his power, it would be wrong and injurious to love, and wisdom, wither your hearts bestow, the father would be under in approaching him ; for to approach stood as reserving the prerogative of God without confiding in him, with deciding, and of causing his superior an unconfiding, doubting, suspicious wisdom to regulate his proceeding. frame of mind, is not filial, is not beAnd in case the father should act in coming our relation to God, and rea manner contrary to the request of flects dishonor upon him.
When our his son, this would not imply a fail- Lord says, Believe that ye receive [that ure of the promise, inasmuch as, from is, shall receive] them, we must of the nature of the subject, there was a course understand him in a manner tacit condition, that what was asked adapted to the nature of the case. He should, on the whole, be in accord- was enjoining the duty of exercising ance with the father's judgment and entire confidence in Ğod, of banishdesire for the child's welfare. The ing that doubting, vacillating state promise to bestow whatever he should of mind which would arise from a ask, surely did not imply, that the fear that God has no particular re child's youthful, inexperienced mind gard for his children, that he is çashould have the precedence of his pricious, or that he can in any way be father's; but it implied great love, hindered from manifesting his love to and earnest desire for the happiness us. If God has made any particular of the child, and willingness to do any promises to us, we must not dishonor thing, however great, that should be him, nor distress ourselves by fearing within the compass of the father's that he will fail of accomplishing his power, and that the father should see promise. If the matter respecting it suitable and proper for him to be which we pray, be not one of specific stow. And while the promise im- promise, we must not dishonor God plied this on the part of the father, nor distress ourselves, by any derogawould it not be taken for granted on tory views of the divine power, or the part of the son, that he would ex- love, or wisdom; but must pray to ercise as much confidence in the wis- him in a spirit of childlike confidence, dom, as in the love and power of his believing implicitly that he has power father; and that he would cheerfully | adequate to accomplish uur request,
believing, ye shall receive. doest thou these things ? and
23 And when he was come who gave thee this authority ? into the temple, the chief priests 24 And Jesus answered and and the elders of the people said unto them, I also will ask came unto him as he was teach- you one thing, which if ye
tell ing, and said, By what authority me, I in like wise will tell you that he has love sufficient to prompt or with the disquietude of a person a favorable answer, and that he has who feels not his spiritual wants, and wisdom sufficient to guide to a right cannot devolve his cares on Jehovah. issue; and that if, in view of all Or, compare the Christian with a poor things, he knows it would be best to heathen, who knows no better a god gratify our desires, he will most cer- than the lifeless block which man's tainly gratify them. Such is the hands have fashioned. Compare meaning of praying with faith, or these several persons together, when believing, or, as Mark expresses it, in circumstances of distress, and believing that we receive our requests. when approaching the eternal world. But we shall greatly err, if we imagine our prayers are entirely des- 23. And when he was come into the titute of faith unless we do actually temple. The conversation respecting believe, without any qualification, the fiy-tree took place between Jesus that God will certainly grant what and the disciples, on the way to Jeruwe ask. For God does not require salem (see Mark 11 : 27); when they
to believe without appropriate had arrived, they went to the temple. evidence; and in regard to a matter The manner of Jesus' entering the concerning which there is not a spe- city a short time before, his vindicacific promise, we may be destitute of ting of the sanctity of the temple, his the evidence that God will certainly teaching there, and the various works do as we desire; while at the same which he had performed, gave him time we may be in full possession of much celebrity, and excited the chief evidence that he has power, love, and priests and other distinguished men wisdoin, abundantly adequate to grant to jealousy. Hence they came our requests, provided it be suitable him to make inquiries, and, doubtless, that the request be granted.
with an attempt to insnare him in Examine, as passages parallel to what he might say. Being the printhis, respecting the fig-tree and cipal men of the nation, they doubtprayer, Mark 11: 12—14, 20—26. less belonged to the Sanhedrim, the
greatest tribunal, and were plotting From the account of the fig-tree, let for his condemnation and death. US LEARN the danger connected with || By what authority, &c. Jesus had being unprofitable servants. Every not been authorized by the Sanheman ought to live according to the drim; and to that body it appears to will of God, and thus render service have belonged to watch over the reand honor to him. But if we fail ligious affairs of the nation, and to thus to serve God, we must expect decide questions pertaining to their
religious state. As they had not In regard to PRAYER, we have conmissioned him, nor countenanced great encouragement to pray with him, they asked, by what right he the strongest confidence in God. To was acting; expecting, doubtless, see the greatness of this privilege, that he would give a direct reply of compare the happiness of a true such a sort as would furnish them a Christian, who, as a child of God, handle against him. can commit all his affairs to the wis- 24. Jesus ansioered. He replied dom and love of his almighty Father not in a direct manner, but by asking w heaven, either with the indifference them a question of a similar charac
by what authority I do these he said unto them, Neither tell things.
I you by what authority I do 25 The baptism of John, these things. whence was it ? from heaven, 28 But what think ye? A or of men ? And they reasoned certain man had two sons: and with themselves, saying, If we he came to the first, and said, Son, shall say, From heaven; he will go work to-day in my vineyard. say unto us, Why did ye not 29 He answered and said, I then believe him ?
will not; but afterward he re26 But if we shall say, of pented, and went. men, we fear the people; for all 30 And he came to the sechold John as a prophet.
ond, and said likewise. And 27 And they answered Jesus, he answered and said, I go, sir, and said, We cannot tell. And and went not. ter; proposing, that if they would an- 6: 20. || We fear the people. The swer him, he would reply to their chief priests and other dist ished question, and intending, probably, men had great reason to fear the inthat the just and proper reply to his dignation of the people, if they had question would be the reply to theirs, ventured publicly to deny the divine and thus leading them to answer authority of John the Baptist. themselves.
27. IVe cannot tell; or, as it is in 25. The baptism of John. Under the original, we know not. Plainly, the term baptism, the Saviour here an insincere answer; an evading of meant to include the whole office of the question, for the purpose of avoidJohn, of which the administration of ing a conclusion which they would baptism was a very prominent part. dislike. 11 Neither tell 1
&c. The amount of the question was this: This remark either implied, that a Did John the Baptist, in calling the just and fair answer to his question people to repentance (Matt. 3 : 2), in (which, if they had obeyed the dicbaptizing those who professed repent. tates of their consciences, they could ance and promised a new life (Matt. not but have given) would have been 3:6-9), and in declaring Jesus of also an answer to their own question ; Nazareth to be the Messiah (John 1:or it showed, by bringing their in29—36), — did John the Baptist, in sincerity before their own eyes, that these proceedings, act by authority it would have answered no valuable from God, or by authority from man? purpose had he given a direct reply Did he have a divine commission, or to their inquiry. They had so often did he act without a divine commis- shown a cavilling, dishonest state of sion ? || From heaven; that is, from mind, that there was little encourageGod. || Why did ye not then believe ment to answer their inquiries. Jesus him? Though multitudes professed knew they had some ill design to acto follow the directions of John, yet complish. Compare Mark 11:27– the Pharisees and scribes, and other 33. Luke 20:1-8. distinguished men, declined obedience 28. A certain man.
Jesus now to his teaching. See Matt. 3:7–12. proceeded to speak a parable, having Luke 7: 29–35.
reference to those men who had just 26. All hold John as a prophet. been conversing with him, and to The term prophet here means a re- others in the nation of a similar charligious teacher with authority from acter. In this parable he brought to God. In that light was John regard- view their real character in the sight ed by the mass of the people. See of God. Luke 7:29. Matt. 3:5–6. Mark 30. I go, sir, and went not. The