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all the people of God under one head. Thus salvation has risen from his death, and good has sprung from evil.
Johno xii. 12—26. In the last section we found many who had arrived from the country at Jerusalem inquiring with much anxiety whether Jesus would come to the feast; wishing, no doubt, to see so extraordinary a person, and, as appears from the words that follow, to show him some public testimony of their gratitude for the extraordinary miracle he had performed in raising Lazarus from the dead. For, having heard that he liad arriver at Bethany, within two miles of Jerusalem, on his way. thither,
12. On the next day, much people that were come to the festival, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13. Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna, Blessed is the king of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord.
The word Hosanna is composed of two Hebrew words, which signify save now, which, being contracted together, were employed as a common acclamation to express the good wishes of the persons by whom it was used for the success of any one, and are thus to be understood as applied to Christ. By calling him king of Israel, they intimate their belief that he was the Messiah; and liy crying Hosanna, they express their wishes for his preservation and success in that character. The words of the multitude are bore rowed, with the exception of “ king of Israel," from Psalm cxviii. 25, which psalm it was usual to sing at
the passover; and this circumstance might suggest the application of them to Christ on the present occasion. Branches of palm trees it was usual to carry before princes and conquerors, in their public processions.
14. And Jesus, when he had found, or, “ having procured,” a young ass, sat thereon.
The other evangelists tell us that Jesus sent his disciples for the ass which he rode, but the English translation implies that he met it by chance upon the road; whereas the words in the original will admit of the latitude now used *. The evangelist Jolin, as well as Matthew, considers this action of Jesus as the fulfilment of a prophecy of Zechariah, ix. I, and therefore adds,
15. As it is written, Fear not daughter of Sion, meaning Jerusalem, which was built, in part, upon a hill of that name, behold thy king cometh, sitting upon an asses colt.
In this action of Jesus there was nothing mean or ridiculous, as some modern unbelievers have endeavoured to represent it; for this is the animal commonly used for riding in Eastern countries, being much larger than the animal of the same name in our own country. When this action took place, the disciples were not aware that it was the fulfilment of any prophecy; but when they came to understand the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, from his ascension into heaven, they concluded that this, among other prophecies, was applicable to him. The evangelist therefore adds,
16. These things understood not his disciples at the first : but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they,
• Macknight, Vol. ii. p. 464, Note.
or, “ called to mind,” that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.
17. The people, therefore, that was with him when he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.
This verse appears obscure in regard to its meaning, and unconnected with the rest of the narrative, in consequence of a little inaccuracy in the translation, and a slight corruption of the original text. The true reading may be thus rendered; “ Now the multitude that was with him testified that he called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead;" where the ëvangelist takes notice of another thing done by the multitude, besides crying Hosanna to Jesus, which it was very proper for him to notice; and that is, that they publicly declared that he had raised Lazarus from the dead, and assigned this as the reason of their acclamations and joy. This he tells us likewise was the cause of their coming to meet him.
18. For this cause the people, " the multitude,” also met him, for that they heard that he had done this miracle.
19. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the whole world is gone after him.
Such of the Jews as were of the Pharisaic sect be. gan now to be highly enraged and alarmed, to find that all the measures which they had einployed to prevent the multitude from following Jesus, and from becoming his disciples, appeared to be ineffectual. From this time, therefore, they resolved to hasten the
execution of the plan which they had formed for putting him to death."
20. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast, " at the festival.”.
These Greeks, so called because they spoke the Greek language, although inhabitants of Syria, or some of the neighbouring countries of Asia, were heathens, and came to Jerusalem at this time for the sake of accompanying Jews, who assembled there from all parts, to worship at the festival of the passover. Some learned men have indeed supposed that they were a sort of half proselytes to the Jewish religion, worshipping Jehovah, but not conforming to the rites of the Mosaic law. But the behaviour of this people, and the language of Jesus on the occasion, seem to imply that they were Gentiles and idolaters *
21. The same came therefore to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
They wished, it seems, to have access to a person of whose fame they had heard so much, and to have some conversation with him; but, as the Jews considered the heathens as their inferiors, and regarded intercourse with them as an act of condescension, they did not presume to speak to Jesus themselves, but desired one of his disciples to introduce them; herein imitating the modesty of the centurion, who, when he wanted the assistance of Jesus to heal his servant that was ill, did not come to him himself, but sent the elders of the Jews to make the request; adding, that neither thought he himself worthy to come unto him. The reason why these Greeks applied to Philip, rather than to any other of the apostles, was probably because, residing at Bethsaida in Galilee, near the bor
* Lardner's Works, Vol. xi. pp. 279-282.
ders of Syria, he might have some acquaintànce with them. Philip was not satisfied about the propriety of introducing them to Jesus, and therefore consults with one of his fellow disciples.
22. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, and again Andrew and Philip told Jesus.
Jesus was pleased with the request, as it should seem, and no doubt complied with it, although that circumstance is not mentioned. This application from Gentiles suggests to Jesus the pleasing prospect of their general conversion to Christianity; an event which he foresaw to be very near.
23. And Jesus answered them, that is, the two disciples, saying, The hour is come that the son of man should be glorified.
That is, the time has arrived for his being honoured, by being acknowledged as the Messiah by the Gentiles, although generally rejected by his own countrymen. He next alludes to the means by which this great event was to be accomplished, namely, his cieath, and, as connected with his death, bis resurrection, which was the grand fact that recommended the Christian religion both to Jews and Gentiles. This event and its consequences he compares to a grain of wheat, which, according to the philosophy of those times, must die in the ground before it can produce new corn. The truth is, however, that it is only the external part of the grain which decays and perishes by being put into the ground, while the internal preserves vegetative life, and even derives additional strength from the corrupt matter with which it is surrounded. This simile is used in order to reconcile his disciples to a very painful and offensive event, the death of their master. As if he had said, Be not ofVol. 2.]