Sermon 2196. Hosanna!
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, MARCH 22, 1891,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is He that comesin the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest" Matthew 2:19.
AFTER the miracle of the raising of Lazarus, a great fame went abroad concerning our Lord. He still rested at Bethany andthe people came up to the feast in great number-an easy walk from Jerusalem to Bethany-to see Jesus and to see Lazarus, whohad been raised from the dead. These people, on a certain day, formed a company and marched with Jesus towards Jerusalem.On the way our Lord sent two of His disciples to fetch a donkey and its colt-and upon this last He rode into the city. Anothercrowd, coming out of Jerusalem, met the company attending upon Jesus and, forming one great procession, the whole multitudemarched into the city escorting the Lord Jesus in humble state and paying Him honor as King in Zion. Upon no stately warhorse,but riding upon a colt, the foal of a donkey, the meek and lowly King entered the city of David attended by vast and enthusiasticcrowds who strewed the fronds of palms, the branches of trees and their own garments in the way along which He rode. Our Lordthus received a right royal and popular reception to the metropolis of His nation. This was a strange event, so very differentfrom anything else that happened to our Savior, that one wonders at it with great wonderment. That it is to be viewed as animportant event is clear, since every one of the four Evangelists takes pains to record it (see Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19 and John 12). Even of certain of the greater events of our Lord's life the Holy Spirit has not preserved us four accounts, but sinceHe has done so in this case, He thereby calls us to give the more earnest heed to it. Herein is a mine of teaching-let usdig into it.
Assuredly, this honor paid to our Lord was passing strange-a gleam of sunlight in a day of clouds, a glimpse of summer ina long and dreary winter! He that was, as a rule, "despised and rejected of men," was, for the moment, surrounded with theacclaim of the crowd. All men saluted Him that day with their Hosannas-and the whole city was moved. It was a gala day forthe disciples and a sort of coronation day for their Lord.
Why was the scene permitted? What was its meaning? The marvel is that nothing like it had occurred before, for our Lord hadhealed many sick folk and these and their friends must have felt favorably towards Him. He had fed thousands at a time withthe bread of this life and hosts had been cheered and comforted by His teaching. The common people heard Him gladly and wereready to gather around Him. Among an excitable people it was a wonder that they had not long ago taken Him by force and madeHim king. No one had yet appeared so like the Messiah of their Prophets-no one had so well deserved the people's gratitude.If they had, from the first, accepted Him as their monarch, and if they had watched every opportunity of doing Him homage,nobody would have been surprised. The marvel is that the popular enthusiasm had been repressed so long.
It was the Lord Himself who had suppressed the popular enthusiasm. With great skill He had succeeded in bridling a dangerousfanaticism. He "did not strive nor cry, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets"-and with such a cry, and such a voiceas He had-the marvel was that He preserved quiet and kept the nation from revolt. Had He withdrawn His hand, the people wouldhave been eager to assail their foreign rulers. Had this been the errand on which He came, He might at any moment have beensaluted as, "the King of the Jews." He, with a masterly art, repressed everything that would have made Him a popular hero.He uttered unpalatable Truth, or He stole away from the scene of His miracles, or He kept Himself in obscure villages-andthus He eluded their honors.
When He had fed the multitudes, He took ship and went to the other side of the lake that they might not follow Him. Many menlive for ambitious ends, but our Lord lived to escape the honors of men. The proud hunt after praise, but our Lord fled frompreferment, hid Himself from fame and shunned the throne which by descent belonged to Him. He often bade those whom He healedgo home and tell no man what He had done, for the dense throngs that gathered about Him rendered it difficult for Him to moveon His mission of mercy. "He went about doing good," and did not wait in any place to reap the laurels which His miracleshad earned Him. No wonder that, at last, the people felt forced to surround Him with their praises! The pent-up fires of gratitudeat last had vent! The covered flames of admiration leaped up, at last, and cast a brilliant light over the old city! Men'shearts had been somewhat worse than diabolical if they had not felt a grateful enthusiasm for so grand a benefactor. No onebefore had ever so greatly blessed Judea-thousands of voices felt it joy to cry, "Hosanna," before such a One!
It came at last, you see-I have read you the story in John and in Matthew. They saluted Him with their shouts of loyal welcome.But there was little in the acclamation when it did come. There was great shouting for the while, abundant strewing of branchesand lining of the road with garments-but there was little else. Remember what happened less than a week afterwards? If notthe same individuals, yet people of the same city cried, "Crucify Him, crucify Him." The Hosannas may be very loud, but theywill not be long. "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord" sounds very sweet, but how much more vehement will bethe cry, "Let Him be crucified"? Everything which comes to Jesus and His cause by popular acclamation requires to be dulyweighed-and when weighed it will be found wanting. "Vox populi, vox Dei," they used to say, but the saying is false-the voiceof the people may seem to be the voice of God when they shout, "Hosanna in the highest"-but whose voice is it when they yellout, "Crucify Him, crucify Him"?
"Surely men of low degree are vanity and men of high degree are a lie." So little value did our Lord place on popular applausethat He repressed it! And when it did burst forth, so little did it elevate His spirit that we find Him in the midst of it,gazing upon the city with tears in His eyes. While others were glad, He was weeping for the woes which His prophetic eye foresaw!The throng was carried away by the present moment and the enthusiasm of the hour, but His heart was anticipating that dreadfulday when they would find His blood upon them and upon their children-and the Romans would utterly destroy their city and quenchthe light of Zion in rivers of blood! It may be well that an enthusiastic admiration of religion should be professed by themultitude, but it is no more stable than smoke! It may seem good that the Christian minister should be popular, but popularityis lighter than vanity! Once the Savior rides in state as a King, but soon He walks down those very streets bearing His Crosslike a criminal! How soon is the public voice purchased for evil! What dependence can be placed on the clamor of the streets?
We, however, have the story placed before us four times by the Evangelists and, therefore, let us now give it our attentiveconsideration. May the good Spirit impart instruction to us by this strange stir and singular scene! May some Divine impulsecome to us out of this riding of our lowly King into Jerusalem!
First, I shall ask you to think of Christ triumphant in Jerusalem. Secondly, I shall bid you see herein Christ glorified inHis Church. And then, thirdly, we will think of Christ entering into the heart. Under these three divisions we may arrangeour thoughts and, God helping us, we may meditate to profit.
I. First, I ask you to view CHRIST TRIUMPHANT IN JERUSALEM. Why this procession? Why these shouts of
homage? Our Lord always had a reason, and an excellent one, for all that He arranged or permitted. What die He mean by this?How shall we interpret the scene?
I think it was, first, that He might most openly declare Himself. He had frequently avowed His mission in plain speech. Hehad told them who He was and why He came, but they would not hear, so that they dared to say to Him, "If you are the Christ,tell us plainly." He had plainly told them times without number. Now He will assure them still more positively of His Kingdomby openly riding into the city of Jerusalem in state. Now shall they see that He claims to be the Messiah, sent of God, ofwhom the Prophet said, "Say you to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes." Out of the mouths of babes and sucklingsshall His fame be proclaimed-multitudes of people shall acknowledge with loud voices that, "He comes in the name of the Lord"-untilthe envious Pharisees shall be driven to ask, "Do you hear what these say?"
You will remember that our Lord rode into Jerusalem as a King, but He was also brought there as the Lamb of God's Passover,whose blood must save the people. It was not meet that the Lamb of God should go to the altar without
observation. It was not fit that He who takes away the sin of the world should be led to the Temple unobserved. The day wasnear when He was to be offered up and all eyes were called to look on Him and know who and what He was. Therefore He permittedthis great gathering and this honorable attention to Himself that He might say to Israel, by deeds as well as by words, "Iam He that should come. I am He who of old had said, Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delightto do Your will, O My God." Thus He, beyond all question, manifested Himself to the people. When they crucified Him, the rulersknew what He professed to be. Albeit many of them were in ignorance as to the truthfulness of His claims, yet they knew rightwell that they were crucifying One who professed to be the Lord of Glory-One who was acknowledged to be the Son of David-Onewho had publicly avowed Himself to be King in Zion. I think this was one reason for the joyous entry into the city of God.
Next, it was our Lord's public claiming of authority over Israel. He was the Son of David and, therefore, He was, by naturalright, the King of the Jews. If He had taken possession of His own, He would have been sitting on the throne of the chosendynasty of David by right of birth. He was, moreover, as the Messiah and Christ, the King of His people, Israel. ConcerningHim it had been said by the Prophet, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your Kingcomes unto you: He is just and having salvation; lowly and riding upon a donkey, and upon a colt the foal of a donkey." OurLord Jesus literally came to Zion in this manner. As King, He rode to His capital and entered His palace. In His priestlyroyalty, the Son of God went to His Father's House, to the Temple of sacrifice and sovereignty.
Among the tribes of Israel He is seen to be "One chosen out of the people," whom the Lord had given to be a Leader and Commanderfor the people. Although they might afterwards choose Barabbas and cry that they had no king but Caesar, yet Jesus was theirKing, as Pilate reminded them, when he said, "Shall I crucify your king?"-and as His Cross declared, when it bore the legalinscription, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews." Before His trial and His condemnation, He had put in a public claim tothe rights and prerogatives of Zion's King, whom God has set upon His holy hill. Would to God all my Hearers fully recognizedour Lord's Kingdom and yielded to His sway! Oh, that you would bow before Him and put your trust in Him! Part of His intentin riding through Jerusalem was that we, also, who dwell in the isles of the sea might know Him and reverence Him as Kingof Kings and Lord of Lords. Let each one cry in His inmost soul-
"Great King of Grace, my heart subdue, I would be led in triumph, too. A willing captive to my Lord, To sing the victoriesof His Word."
Possibly our Savior intended, also, by this singular procession, to let His enemies know His real strength among the people.If He could gather so great a crowd of adherents without any summons or prearrangement, surely the whole population must havebeen, to a large degree, in His favor. If such an enthusiastic reception was spontaneously given Him, how many would havegathered if a plan had been arranged? Had He agreed to lead them against the Romans, thousands of fanatics would have followedHis banner! If He had designed to make Himself a king and had permitted His servants to fight, the old fierce courage of theJewish race would have burned like a flame of fire and His enemies would have fled before Him. He came not with war in Hisheart, but He would let the foeman see the hilt of the sword which He might have drawn from its sheath-He would let scribeand Pharisee bite their lips while they said, "Perceive you how you prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after Him."
If the Savior had willed to use the baser methods that men, nowadays, would freely employ, by asking the world's alliance,He might have made Himself a King at once. Had He blended politics with religion and yielded something to general prejudice,He might at once have set up a worldly kingdom! But no, He knew no selfish ambition-His kingdom was not of this world! Hecame not that He might be honored, here, but that He might be put to shame for our redemption! The diadem to which He aspiredwas a crown of thorns-yet He lets His adversaries see that He was not lowly because He was weak, nor gentle because He wasfeeble! They might, if they would, have seen by that day in Jerusalem, the greatness of the self-denial which abstained fromearthly honors.
Nor have I exhausted the Savior's reasons. We are told by the Evangelist that He did this that it might be fulfilled whichwas spoken by the Prophet. I have just now quoted the text from Zechariah 9:9-our Lord was always careful and earnest to fulfill each Prophecy of Holy Scripture. He held the Inspired Word in high esteemand was careful of each letter of it. You never hear a word from Him derogatory of the Inspiration, authority, accuracy, orInfallibility of the Law
and the Prophets! He fulfils the Word of the Lord even to its jots and tittles. He directed His life by that old chart inwhich the way of the Messiah was laid down long before He came to earth! Oh, for the same reverence of Scripture among preachersnowadays! God forbid that we should be lowering men's ideas of Inspiration, as some are fond of doing. May we value everyWord which came from the Lord in old time! May we willingly change the course of our thought and teaching rather than neglecta single Word of Inspiration! When we see what the will of the Lord is, let us follow it implicitly. Obedience to the ruleof Scripture was the way of the Head-it should also be the way of the members. If the King, Himself, is careful in His walktowards the Word of God, surely we ought to be!
I also think that as our Lord thus looked back and fulfilled Scripture, He was looking forward to give us a prophetic typeof the future. Beloved, our Lord will not always be rejected. There are days of triumph for Him. "The stone which the buildersrefused is become the head stone of the corner." This is the age of iron, but there comes a golden age of love and light.We look for His appearing and His reign-His reign of peace and joy! There will come a day when the kingdoms of this worldshall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. He shall sit upon the Throne of His father, David, and of His Kingdomthere shall be no end. The Lord shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah! Has not Jehovah said to Him, "Ask of Me, and I shallgive You the heathen for Your inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession"? Yes, there will comea day when He that was the reproach of men shall be the Glory of His people! Kings shall bow down before Him. All generationsshall call Him blessed.
When I see that joyful procession going up the hill to Zion and mark how they that went before, joined with those who followedafter, while the King Himself rode in the center, I seem to see a rehearsal of the long succession of the faithful in allages. The Prophets have gone before Him-listen to their loud Hosannas! We come behind Him, even we upon whom the ends of theearth have come, and we have our glad Hosannas, too! Here Patriarchs join with Apostles, Prophets are one with martyrs, andpriests keep rank with pastors and deacons-all with one voice lifting up the same note, "Hosanna! Blessed is He that comesin the name of the Lord." We see, then, in the simple state of our Lord in the streets of Jerusalem, a vision of the longglories which await Him in the New Jerusalem where He shall sit upon His Throne- and His enemies shall be made His footstool!
One thing more I cannot help mentioning. Surely our Lord allowed the populace a vent for their enthusiasm with the desireto delight His friends. Do you not think that the sympathetic Jesus thought it worth while to give His little band of followerswhat our forefathers would have called, "a gaudy day"-a high day-a holiday? These had been with Him in His humiliation andHe would give them a taste of His Glory. They had seen Him despised and rejected of men-and He relieved the monotony of Hishumiliation with a glimpse of His Glory. For once they should be allowed to cast their garments under His feet and strew fragrantbranches on His path. For once their zeal should have license to climb the trees and break down the boughs to strew His pathway.Nothing on that day filled their ears but the praises of their beloved Lord and honored Master! They would soon enough havesorrow when they would see Him seized in the garden and taken away bound to Caiaphas and Pilate to be condemned to die. Hewould give them a breathing space, an interval of pleasure wherein their spirits should no longer drag on earth, but riseon wings, into a lofty joy!
Our Lord loves His people to be glad. He kept His tears to Himself as He wept over Jerusalem, but the gladness He scatteredall around, so that even the boys and girls in the streets of Jerusalem made the Temple courts to ring with their merry feetand gladsome songs. Hear how they clap their hands with delight! "Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!" You hear it everywhere and theLord smiles as He sees the joy which pours in floods around Him. The Lord loves to cast into our cup, some drops of Heaven'sown honey until the bitterness of grief is sweetened and His followers are made happy by their joy in Himself. "Let the childrenof Zion be joyful in their King." I wish I could express myself in tones more clear and musical, but though bodily weaknesscompels me to be measured in my utterance, my soul does magnify the Lord and my spirit does rejoice in God my Savior. Maythe Lord Himself cast into your hearts the burning coals of joyful love to Him- and so may your souls take fire and blazealoft with vehement flames of delight! May this day be to your spirits a day of palms and Psalms, of prayers and praises,of Hallelujahs and Hosannas! Let us sing all day, as we sung in our opening hymn-
"Hosanna to the anointed King, To David's holy Son! Help us, O Lord! Descend and bring Salvation from Your Throne.
Blest be the Lord who comes to men
With messages of Grace!
Who comes in God, His Father's name,
To save our sinful race.
Hosanna in the highest strains
The Church on earth can raise;
The highest heavens, in which He reigns,
Shall give Him nobler praise!"
II. Secondly, my text is, to my mind, a parable of CHRIST GLORIFIED IN HIS CHURCH. There are choice days when the shout ofa King is heard in our assemblies. We have not yet fallen to a dull monotony of barrenness-we have hills like those of Carmel.The low water mark of lukewarmness is covered deep beneath flood tides of holy exultation. I am going to speak about thesehallowed seasons.
I think that such days come to the Church of God after special miracles of Grace have been worked. Lazarus is raised fromthe dead and when the people see the greatness of the Prophet of Nazareth, they begin to commend and extol Him-and this leadson to holy excitement! If the Lord will be pleased to work remarkable conversions among us, we shall have grand times! Ifspecial instances of His gracious power are seen by us, we will bear our palms of victory before Him and many hearts willenquire, "Who is this?" Our hearts shall rejoice as with the joy of harvest when we see the Lord saving great sinners! Yes,we will shout as victors who divide the spoil! Do you not think that when Saul of Tarsus was converted and the Churches hadrest, that they also had great exultation in their King? Everywhere it must have been spoken of that fierce Pharisee who hadbecome a bold preacher of the faith which once he sought to destroy! What joy there is in saintly hearts when ringleadersin sin become champions for the Truth of God! Oh that our God would work such transformations in this city! Pray, my Brothersand Sisters, that the Lord would do the same for us-and for all His Churches just now. Oh, for displays of His power to quickenthe dead! Oh, for Lazarus to be raised and to live among us as a wonder of Divine Grace whom neighbors would come to see!O Lord, give us this signal of delight! Let us see Your arm made bare in the eyes of all the people!
Next, it was a time of testimony, for those who had been present and had seen Lazarus raised from the dead, bore witness.One stepped forward and said, "With these eyes I saw Lazarus come forth from the tomb of rock." "As for me," said another,"I saw him buried and I helped to carry him to the grave. But I saw him come back to the house alive." "Yes," said a third,"I rolled away the stone and as I stood watching for the result, I saw the dead man come forth alive-and I helped to loosenhis grave clothes." All these bore witness to what they had seen. You cannot tell what a joyful effect it produces and whatenthusiasm is stirred when one after another bears personal witness. Lord, open men's mouths! Lord, make the quiet ones totell forth Your praise! Your silent tongues deprive us of our joy. Your cowardly reticence robs Christ of His Glory and theChurch of its increase. If God has done anything for you, or you have seen Him do anything for others, bear testimony to it!It is the Lord's due and your duty, that you should speak to the glory of Christ Jesus. When great wonders have been doneand those who saw them are willing to bear their testimony, then we may look for red-letter days wherein gladness and praiseshall be in the ascendant.
It was a good sign, too, of joy to come, that the enemies were now raging worse than ever. They sought to kill both Jesusand Lazarus. If the devil never roars, the Church will never sing! God is not doing much if the devil is not awake and busy.Depend upon it, that a working Christ makes a raging devil! When you hear ill reports, cruel speeches, threats, taunts andthe like, believe that the Lord is among His people and is working gloriously. We look upon the "many adversaries" as oneof the tokens that a great door and effectual is set before us. When we hear thunder, we look for rain. Wrath in the lowestHell is a prognostic of Hosanna in the highest Heaven!
It is also a cheering sign when there is a general eagerness among the people concerning our Lord. When the disciples gatheraround their Master and are prompt to do His bidding, then good times are come. When all agree, it is also well. When theythat go before, and they that follow after are all of the same mind, then is it a day of joy. When gray heads grow young andyoung heads grow wise, it is a token for good. When the aged lift up their eyes to Heaven and say, "God, even our own God,shall bless us," things look well. When our matrons and our sires grow hopefully confident and say, "The Lord has blessedus in days gone by and He is going to bless us yet again," then the weather glass points to "Set fair." When the younger sort,that follow after, who have been converted but lately, burn with a holy zeal and cry,
"We will give the Lord no rest until He blesses us," then the sun of the Church is shining high up in the sky. When we areall ready, each man, each woman, ready to take our share in the harvesting, then will the sheaves be garnered! It is cheeringwhen the congregation shares the excitement with the Church and its ministers-and the prospect of a Divine blessing is beforethe mind of all who seek better things. Surely, the time to favor Zion, yes, the set time has come, when her King is longedfor and every heart beats high with love for Him!
The case is clear when all this is attended with an abounding generosity. It is well when disciples are not only willing tofetch another man's colt, but are willing to lay their own garments on it-when they will not only gather palm fronds to strewthe path, but will take off their own coats to carpet the way of the King! When everybody does something, or gives something,or, at any rate, joins in the hearty Hosannas, then is the King come into our midst! Our King is not where hearts are miserlyand souls are selfish, but one token of His Presence is that His people offer willingly unto the Lord. At such times Believersfeel that they are not their own, but are bought with a price-and things which once looked like sacrifices too great to beexpected of them are cheerfully presented as sacrifices of joy.
Beloved, we must not forget that it is a token of God's having come to His Church and of His having given her a joyful daywhen the children share in it. Luther was greatly encouraged when he found that the children met together for prayer. He said,"God will hear them. The devil himself cannot defeat us now that the children begin to pray." It is very beautiful to readMr. Whitefield's remarks about his sermons at Moorfields and elsewhere in London, when mud and stones were cast at him andyet a group of children always surrounded his pulpit. And though some of them were hurt, yet he noticed how bravely they stoodby him through the service. He thought it a token for good that children drank in his words. When God moves the children toearnestness, He will soon move their fathers and mothers! When boys and girls meet to praise God, do not despise their littlemeetings, nor say, "It is only a parcel of children." The children are, in God's esteem, the most precious portion of therace! He sets high store by His little ones and He has set a special curse upon those who offend one of the little ones thatbelieve in Him. Jesus, Master, come, we pray You! Come in Your lowly pomp, in all Your gentleness and Grace, and then willthe children of these modern days sing loud Hosannas to Your name, like those in Your Temple of old.
I want you to notice in our text that our Savior was received with the shout of Hosanna! The best interpretation I can giveis-"Save, oh, save! Save, oh, save!" Different nations have different ways of expressing their good will to their monarchs.A Roman would have shouted, "Io triumphe!" We sing, "God save our gracious Queen." The Persians said, "O King, live forever."The Jews cried, "Hosanna!" "Save," or, "God save the King!" The French have their "Vivas," by which they mean, "Long livethe man." Hosanna is tantamount to all these. It is a shout of homage, welcome and loyalty. It wishes wealth, health and honorto the king. In the Saxon we say, "Hurrah." In Hebrew, "Hosanna." That mighty shout startled all the streets of the old city-"Hosanna,Hosanna, the King is come! Save Him, O Lord! Save us through Him! Long live the King!" While it was a shout of homage, itwas also a prayer to the King. "Save, Lord; save us, O King! O King, born to conquer and to save, deliver us!" It was, moreover,a prayer for Him-"God save the King, God bless and prosper His Majesty. "Prayer also shall be made for Him continually; anddaily shall He be praised." We never cease to pray, "Your Kingdom come; Your will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven." Letus then cry, Hosanna, making it at once a loyal shout! A prayer to our King and a prayer for Him. All these things appearin the benediction which follows, "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest."
Would it be amiss if we were to indulge in a hearty shout for our King? May we never grow enthusiastic? May we never overleapthe bounds of prim propriety? Shall we never cry Hallelujah! Shall no Hosannas burst from our lips? Surely, if our King willcome into the midst of His Church, again, and end these black days of doubt, we must and will shout, or else the very stoneswill cry out! Yes, O Lord Jesus, You shall have our Vivas: we will shout, "Long live the
"All hail the po wer of Jesus 'name! Let angels prostrate fall."
Nor will we cease to pray to You! Some of you that have not yet been saved by Him will, I trust, say, "Save me, Lord! O Jesus,save me!" You will not disturb but delight the present meeting if you will in your hearts cry, "Lord, save me!" Remember thecry of two blind beggars on this very journey of our Lord-and how He opened their eyes when they cried, "Son of David, havemercy on us!"
Will we not also put up prayer for our Lord this morning? Will not each one in his pew now breathe a petition to God, saying,"Father, glorify Your Son"? You have said that the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands-make it so. O Jehovah,You are well pleased with Jesus; show Your good pleasure towards Him by giving Him to conquer ten thousand times ten thousandhearts! Let a nation be born in a day. May He reign forever and ever! Hosanna! Hosanna!
III. I have only a little time for my third point, and yet it is of great importance-CHRIST RECEIVED IN THE HEART. His triumphantride into Jerusalem was a type of His entering the renewed heart. I pray that you who have never received Him may listen andmay, by the listening, be led to pray for His coming into your heart.
On that day, when Christ came up from Bethany, the city gates were wide open. We read nothing about them because they werenot in the way-there were no shut gates to Him. He rode into Jerusalem without let or hindrance. Are your gates wide openthis morning? If not, I would say, "Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be you lift up, you everlasting doors: and the Kingof Glory shall come in." He is willing to abide in your hearts and go no more out forever-be sure that your gates are setwide before Him! May the Holy Spirit open your hearts! Do not tolerate the thought of shutting out your Lord. Never! Openwide the portals of your soul. Yes, go forth by willing obedience and say, "Come in, my Lord! Come in!"
He was cheerfully received as King. Our Lord did not come to subdue the citizens at the point of the sword. He did not comewith force of arms to coerce the city. You must receive Jesus willingly, or not at all. He comes to reign, but He comes inthe gentleness of love. He rides on no high-mettled charger. He lays His hand on no sharp sword which clatters at His side.About Him are no men-at-arms. Behind Him come no heavy guns, dragged along the trembling streets. Jesus was willingly received-everyoneexultingly welcomed Him. Will you so receive Jesus? Has He made you willing in the day of His power? You may well salute Himand welcome Him to your heart and your home, for you have never before received so blessed a guest! Open wide the gates andentreat Him to come in, for He will bring Heaven with Him. He never uses force. He conquers only by love. The Holy Spiritworks upon the will of man, but He still leaves it a will, so that we freely choose our Lord and delight in Him as our King!
Remember, Beloved, the coming of Christ is with gentleness and love. Riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey, is a very differentthing from riding the fiery warhorse. I like not men who seem as if they were converted, to hate everybody else. It is notChrist who has come unto you if you have grown prouder, harder, more passionate than ever. No, the Christ who enters to saveis, Himself, so meek and lowly of heart that those who take His yoke upon them learn of Him-and they become meek and lowly,too. Admit the lowly Christ and be of one mind with Him. He will kill your bad temper, conquer your malice and cast out yourpride! Come and be the willing subject of a King who rides forth in lowliest guise.
His entrance caused great joy. No man's heart was made heavy that day. The face of the King frowned on none. Other kings havefound it necessary to force their way through crowds of rebels to their capital and wade through slaughter to a throne-butnone was found to hurt or devour in all the holy mountain when Jesus came to Zion! Women have been ravished, men have beenmurdered-even babes have been massacred when monarchs have entered cities-but when our King comes, boughs and palm fronds,shouts and songs are the setting of a very different scene! Instead of shrieks and groans, we hear the ringing music of childrenwith their glad Hosannas! Oh, will you not admit the Lord Jesus? Who will refuse an entrance to One who brings with Him joyand peace?-
"He shall come down like showers Upon the fruitful earth! Love, joy, and hope, like flowers, Spring in His path to birth!"
When He comes, men feel a burning enthusiasm for Him. It should not be necessary that I should plead for His admission. Surelyyou should run down the hill to meet Him and then come back, following after Him with glad Hosannas! Lord Jesus, we cannotbe cold in Your Presence! Our souls burn as with coals of juniper when we remember You!
But I must tell you one thing which I am sure will not dampen your ardor if you are in a right state. If Jesus comes intoyour souls He will come as a Reformer. He will make your heart a Temple and out of it He will drive the buyers and the sellers-andall else that would pollute the soul. With His scourge of small cords, He will whip out many a naughty thing from the heartwhich He makes His Temple. Yes, let the thieves go! If your heart has been made a den of thieves by evil desires, should notthese be chased out without mercy? So let it be. Welcome, You great Refiner! Gladly would we lose our dross.
I feel so glad to have to add that when He comes into your heart He will heal you. Did I not note it to you when we were readingthe 14th verse-"The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple; and He healed them." Dear Heart, if Jesus comes to you,all that is blind and lame about you shall be healed! That was a singular healing, was it not? Many of that select companycame on crutches and some with legs doubled up, or malformed. Blind men were there, with useless eyeballs or empty socketswhere eyes should have been. Into this limping, groping circle came the King of Glory and He did not repel them, but He healedthem! Admit the Lord into your heart and the limping of your unbelief will be exchanged for the leaps of faith! Then shallyou see those things to which your heart has long been blind. Let Him in! Let Him in! Believe on Him! Trust Him and let Himinto your heart-and you shall find Him the Physician of your soul.
Last of all, you that have not yet received Him, we want you to join with the rest of us in honoring Him and glorifying Himas He comes into your heart. "Oh!" says one, "if He will only come into my heart, I will, indeed, praise Him." Have your hosannasready! Receive the Lord Jesus Christ with all honors. Mention His name with rejoicing! Have your hurrah ready to welcome theKing, the Conqueror, as He enters your soul. Be jubilant! Be enthusiastic! Rejoice that such a One as He should come to dwellwith such a one as you-and bring such blessing with Him. Praise Him! Praise Him! Extol Him in the highest heavens! Then prayto Him. "Save, Lord! Save, oh, save!" Then pray for others to Him in the same words, "Hosanna; save, Lord, save!"
And when you have done with Hosannas and prayers, conclude, as the Psalmist did, in that famous 118th Psalm, when he cried,"Bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar." Ask God of His love, today, to bind you to Christ, THEAltar, with one of those wreaths of love and ribbons of triumphant Grace which you now throw at His feet. Oh, for a twistedgarland of mercies, the roses of gladness and the lilies of delight to bind our heart to Christ forever! These cords of lovemay seem weak, but in very deed they hold us faster than chains of steel. Nothing holds a man like the silken cord of gratitude!When you know how Jesus loves you-when you see how He died for you-then you are drawn to love Him in return and are held toserve Him in life, in death and to eternity!
Thus do we celebrate our Lord's triumphant entrance into the City of Mansoul, and we feel that we could prolong the celebrationthroughout the whole of our lives-
"Yes, we will praise You, dearest Lord, Our souls are all on flame, Hosanna round the spacious earth To Your adored name."