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12. Triumphal Entry
1Jesus therefore six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. 2So they made him a supper there: and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him. 3Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, that should betray him, saith, 5Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred shillings, and given to the poor? 6Now this he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the bag took away what was put therein. 7Jesus therefore said, Suffer her to keep it against the day of my burying. 8For the poor ye have always with you; but me ye have not always. 9The common people therefore of the Jews learned that he was there: and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests took counsel that they might put Lazarus also to death; 11because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. 12On the morrow a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13took the branches of the palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. 14And Jesus, having found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, 15Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt. 16These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him. 17The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, bare witness. 18For this cause also the multitude went and met him, for that they heard that he had done this sign. 19The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Behold how ye prevail nothing: lo, the world is gone after him. 20Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast: 21these therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. 22Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: Andrew cometh, and Philip, and they tell Jesus. 23And Jesus answereth them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life loseth it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will the Father honor. 27Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour. But for this cause came I unto this hour. 28Father, glorify thy name. There came therefore a voice out of heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29The multitude therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it had thundered: others said, An angel hath spoken to him. 30Jesus answered and said, This voice hath not come for my sake, but for your sakes. 31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself. 33But this he said, signifying by what manner of death he should die. 34The multitude therefore answered him, We have heard out of the law that the Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? 35Jesus therefore said unto them, Yet a little while is the light among you. Walk while ye have the light, that darkness overtake you not: and he that walketh in the darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36While ye have the light, believe on the light, that ye may become sons of light. These things spake Jesus, and he departed and hid himself from them. 37But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they believed not on him: 38that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake,
Lord, who hath believed our report?
And to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
39For this cause they could not believe, for that Isaiah said again,
40He hath blinded their eyes, and he hardened their heart;
Lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart,
And should turn,
And I should heal them.
41These things said Isaiah, because he saw his glory; and he spake of him. 42Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43for they loved the glory that is of men more than the glory that is of God. 44And Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. 45And he that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me. 46I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness. 47And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day. 49For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50And I know that his commandment is life eternal: the things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath said unto me, so I speak.
The Cowardice of the Rulers.
42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Some honour was done to Christ by these rulers: for they believed on him, were convinced that he was sent of God, and received his doctrine as divine; but they did not do him honour enough, for they had not courage to own their faith in him. Many professed more kindness for Christ than really they had; these had more kindness for him than they were willing to profess. See here what a struggle was in these rulers between their convictions and their corruptions.
I. See the power of the word in the convictions that many of them were under, who did not wilfully shut their eyes against the light. They believed on him as Nicodemus, received him as a teacher come from God. Note, The truth of the gospel has perhaps a better interest in the consciences of men than we are aware of. Many cannot but approve of that in their hearts which yet outwardly they are shy of. Perhaps these chief rulers were true believers, though very weak, and their faith like smoking flax. Note, It may be, there are more good people than we think there are. Elijah thought he was left alone, when God had seven thousand faithful worshippers in Israel. Some are really better than they seem to be. Their faults are known, but their repentance is not; a man's goodness may be concealed by a culpable yet pardonable weakness, which he himself truly repents of. The kingdom of God comes not in all with a like observation; nor have all who are good the same faculty of appearing to be so.
II. See the power of the world in the smothering of these convictions. They believed in Christ, but because of the Pharisees, who had it in their power to do them a diskindness, they durst not confess him for fear of being excommunicated. Observe here, 1. Wherein they failed and were defective; They did not confess Christ. Note, There is cause to question the sincerity of that faith which is either afraid or ashamed to show itself; for those who believe with the heart ought to confess with the mouth, Rom. x. 9. 2. What they feared: being put out of the synagogue, which they thought would be a disgrace and damage to them; as if it would do them any harm to be expelled from a synagogue that had made itself a synagogue of Satan, and from which God was departing. 3. What was at the bottom of this fear: They loved the praise of men, chose it as a more valuable good, and pursued it as a more desirable end, than the praise of God; which was an implicit idolatry, like that (Rom. i. 25) of worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator. They set these two in the scale one against the other, and, having weighed them, they proceeded accordingly. (1.) They set the praise of men in one scale, and considered how good it was to give praise to men, and to pay a deference to the opinion of the Pharisees, and receive praise from men, to be commended by the chief priests and applauded by the people as good sons of the church, the Jewish church; and they would not confess Christ, lest they should thereby derogate from the reputation of the Pharisees, and forfeit their own, and thus hinder their own preferment. And, besides, the followers of Christ were put into an ill name, and were looked upon with contempt, which those who had been used to honour could not bear. Yet perhaps if they had known one another's minds they would have had more courage; but each one thought that if he should declare himself in favour of Christ he should stand alone, and have nobody to back him; whereas, if any one had had resolution to break the ice, he would have had more seconds than he thought of. (2.) They put the praise of God in the other scale. They were sensible that by confessing Christ they should both give praise to God, and have praise from God, that he would be pleased with them, and say, Well done; but, (3.) They gave the preference to the praise of men, and this turned the scale; sense prevailed above faith, and represented it as more desirable to stand right in the opinion of the Pharisees than to be accepted of God. Note, Love of the praise of men is a very great prejudice to the power and practice of religion and godliness. Many come short of the glory of God by having a regard to the applause of men, and a value for that. Love of the praise of men, as a by-end in that which is good, will make a man a hypocrite when religion is in fashion and credit is to be got by it; and love of the praise of men, as a base principle in that which is evil, will make a man an apostate when religion is in disgrace, and credit is to be lost for it, as here. See Rom. ii. 29.