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10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13He said to them, “It is written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;

but you are making it a den of robbers.”

14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies

you have prepared praise for yourself’?”

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Christ's Entrance into Jerusalem.

1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,   2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.   3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.   4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,   5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.   6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,   7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.   8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.   9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.   10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?   11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

All the four evangelists take notice of this passage of Christ's riding in triumph into Jerusalem, five days before his death. The passover was on the fourteenth day of the month, and this was the tenth; on which day the law appointed that the paschal lamb should be taken up (Exod. xii. 3), and set apart for that service; on that day therefore Christ our Passover, who was to be sacrificed for us, was publicly showed. So that this was the prelude to his passion. He had lodged at Bethany, a village not far from Jerusalem, for some time; at a supper there the night before Mary had anointed his feet, John xii. 3. But, as usual with ambassadors, he deferred his public entry till some time after his arrival. Our Lord Jesus travelled much, and his custom was to travel on foot from Galilee to Jerusalem, some scores of miles, which was both humbling and toilsome; many a dirty weary step he had when he went about doing good. How ill does it become Christians to be inordinately solicitous about their own ease and state, when their Master had so little of either! Yet once in his life he rode in triumph; and it was now when he went into Jerusalem, to suffer and die, as if that were the pleasure and preferment he courted; and then he thought himself begin to look great.

Now here we have,

I. The provision that was made for this solemnity; and it was very poor and ordinary, and such as bespoke his kingdom to be not of this world. Here were no heralds at arms provided, no trumpet sounded before him, no chariots of state, no liveries; such things as these were not agreeable to his present state of humiliation, but will be far outdone at his second coming, to which his magnificent appearance is reserved, when the last trumpet shall sound, the glorious angels shall be his heralds and attendants, and the clouds his chariots. But in this public appearance,

1. The preparation was sudden and offhand. For his glory in the other world, and ours with him, preparation was made before the foundation of the world, for that was the glory his heart was upon; his glory in this world he was dead to, and therefore, though he had it in prospect, did not forecast for it, but took what came next. They were come to Bethphage, which was the suburb of Jerusalem, and was accounted (say the Jewish doctors) in all things, as Jerusalem, a long scattering street that lay toward the mount of Olives; when he entered upon that, he sent two of his disciples, some think Peter and John, to fetch him an ass, for he had none ready for him.

2. It was very mean. He sent only for an ass and her colt, v. 2. Asses were much used in that country for travel; horses were kept only by great men, and for war. Christ could have summoned a cherub to carry him (Ps. xviii. 10); but though by his name Jah, which speaks him God, he rides upon the heavens, yet now by his name Jesus, Immanuel, God with us, in his state of humiliation, he rides upon an ass. Yet some think that he had herein an eye to the custom in Israel for the judges to ride upon white asses (Judg. v. 10), and their sons on ass-colts, Judg. xii. 14. And Christ would thus enter, not as a Conqueror, but as the Judge of Israel, who for judgment came into this world.

3. It was not his own, but borrowed. Though he had not a house of his own, yet, one would think, like some wayfaring men that live upon their friends, he might have had an ass of his own, to carry him about; but for our sakes he became in all respects poor, 2 Cor. viii. 9. It is commonly said, "They that live on borrowing, live on sorrowing;" in this therefore, as in other things, Christ was a man of sorrows—that he had nothing of this world's goods but what was given him or lent him.

The disciples who were sent to borrow this ass are directed to say, The Lord has need of him. Those that are in need, must not be ashamed to own their need, nor say, as the unjust steward, To beg I am ashamed, Luke xvi. 3. On the other hand, none ought to impose upon the kindness of their friends, by going to beg or borrow when they have not need. In the borrowing of this ass,

(1.) We have an instance of Christ's knowledge. Though the thing was altogether contingent, yet Christ could tell his disciples where they should find an ass tied, and a colt with her. His omniscience extends itself to the meanest of his creatures; asses and their colts, and their being bound or loosed. Doth God take care for oxen? (1 Cor. ix. 9.) No doubt he doth, and would not see Balaam's ass abused. He knows all the creatures, so as to make them serve his own purpose.

(2.) We have an instance of his power over the spirits of men. The hearts of the meanest subjects, as well as of kings, are in the hand of the Lord. Christ asserts his right to use the ass, in bidding them bring it to him; the fulness of the earth is the Lord Christ's; but he foresees some hindrance which disciples might meet with in this service; they must not take them clam et secreto—privily, but in the sight of the owner, much less vi et armis—with force and arms, but with the consent of the owner, which he undertakes they shall have; If any man say aught to you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of him. Note, What Christ sets us to do, he will bear us out in the doing of, and furnish us with answers to the objections we may be assaulted with, and make them prevalent; as here, Straightway he will send them. Christ, in commanding the ass into his service, showed that he is Lord of hosts; and, in inclining the owner to send him without further security, showed that he is the God of the spirits of all flesh, and can bow men's hearts.

(3.) We have an example of justice and honesty, in not using the ass, though for so small a piece of service as riding the length of a street or two, without the owner's consent. As some read the latter clause, it gives us a further rule of justice; "You shall say the Lord hath need of them, and he" (that is, the Lord) "will presently send them back, and take care that they be safely delivered to the owner, as soon as he has done with them." Note, What we borrow we must restore in due time and in good order; for the wicked borrows and pays not again. Care must be taken of borrowed goods, that they be not damaged. Alas, Master, for it was borrowed!

II. The prediction that was fulfilled in this, v. 4, 5. Our Lord Jesus, in all that he did and suffered, had very much his eye upon this, That the scriptures might be fulfilled. As the prophets looked forward to him (to him they all bare witness), so he looked upon them, that all things which were written of the Messiah, might be punctually accomplished in him. This particularly which was written of him, Zech. ix. 9, where it ushers in a large prediction of the kingdom of the Messiah, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh, must be accomplished. Now observe here,

1. How the coming of Christ is foretold; Tell ye the daughter of Sion, the church, the holy mountain, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee. Note, (1.) Jesus Christ is the church's King, one of our brethren like unto us, according to the law of the kingdom, Deut. xvii. 15. He is appointed King over the church, Ps. ii. 6. He is accepted King by the church; the daughter of Sion swears allegiance to him, Hos. i. 11. (2.) Christ, the King of his church, came to his church, even in this lower world; he comes to thee, to rule thee, to rule in thee, to rule for thee; he is Head over all things to the church. He came to Sion (Rom. xi. 26), that out of Sion the law might go forth; for the church and its interests were all in all with the Redeemer. (3.) Notice was given to the church beforehand of the coming of her King; Tell the daughter of Sion. Note, Christ will have his coming looked for, and waited for, and his subjects big with expectation of it; Tell the daughters of Sion, that they may go forth, and behold King Solomon, Cant. iii. 11. Notices of Christ's coming are usually ushered in with a Behold! A note commanding both attention and admiration; Behold thy King cometh; behold, and wonder at him, behold, and welcome him. Here is a royal progress truly admirable. Pilate, like Caiaphas, said he knew not what, in that great word (John xix. 14), Behold your King.

2. How his coming is described. When a king comes, something great and magnificent is expected, especially when he comes to take possession of his kingdom. The King, the Lord of hosts, was seen upon a throne, high and lifted up (Isa. vi. 1); but there is nothing of that here; Behold, he cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass. When Christ would appear in his glory, it is in his meekness, not in his majesty.

(1.) His temper is very mild. He comes not in wrath to take vengeance, but in mercy to work salvation. He is meek to suffer the greatest injuries and indignities for Sion's cause, meek to bear with the follies and unkindness of Sion's own children. He is easy of access, easy to be entreated. He is meek not only as a Teacher, but as a Ruler; he rules by love. His government is mild and gentle, and his laws not written in the blood of his subjects, but in his own. His yoke is easy.

(2.) As an evidence of this, his appearance is very mean, sitting upon an ass, as creature made not for state, but service, not for battles, but for burthens; slow in its motions, but sure, and safe, and constant. The foretelling of this so long before, and the care taken that it should be exactly fulfilled, intimate it to have a peculiar significancy, for the encouragement of poor souls to apply themselves to Christ. Sion's King comes riding, not on a prancing horse, which the timorous petitioner dares not come near, or a running horse, which the slow-footed petitioner cannot keep pace with, but on a quiet ass, that the poorest of his subjects may not be discouraged in their access to him. Mention is made in the prophecy of a colt, the foal of an ass; and therefore Christ sent for the colt with the ass, that the scripture might be fulfilled.

III. The procession itself, which was answerable to the preparation, both being destitute of worldly pomp, and yet both accompanied with a spiritual power.

Observe, 1. His equipage; The disciples did as Jesus commanded them (v. 6); they went to fetch the ass and the colt, not doubting but to find them, and to find the owner willing to lend them. Note, Christ's commands must not be disputed, but obeyed; and those that sincerely obey them, shall not be balked or baffled in it; They brought the ass and the colt. The meanness and contemptibleness of the beast Christ rode on, might have been made up with the richness of the trappings; but those were, like all the rest, such as came next to hand; they had not so much as a saddle for the ass, but the disciples threw some of their clothes upon it, and that must serve for want of better accommodations. Note, We ought not to be nice or curious, or to affect exactness, in outward conveniences. A holy indifference or neglect well becomes us in these things: it will evidence that our heart is not upon them, and that we have learned the apostle's rule (Rom. xii. 16, margin), to be content with mean things. Any thing will serve travellers; and there is a beauty in some sort of carelessness, a noble negligence; yet the disciples furnished him with the best they had, and did not object the spoiling of their clothes when the Lord had need of them. Note, We must not think the clothes on our backs too dear to part with for the service of Christ, for the clothing of his poor destitute and afflicted members. I was naked, and you clothed me, ch. xxv. 36. Christ stripped himself for us.

2. His retinue; there was nothing in this stately or magnificent. Sion's King comes to Sion, and the daughter of Sion was told of his coming long before; yet he is not attended by the gentlemen of the country, nor met by the magistrates of the city in their formalities as one might have expected; he should have had the keys of the city presented to him, and should have been conducted with all possible convenience to the thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David; but here is nothing of all this; yet he has his attendants, a very great multitude; they were only the common people, the mob (the rabble we should have been apt to call them), that graced the solemnity of Christ's triumph, and none but such. The chief priests and the elders afterward herded themselves with the multitude that abused him upon the cross; but we find none of them here joining with the multitude that did him honour. Ye see here your calling, brethren, not many mighty, or noble, attend on Christ, but the foolish things of this world and base things, which are despised, 1 Cor. i. 26, 28. Note, Christ is honoured by the multitude, more than by the magnificence, of his followers; for he values men by their souls, not by their preferments, names, or titles of honour.

Now, concerning this great multitude, we are here told,

(1.) What they did; according to the best of their capacity, they studied to do honour to Christ. [1.] They spread their garments in the way, that he might ride upon them. When Jehu was proclaimed king, the captains put their garments under him, in token of their subjection to him. Note, Those that take Christ for their King must lay their all under his feet; the clothes, in token of the heart; for when Christ comes, though not when any one else comes, it must be said to the soul, Bow down, that he may go over. Some think that these garments were spread, not upon the ground, but on the hedges or walls, to adorn the roads; as, to beautify a cavalcade, the balconies are hung with tapestry. This was but a poor piece of state, yet Christ accepted their good-will; and we are hereby taught to contrive how to make Christ welcome, Christ and his grace, Christ and his gospel, into our hearts and houses. How shall we express our respects to Christ? What honour and what dignity shall be done to him? [2.] Others cut down branches from the trees, and strewed them in the way, as they used to do at the feast of tabernacles, in token of liberty, victory, and joy; for the mystery of that feast is particularly spoken of as belonging to gospel times, Zech. xiv. 16.

(2.) What they said; They that went before, and they that followed, were in the same tune; both those that gave notice of his coming, and those that attended him with their applauses, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David, v. 9. When they carried branches about at the feast of tabernacles, they were wont to cry Hosanna, and from thence to call their bundles of branches their hosannas. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseech thee; referring to Ps. cxviii. 25, 26, where the Messiah is prophesied of as the Head-stone of the corner, though the builders refused him; and all his loyal subjects are brought in triumphing with him, and attending him with hearty good wishes to the prosperity of all his enterprises. Hosanna to the Son of David is, "This we do in honour of the Son of David."

The hosannas with which Christ was attended bespeak two things:

[1.] Their welcoming his kingdom. Hosanna bespeaks the same with, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. It was foretold concerning this Son of David, that all nations shall call him blessed (Ps. lxxii. 17); these here began, and all true believers in all ages concur in it, and call him blessed; it is the genuine language of faith. Note, First, Jesus Christ comes in the name of the Lord; he is sanctified, and sent into the world, as Mediator; him hath God the Father sealed. Secondly, The coming of Christ in the name of the Lord, is worthy of all acceptation; and we all ought to say, Blessed is he that cometh; to praise him, and be pleased in him. Let his coming in the name of the Lord be mentioned with strong affections, to our comfort, and joyful acclamations, to his glory. Well may we say, Blessed is he; for it is in him that we are blessed. Well may we follow him with our blessings, who meets us with his.

[2.] Their wishing well to his kingdom; intimated in their Hosanna; earnestly desiring that prosperity and success may attend it, and that it may be a victorious kingdom; "Send now prosperity to that kingdom." If they understood it of a temporal kingdom, and had their hearts carried out thus toward that, it was their mistake, which a little time would rectify; however, their good-will was accepted. Note, It is our duty earnestly to desire and pray for the prosperity and success of Christ's kingdom in the world. Thus prayer must be made for him continually (Ps. lxxii. 15), that all happiness may attend his interest in the world, and that, though he may ride on an ass, yet in his majesty he may ride prosperously, because of that meekness, Ps. xlv. 4. This we mean when we pray, Thy kingdom come. They add, Hosanna in the highest: Let prosperity in the highest degree attend him, let him have a name above every name, a throne above every throne; or, Let us praise him in the best manner for his church ascend to heaven, to the highest heavens, and fetch in peace and salvation from thence. See Ps. xx. 6. The Lord saveth his Anointed, and will hear from his high, his holy heaven.

3. We have here his entertainment in Jerusalem (v. 10); When he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved; every one took notice of him, some were moved with wonder at the novelty of the thing, others with laughter at the meanness of it; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of the Pharisaical class, were moved with envy and indignation. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ's kingdom!

Upon this commotion we are further told,

(1.) What the citizens said; Who is this? [1.] They were, it seems, ignorant concerning Christ. Though he was the Glory of his people Israel, yet Israel knew him not; though he had distinguished himself by the many miracles he wrought among them, yet the daughters of Jerusalem knew him not from another beloved, Cant. v. 9. The Holy One unknown in the holy city! In places where the clearest light shines, and the greatest profession of religion is made, there is more ignorance than we are. [2.] Yet they were inquisitive concerning him. Who is this that is thus cried, and comes with so much observation? Who is this King of glory, that demands admission into our hearts? Ps. xxiv. 8; Isa. lxiii. 1.

(2.) How the multitude answered them; This is Jesus, v. 11. The multitude were better acquainted with Christ than the great ones. Vox populi—The voice of the people, is sometimes Vox Dei—the voice of God. Now, in the account they give of him, [1.] They were right in calling him the Prophet, that great Prophet. Hitherto he had been known as a Prophet, teaching and working miracles; now they attend him as a King; Christ's priestly office was, of all the three, last discovered. [2.] Yet they missed it, in saying he was of Nazareth; and it helped to confirm some in their prejudices against him. Note, Some that are willing to honour Christ, and bear their testimony to him, yet labour under mistakes concerning him, which would be rectified if they would take pains to inform themselves.

The Profaners of the Temple Punished.

12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,   13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.   14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.   15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,   16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?   17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

When Christ came into Jerusalem, he did not go up to the court or the palace, though he came in as a King, but into the temple; for his kingdom is spiritual, and not of this world; it is in holy things that he rules, in the temple of God that he exercises authority. Now, what did he do there?

I. Thence he drove the buyers and sellers. Abuses must first be purged out, and the plants not of God's planting be plucked up, before that which is right can be established. The great Redeemer appear as a great Reformer, that turns away ungodliness, Rom. xi. 26. Here we are told,

1. What he did (v. 12); He cast out all them that sold and bought; he had done this once before (John ii. 14, 15), but there was occasion to do it again. Note, Buyers and sellers driven out of the temple, will return and nestle there again, if there be not a continual care and oversight to prevent it, and if the blow be not followed, and often repeated.

(1.) The abuse was, buying and selling, and changing money, in the temple. Note, Lawful things, ill timed and ill placed, may become sinful things. That which was decent enough in another place, and not only lawful, but laudable, on another day, defiles the sanctuary, and profanes the sabbath. This buying and selling, and changing money, though secular employments, yet had the pretence of being in ordine ad spiritualia—for spiritual purposes. They sold beasts for sacrifice, for the convenience of those that could more easily bring their money with them than their beast; and they changed money for those that wanted the half shekel, which was their yearly poll, or redemption-money; or, upon the bills of return; so that this might pass for the outward business of the house of God; and yet Christ will not allow of it. Note, Great corruptions and abuses come into the church by the practices of those whose gain is godliness, that is, who make worldly gain the end of their godliness, and counterfeit godliness their way to worldly gain (1 Tim. vi. 5); from such withdraw thyself.

(2.) The purging out of this abuse. Christ cast them out that sold. He did it before with a scourge of small cords (John ii. 15); now he did it with a look, with a frown, with a word of command. Some reckon this none of the least of Christ's miracles, that he should himself thus clear the temple, and not be opposed in it by them who by this craft got their living, and were backed in it by the priests and elders. It is an instance of his power over the spirits of men, and the hold he has of them by their own consciences. This was the only act of regal authority and coercive power that Christ did in the days of his flesh; he began with it, John ii. and here ended with it. Tradition says, that his face shone, and beams of light darted from his blessed eyes, which astonished these market-people, and compelled them to yield to his command; if so, the scripture was fulfilled, Prov. xx. 8, A King that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes. He overthrew the tables of the money-changers; he did not take the money to himself, but scattered it, threw it to the ground, the fittest place for it. The Jews, in Esther's time, on the spoil laid not their hand, Esther ix. 10.

2. What he said, to justify himself, and to convict them (v. 13); It is written. Note, In the reformation of the church, the eye must be upon the scripture, and that must be adhered to as the rule, the pattern in the mount; and we must go no further than we can justify ourselves with, It is written. Reformation is then right, when corrupted ordinances are reduced to their primitive institution.

(1.) He shows, from a scripture prophecy, what the temple should be, and was designed to be; My house shall be called the house of prayer; which is quoted from Isa. lvi. 7. Note, All the ceremonial institutions were intended to be subservient to moral duties; the house of sacrifices was to be a house of prayer, for that was the substance and soul of all those services; the temple was in a special manner sanctified to be a house of prayer, for it was not only the place of that worship, but the medium of it, so that the prayers made in or toward that house had a particular promise of acceptance (2 Chron. vi. 21), as it was a type of Christ; therefore Daniel looked that way in prayer; and in this sense no house or place is now, or can be, a house of prayer, for Christ is our Temple; yet in some sense the appointed places of our religious assemblies may be so called, as places where prayer is wont to be made, Acts xvi. 13.

(2.) He shows, from a scripture reproof, how they had abused the temple, and perverted the intention of it; Ye have made it a den of thieves. This is quoted from Jer. vii. 11, Is this house become a den of robbers in your eyes? When dissembled piety is made the cloak and cover of iniquity, it may be said that the house of prayer is become a den of thieves, in which they lurk, and shelter themselves. Markets are too often dens of thieves, so many are the corrupt and cheating practices in buying and selling; but markets in the temple are certainly so, for they rob God of his honour, the worst of thieves, Mal. iii. 8. The priests lived, and lived plentifully, upon the altar; but, not content with that, they found other ways and means to squeeze money out of the people; and therefore Christ here calls them thieves, for they exacted that which did not belong to them.

II. There, in the temple, he healed the blind and the lame, v. 14. When he had driven the buyers and sellers out of the temple, he invited the blind and lame into it; for he fills the hungry with good things, but the rich he sends empty away. Christ, in the temple, by his word there preached, and in answer to the prayers there made, heals those that are spiritually blind and lame. It is good coming to the temple, when Christ is there, who, as he shows himself jealous for the honour of his temple, in expelling those who profane it, so he shows himself gracious to those who humbly seek him. The blind and the lame were debarred David's palace (2 Sam. v. 8), but were admitted into God's house; for the state and honour of his temple lie not in those things wherein the magnificence of princes' palaces is supposed to consist; from them blind and lame must keep their distance, but from God's temple only the wicked and profane. The temple was profane and abused when it was made a market-place, but it was graced and honoured when it was made an hospital; to be doing good in God's house, is more honourable, and better becomes it, than to be getting money there. Christ's healing was a real answer to that question, Who is this? His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling of the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former.

There also he silenced the offence which the chief priests and scribes took at the acclamations with which he was attended, v. 15, 16. They that should have been most forward to give him honour, were his worst enemies.

1. They were inwardly vexed at the wonderful things that he did; they could not deny them to be true miracles, and therefore were cut to the heart with indignation at them, as Acts iv. 16; v. 33. The works that Christ did, recommended themselves to every man's conscience. If they had any sense, they could not but own the miracle of them; and if any good nature, could not but be in love with the mercy of them: yet, because they were resolved to oppose him, for these they envied him, and bore him a grudge.

2. They openly quarrelled at the children's hosannas; they thought that hereby an honour was given him, which did not belong to him, and that it looked like ostentation. Proud men cannot bear that honour should be done to any but to themselves, and are uneasy at nothing more than at the just praises of deserving men. Thus Saul envied David the women's songs; and "Who can stand before envy?" When Christ is most honoured, his enemies are most displeased.

Just now we had Christ preferring the blind and the lame before the buyers and sellers; now here we have him (v. 16), taking part with the children against priests and scribes.

Observe, (1.) The children were in the temple, perhaps playing there; no wonder, when the rulers make it a market-place, that the children make it a place of pastime; but we are willing to hope that many of them were worshipping there. Note, It is good to bring children betimes to the house of prayer, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Let children be taught to keep up the form of godliness, it will help to lead them to the power of it. Christ has a tenderness for the lambs of his flock.

(2.) They were there crying Hosanna to the Son of David. This they learned from those that were grown up. Little children say and do as they hear others say, and see others do; so easily do they imitate; and therefore great care must be taken to set them good examples, and no bad ones. Maxima debetur puero reverentia—Our intercourse with the young should be conducted with the most scrupulous care. Children will learn of those that are with them, either to curse and swear, or to pray and praise. The Jews did betimes teach their children to carry branches at the feast of tabernacles, and to cry Hosanna; but God taught them here to apply it to Christ. Note, Hosanna to the Son of David well becomes the mouths of little children, who should learn young the language of Canaan.

(3.) Our Lord Jesus not only allowed it, but was very well pleased with it, and quoted a scripture which was fulfilled in it (Ps. viii. 2), or, at least, may be accommodated to it; Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise; which, some think, refers to the children's joining in the acclamations of the people, and the women's songs with which David was honoured when he returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, and therefore is very fitly applied here to the hosannas with which the Son of David was saluted, now that he was entering upon his conflict with Satan, that Goliath. Note, [1.] Christ is so far from being ashamed of the services of little children, that he takes particular notice of them (and children love to be taken notice of), and is well pleased with them. If God may be honoured by babes and sucklings, who are made to hope at the best, much more by children who are grown up to maturity and some capacity. [2.] Praise is perfected out of the mouth of such; it has a peculiar tendency to the honour and glory of God for little children to join in his praises; the praise would be accounted defective and imperfect, if they had not their share in it; which is an encouragement for children to be good betimes, and to parents to teach them to be so; the labour neither of the one nor of the other shall be in vain. In the psalm it is, Thou hast ordained strength. Note, God perfecteth praise, by ordaining strength out of the mouths of babes and sucklings. When great things are brought about by weak and unlikely instruments, God is thereby much honoured, for his strength is perfected in weakness, and the infirmities of the babes and sucklings serve for a foil to the divine power. That which follows in the psalm, That thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger, was very applicable to the priests and scribes; but Christ did not apply it to them, but left it to them to apply it.

Lastly, Christ, having thus silenced them, forsook them, v. 17. He left them, in prudence, lest they should now have seized him before his hour was come; in justice, because they had forfeited the favour of his presence. By repining at Christ's praises we drive him from us. He left them as incorrigible, and he went out of the city to Bethany, which was a more quiet retired place; not so much that he might sleep undisturbed as that he might pray undisturbed. Bethany was but two little miles from Jerusalem; thither he went on foot, to show that, when he rode, it was only to fulfil the scripture. He was not lifted up with the hosannas of the people; but, as having forgot them, soon returned to his mean and toilsome way of travelling.