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Advent Sunday Messages and Illustrations

Advent Sunday Messages and Illustrations

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The Entry into Jerusalem.

And when Re was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying. Who is this?

S. Matthew xxi. 10.

The Entry into Jerusalem.

And when Re was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying. Who is this?

S. Matthew xxi. 10.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 27, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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ADVET SUDAY MESSAGES AD ILLUSTRATIOSFROM THE AGLICA PULPIT LIBRARY The Entry into Jerusalem. And when Re was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying. Who is this? S. Matthew xxi. 10. IT seems very natural to us to ask why the account of Christ's entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday should be read as the Gospel for Advent Sunday. At first sight it looks very like a displacement of the Gospel history, for on Advent Sunday we are thinking of the two extreme points, if we may so term them, of the relationship which the Lord Jesus bears to us, the one of His coming to take our nature upon Him eighteen centuries and a half ago, and the other when He shall come to judge us hereafter; when we suddenly find ourselves in the very midst of His earthly life, at nothing less than its crisis, when He has just wrought His greatest recorded miracle, and is consciously on His way to die. What, then, we feel inclined to ask, is the connection between this entry into Jerusalem and Christ's advent, whether on the occasion of His taking our nature upon Him- self, or His still future advent, in the clouds of heaven as Judge of the quick and the dead ? Might it not have been better, we may ask, as is the case in some of the Churches of Christendom, to have chosen the Gospel for to-day from some passage in which our Lord describes His second coming, such, for instance, as the Gospel for Sunday next? This, brethren, is what some of us may think, but these old liturgical arrangements were made by people who knew very well what they were about. They have been continued to our day because they have been found, by the experience of some thirteen or fourteen centuries, to have a deep lesson for the human soul. They are not often interfered with now without loss, and it may be 36 OUTLIES O THE GOSPEL
questioned whether we have in this generation the men to touch up the works of the great masters of the Christian life ; whether we can make the attempt even on the small scale of our new Lectionaries and revised Prayer-Book, without stumbling into some crude mistakes, which another age will criticise, more or less sharply and justly, by the light of a deeper mastery of spiritual truth. This Gospel is chosen because it brings before us two great truths ; not only that of the first coming of our Divine Saviour into the world, but of His coming to the judgment. Passages of Scripture describing either of these momentous events would be obviously appropriate, but to do justice to the solemn time upon which we enter to-day, we require to keep these two truths clearly before the eye of the soul. That which moves the whole community to its very depths is that which touches man as man. ot man as the capitalist ; not man as the citizen or the subject ; not man as belonging to this profession or to that ; not as one of this class or that ; but Man as a being who has a conscience, and a consciousness of his mighty destiny ; who knows that he is here but for a few years at most, and that during those few years he is here upon his trial ; who feels the solemnity of his position press on his very soul ; who has a perpetual presenti- ment of coming death and of the world which lies beyond it. When Jesus entered Jerusalem ' all the city was moved,' because Jesus, by His very presence and bearing, spoke to the souls of all ; the power of His presence w^as felt in different ways, but it was felt universally. I. We may take it for granted, first of all, that the main element in the general excitement would be curiosity. Crowds of pilgrims were arriving by their caravans day by day to the great Festival, bringing with them, from Galilee, reports of the miracles which Jesus had performed in the north of Palestine ; of the startling nature of His teaching ; of the vast influence which He liad exerted amongst the straightforward people of the northern provinces. ' Jesus Christ, the prophet of Galilee,' was already a name known more or less to every inhabitant of Syria who took any interest whatever in the questions of the day ; and there were, as was to be expected, wild
stories handed about, such as gather round every distinguished name; stories which are produced by and which stimulate the general excite- ment. or was Jesus unknown in Jerusalem itself. Only in the preceding September, at the Feast of Tabernacles, He had worked a miracle upon the man who was born blind, which had been the subject of special and searching investigation before the committee of the Great Council, the Sanhedrim. That inquiry had notoriously failed to shake the evidence of the person who had been its subject. After 37 ADVET SUDAY a short journey into Galilee, Christ had again appeared in Jerusalem, at the end of December, during the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple, when an attempt had been made upon His life in consequence of His clear assertion of a claim to be Divine ; and since that date an event had occurred which had roused the feelings of the capital to tiie highest pitch. At the village of Bethany, not quite three quarters of an hour's walk from the city gate, and only just beyond the brow of the hill known as the Mount of Olives, He had raised from the dead, nay, from the very putrefaction of the tomb, the body of Lazarus, a member of a well-known family in Bethany. Much of the interest which is felt on the subject of Religion in all ages belongs, in one way or other, to the interest of curiosity. The world stands outside the sacred Temple, but it strains its eyesight very hard indeed in order to see as much of the interior as it possibly can, through the windows or the half-opened doors. If, indeed. Religion is dormant, if the Church is weighed down by a spirit of deadly lethargy, public curiosity takes little heed of it, except in the way of an occasional expression of languid and half-kindly contempt. But when life and activity return there is a change. In George the Third's time the public prints of this country scarcely alluded to religion in any way, except as a sort of decoration of the body politic which came out into view on state occasions. We have but to read the newspapers of our own day, whatever be their politics or their principles, to appreciate the vastness of the change. Jesus has come

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