Luke 19:37
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
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(37) The descent of the mount of Olives.—The Greek word for “descent” is not used by any other New Testament writer. As being a technical geographical word, it was one that might naturally be used by one who may have been a pupil of Strabo, or a student of his works. (See Introduction.)

To praise God.—The Greek verb is another instance of a word used by St. Luke (seven times) and St. Paul (twice), and by them only in the New Testament.

All the mighty works . . .—Literally, powers, and so works of power. The words probably refer to the recent miracle at Jericho (Luke 18:35-43; Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52), and, as interpreted by St. John’s Gospel, the recent raising of Lazarus.



Luke 19:37 - Luke 19:48

‘He went on before.’ What concentrated determination, and almost eagerness, impelled His firm and swift steps up the steep, weary road! Mark tells that the disciples followed, ‘amazed’-as they well might be-at the unusual haste, and strange preoccupation on the face, set as a flint.

Luke takes no notice of the stay at Bethany and the sweet seclusion which soothed Jesus there. He dwells only on the assertion of royalty, which stamped an altogether unique character on the remaining hours of Christ’s life.

I. The narrative brings into prominence Christ’s part in originating the triumphal entry {Luke 19:30 - Luke 19:34}. He sent for the colt with the obvious intention of stimulating the people to just such a demonstration as followed.

As to the particulars, we need only note that the most obvious explanation of His knowledge of the circumstances that the messengers would encounter, is that it was supernatural. Only one other explanation is possible; namely, that the owners of the animal were secret disciples, with whom our Lord had arranged to send for it, and had settled a sign and countersign, by which they would know His messengers. But that is a less natural explanation.

Note the remarkable blending of dignity and poverty in ‘The Lord hath need of him.’ It asserts sovereign authority and absolute rights, and it confesses need and penury. He is a King, but He has to borrow even a colt to make His triumphal entry on. Though He was rich, for our sakes He became poor.

Jesus then deliberately brought about His public entry. He thereby acts in a way perfectly unlike His whole previous course. And He stirs up popular feelings at a time when they were specially excitable by reason of the approaching Passover and its crowds. Formerly He had avoided the danger which He now seems to court, and had gone up to the feast ‘as it were in secret.’ But it was fitting that once, for the last time, He should assert before the gathered Israel that He was their King, and should make a last appeal. Formerly He had sought to avoid attracting the attention of the rulers; now He knows that the end is near, and deliberately makes Himself conspicuous, though-or we might say because-He knew that thereby He precipitated His death.

The nature of His dominion is as plainly taught by the humble pomp as is its reality. A pauper King, who makes His public entrance into His city mounted on a borrowed ass, with His followers’ clothes for a saddle, attended by a shouting crowd of poor peasants, for weapons or banners had but the branches plucked from other people’s trees, was a new kind of king.

We do not need Matthew’s quotation of the prophet’s vision of the meek King coming to Zion on an ass, to understand the contrast of this kingdom with such a dominion as that of Rome, or of such princes as the Herods. Gentleness and peace, a sway that rests not on force nor wealth, are shadowed in that rustic procession and the pathetic poverty of its leader, throned on a borrowed colt, and attended, not by warriors or dignitaries, but by poor men unarmed, and saluted, not with the blare of trumpets, but with the shouts of joyful, though, alas! fickle hearts.

II. We have the humble procession with the shouting disciples and the background of hostile spies.

The disciples eagerly caught at the meaning of bringing the colt, and threw themselves with alacrity into what seemed to them preparation for the public assertion of royalty, for which they had long been impatient. Luke tells us that they lifted Jesus on to the seat which they hurriedly prepared, while some spread their garments in the way-the usual homage to a king:

‘Ride on triumphantly; behold, we lay

Our lusts and proud wills in Thy way.’

How different the vision of the future in their minds and His! They dreamed of a throne; He knew it was a Cross. Round the southern shoulder of Olivet they came, and, as the long line of the Temple walls, glittering in the sunshine across the valley, burst on the view, and their approach could be seen from the city, they broke into loud acclamations, summoning, as it were, Jerusalem to welcome its King.

Luke’s version of their chant omits the Jewish colouring which it has in the other Gospels, as was natural, in view of his Gentile readers. Christ’s royalty and divine commission are proclaimed from a thousand throats, and then up swells the shout of praise, which echoes the angels’ song at Bethlehem, and ascribes to His coming, power to make peace in heaven with an else alienated world, and thus to make the divine glory blaze with new splendour even in the highest heavens.

Their song was wiser than they knew, and touched the deepest, sweetest mysteries of the unity of the Son with the Father, of reconciliation by the blood of His Cross, and of the new lustre accruing to God’s name thereby, even in the sight of principalities and powers in heavenly places. They meant none of these things, but they were unconscious prophets. Their shouts died away, and their faith was almost as short-lived. With many of them, it withered before the branches which they waved.

High-wrought emotion is a poor substitute for steady conviction. But cool, unemotional recognition of Christ as King is as unnatural. If our hearts do not glow with loyal love, nor leap up to welcome Him; if the contemplation of His work and its issues on earth and in heaven does not make our dumb tongues sing-we have need to ask ourselves if we believe at all that He is the King and Saviour of all and of us. There were cool observers there, and they make the foil to the glad enthusiasm. Note that these Pharisees, mingling in the crowd, have no title for Jesus but ‘Teacher.’ He is no king to them. To those who regard Jesus but as a human teacher, the acclamations of those to whom He is King and Lord always sound exaggerated.

People with no depth of religious life hate religious emotion, and are always seeking to repress it. A very tepid worship is warm enough for them. Formalists detest genuine feeling. Propriety is their ideal. No doubt, too, these croakers feared that this tumult might come to formidable size, and bring down Pilate’s heavy hand on them.

Christ’s answer is probably a quoted proverb. It implies His entire acceptance of the character which the crowd ascribed to Him, His pleasure in their praises, and, in a wider aspect, His vindication of outbursts of devout feeling, which shock ecclesiastical martinets and formalists.

III. We see the sorrowing King plunged in bitter grief in the very hour of His triumph.

Who can venture to speak of that infinitely pathetic scene? The fair city, smiling across the glen, brings before His vision the awful contrast of its lying compassed by armies and in ruins. He hears not the acclamation of the crowd. ‘He wept,’ or, rather, ‘wailed,’-for the word does not imply tears so much as cries. That sorrow is a sign of His real manhood, but it is also a part of His revelation of the very heart of God. The form is human, the substance divine. The man weeps because God pities. Christ’s sorrow does not hinder His judgments. The woes which wring His heart will nevertheless be inflicted by Him. Judgment is His ‘strange work,’ alien from His desires; but it is His work. The eyes which are as a flame of fire are filled with tears, but their glance burns up the evil.

Note the yearning in the unfinished sentence, ‘If thou hadst known.’ Note the decisive closing of the time of repentance. Note the minute prophetic details of the siege, which, if ever they were spoken, are a distinct proof of His all-seeing eye. And from all let us fix in our hearts the conviction of the pity of the judge, and of the judgment by the pitying Christ.

IV. We have Christ’s exercise of sovereign authority in His Father’s house.

Luke gives but a summary in verses 45-48, dwelling mainly on two points. First he tells of casting out the traders. Two things are brought out in the compressed narrative-the fact, and the Lord’s vindication of it. As to the former, it was fitting that at the end of His career, as at the beginning, He should cleanse the Temple. The two events are significant as His first and last acts. The second one, as we gather from the other Evangelists, had a greater severity about it than the first.

The need for a second purifying indicated how sadly transient had been the effect of the first, and was thus evidence of the depth of corruption and formalism to which the religion of priests and people had sunk. Christ had come to cleanse the Temple of the world’s religion, to banish from it mercenaries and self-interested attendants at the altar, and, in a higher application of the incident, to clear away all the degradations and uncleannesses which are associated with worship everywhere but in His Church, and which are ever seeking, like poisonous air, to find their way in thither also, through any unguarded chink.

The vindication of the act is in right royal style. The first cleansing was defended by Him by pointing to the sanctity of ‘My Father’s house’; the second, by claiming it as ‘My house.’ The rebuke of the hucksters is sterner the second time. The profanation, once driven out and returning, is deeper; for whereas, in the first instance, it had made the Temple ‘a house of merchandise,’ in the second it turned it into a ‘den of robbers.’ Thus evil assumes a darker tint, like old oak, by lapse of time, and swiftly becomes worse, if rebuked and chastised in vain.

The second part of this summary puts in sharp contrast three things-Christ’s calm courage in continuous teaching in the Temple, the growing bitter hatred of the authorities, who drew in their train the men of influence holding no office, and the eager hanging of the people on His words, which baffled the murderous designs of the rulers. The same intentional publicity as in the entrance is obvious. Jesus knew that His hour was come, and willingly presents Himself a sacrifice. Meekly and boldly He goes on the appointed way. He sees all the hate working round Him, and lets it work. The day’s task of winning some from impending ruin shall still be done. So should His servants live, in patient discharge of daily duty, in the face of death, if need be.

The enemies, who heard His words and found in them only food for deeper hatred, may warn us of the possibilities of antagonism to Him that lie in the heart, and of the terrible judgment which they drag down on their own heads, who hear, unmoved, His daily teaching, and see, unrepentant, His dying love. The crowd that listened, and, in less than a week yelled ‘Crucify Him,’ may teach us to take heed how we hear, and to beware of evanescent regard for His teaching, which, if it do not consolidate into resolved and thoroughgoing acceptance of His work and submission to His rule, will certainly cool into disregard, and may harden into hate.

19:28-40 Christ has dominion over all creatures, and may use them as he pleases. He has all men's hearts both under his eye and in his hand. Christ's triumphs, and his disciples' joyful praises, vex proud Pharisees, who are enemies to him and to his kingdom. But Christ, as he despises the contempt of the proud, so he accepts the praises of the humble. Pharisees would silence the praises of Christ, but they cannot; for as God can out of stones raise up children unto Abraham, and turn the stony heart to himself, so he can bring praise out of the mouths of children. And what will be the feelings of men when the Lord returns in glory to judge the world!See the notes at Matthew 21:1-16. 37. whole multitude, &c.—The language here is very grand, intended to express a burst of admiration far wider and deeper than ever had been witnessed before. See Poole on "Luke 19:35"

And when he was come nigh,.... To the city of Jerusalem, and which was then in sight,

even now at the descent of the Mount of Olives; being come to the foot of that mount, which lay to the east of Jerusalem, and was about five furlongs from it, or a little more than half a mile (o):

the whole multitude of the disciples: not only the twelve, but the large company that followed Christ out of Galilee, and were joined by more in Judea, as they came along, some going before him, and others behind him. The Arabic and Persic versions divide these words, and read, "the multitude, and the disciples"; not only the apostles, but the whole body of the people that were with Christ:

began to rejoice, and praise God, with a loud voice, for all the mighty works that they had seen; calling to mind the many miracles he had wrought in Galilee, at Cana, Capernaum, and other places, and now, as he passed through Judea, particularly about Jericho, where he had restored sight to two or three blind men; and especially the miracle he had lately wrought at Bethany, in raising Lazarus from the dead; from all which they might strongly conclude, that he must be the Messiah; and being filled with joy and gladness, at the remembrance of these things, and with thankfulness to God, that he had raised up the glorious Saviour and Redeemer, they lifted up their voices together, and exerted them to the uttermost, and made the air ring with their shouts, and acclamations of praise to God, on this occasion.

(o) Joseph. Antiqu l. 20. c. 6.

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;
Luke 19:37. ἐγγίζοντος: Lk. is thinking of Jerusalem = when He was nearing the city. The next clause, πρὸς τῇ καταβάσει, is added to define more precisely the point reached = at the descent of the mount. They had got over the ridge to the western slope.—καταβάσει, here only in N.T.—ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος: Mt. and Mk. divide the crowd into those going before and those following.—δυνάμεων: this reference to miracles as the occasion of praise is peculiar to Lk. That Galilean pilgrims should remember gratefully the healing ministry at that moment was very natural. Yet Lk.’s explanation of the popular enthusiasm, while true, may be far from exhaustive.

37. even now at the descent of the mount of Olives] at the spot where the main road from Bethany sweeps round the shoulder of the hill, and the city first bursts full on the view. At this point the palm-bearing procession from the city seems to have met the rejoicing crowd of the Galilaean pilgrims who had started with Jesus from Bethany.

Luke 19:37. Ἐγγίζοντος, as He was coming nigh) to the city.—χαίροντες αἰνεῖν, with rejoicing to praise) There were joined together hymns and rejoicings.

Verse 37. - At the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen. At this point on the Bethany road the city of Jerusalem comes into view. Here a crowd of pilgrims to the Passover Feast, many of whom were well acquainted with Jesus, came out to meet and welcome him with their branches of palm. These joined his friends who accompanied him from Bethany. This enthusiasm was excited among the Passover pilgrims in great measure owing to the report which by this time had got abroad of the raising of Lazarus (see John 12:17, 18). Many had already gone out from the city to Bethany to see Jesus and Lazarus. Of the Messianic shouts of welcome which sounded in the crowd, St. Luke does not mention the "Hosanna!" of St. Matthew, no doubt because this peculiar Hebrew cry would not have conveyed any meaning to the Gentile readers to whom his story was especially addressed. The two incidents which follow - the crying out of the stones, and the weeping of the Master over his beautiful doomed city (vers. 39-44) - occur only in St. Luke. His source of information here was evidently quite different to the other two synoptists or St. John. Luke 19:37The descent

Two distinct sights of Jerusalem are caught on this route, an inequality of ground hiding it for a time after one has first seen it. Luke 19:37 marks the first sight, Luke 19:41 the second and nearer view (see Introduction, on Luke's topographical accuracy). "A t this point (the former) the first view is caught of the southeastern corner of the city. The temple and the more northern portions are hid by the slope of Olivet on the right: what is seen is only Mount Zion, now, for the most part, a rough field, crowned with the mosque of David, and the angle of the western walls, but then covered with houses to its base, and surmounted by the castle of Herod, on the supposed site of the palace of David....It was at this point that the shout of triumph burst forth from the multitude" (Stanley, "Sinai and Palestine").

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