Luke 19:39, 40
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said to him, Master, rebuke your disciples.…
It is not difficult to find the meaning of our Lord in this hyperbolical utterance of his. "Why should I silence my disciples?" he says. "Of what use would it be to suppress such strong feelings as theirs? Feeling will always find its vent. If suppressed in one form, it will express itself in another; if driven underground in one spot, it will only come up in another; if these human beings whose hearts are so filled with exultation were silenced, the very stones would cry out." It is useless, and worse than useless, to try to extinguish enthusiasm by a hard repressive commandment. The folly of suppression and the wisdom of allowing and inviting, indeed of providing, the means of suitable expression will apply to many things.
I. YOUTHFUL CURIOSITY. Curiosity is an irrepressible thing; it will be satisfied. Age cannot extinguish it, try how it may. It may have occasion to check it, but its true wisdom is to guide it - to take the necessary trouble to satisfy it in the best possible way. Curiosity is not a plant of the evil one; it is rooted in the soul by the heavenly Father; it is a main source of knowledge; it ought to be wisely but amply nourished. If we endeavour to suppress it we shall find that it will not be suppressed, but will find other ways of satisfaction than those we disallow.
II. THE LOVE OF LIBERTY. A desire for freedom and independence is a strong sentiment of the human soul. Where intelligence exists there it will arise and assert itself. It will not be put down; it cannot be put out. Authority may "rebuke" it, as the Pharisees wanted Christ to act on this occasion; but the Lord of our nature knows that it will be heard and must be respected. Neither domestic, nor social, nor national, nor ecclesiastical despotism can survive beyond a certain time. The aspirations of the human soul for freedom will not be denied. If not permitted a wise and rightful form of action, they will take improper and harmful ones.
III. THE RELIGIOUS SENTIMENT IN MAN. Philosophy has tried to silence the voice of faith; it has undertaken to rebuke the disciples; and it has temporarily and superficially succeeded. But it has found that so deep and so strong is the religious sentiment in man that when religion is driven down below the surface it comes out again in superstition in some form or other. The sense of the Supreme, a yearning of the human heart for the living God, is not to be erased from the soul, is not to be removed from the life of man.
IV. DEFINITE RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS. These also are not to be suppressed. Men have taken very various views of the doctrines of the Christian faith; and, as we know too well, opponents have not only "rebuked," but tried arrogantly and forcibly to silence, those who have differed from them. But they have not succeeded. Religious conviction is an inextinguishable force; slain in the persons of its champions, it rises again and reappears, often in tenfold power.
V. RELIGIOUS ENTHUSIASM. To this the words of our Lord primarily and most properly apply. Religious fervour may frequently be disposed to take a form which we do not think the best, or even the suitable and becoming. But we must take care how we deal with it. It is not a thing to be suppressed; it is to be encouraged and enlightened and guided. It is, or it has within it, a true, living power; this power is of God, and is for good. Abruptly and harshly rebuked and silenced, it will only assert itself in other and probably still more questionable forms. Treated with Christian sympathy and encouragement (see Luke 10:49, 50), informed and enlightened by superior intelligence, directed into wise channels, it may do a noble work for the Master and mankind.
1. Let not a young enthusiasm be mindful only of its own exuberance; let it be regardful of the judgment and feeling of experience.
2. Let experience be tolerant of eager-hearted enthusiasm, and be prepared to count it amongst its friends. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.