THE triumphant entry of our Lord into Jerusalem (Luke 19:29-44) and the subsequent cleansing of the temple abound in lessons for the individual heart and for the church. Christ must first enter the heart as King through acceptance by faith. As many as receive Him receive power to become the sons of God, even those who believe on His name. And this coming of Jesus into the heart means joy. We read that when He entered Jerusalem, the disciples began to “rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen.” Of course the Pharisees objected and asked the Lord to rebuke His disciples, but He answered, “I tell you that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
The church today suffers with a joyless experience. Christ is not joyfully acclaimed as King. A noiseless religion is the order of the day: no shouting, no amens, no hallelujahs. If some brother does occasionally grow happy, there is a wail from the Pharisees. But our Lord approved it and still does. When He enters a heart to reign, if ever there was something to rejoice about, certainly that ought to set the joybells ringing!
We still have the same types and classes that existed in our Lord’s day. We call them by different names, but the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the common people, the lame and sick, the disciples, are with us. You will observe that our Lord dealt with them in different ways.
After entering Jerusalem as King, He next cleansed the temple. When He enters the heart, He next cleanses it. He is priest as well as king. The church needs a mighty cleansing, for it has become a den of thieves today. So do our bodies, the temples of the Holy Spirit.
Then we read that the blind and lame came to Him, and He healed them. To those who would desecrate God’s house He brought a rod of anger; but to the needy, He was love and tenderness. Once again there was joy, for we read that the little children were crying “Hosanna to the son of David!” and the Pharisees were sore displeased. They asked Him, “Hearest thou what these say?” It was too much emotionalism, too sensational for the temple! But our Lord replied, “Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?” (Matt. 21:16).
It has ever been thus. God’s secrets have been kept from the wise and prudent and revealed unto babes. It is the childlike who enter the kingdom (Matt. 18:3). And when these simple-hearted believers begin to rejoice, the Pharisees always grumble. The note of joy has gone from our churches. It had been so long since there had been rejoicing in the old temple that the Pharisees were horrified. If somebody would grow happy today in some of these molded and musty churches, it would startle some of the old bench-warmers out of their wits. There couldn’t be less rejoicing in many of our churches today if No Joy Allowed were on the door as you enter.
His entrance and cleansing still bring joy. When Philip preached in Samaria, there was an exciting time with demons coming out and souls being saved. I read, “There was great joy in that city.” It has always been so, and we shall never see sinners converted until the lost joy of salvation is restored.