THE READY STONES
Luke 19:36-44 CSB
- 36 As he was going along, they were spreading their clothes on the road. 37 Now he came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen: 38 Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven! 39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out.” 41 As he approached and saw the city, he wept for it, 42 saying, “If you knew this day what would bring peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come on you when your enemies will build a barricade around you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. 44 They will crush you and your children among you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in your midst, because you did not recognize the time when God visited you.”
Today we are celebrating Palm Sunday. It is the Sunday before Easter, and it commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem just one week before his resurrection.
There is no mention of the waving of palm branches in today’s text. But we actually have four different historical records of this important day in Scripture. The event was important enough that the Holy Spirit inspired all four Gospel writers to describe it. John’s Gospel mentions the palm branches. Matthew’s Gospel reveals that there were actually two donkeys, and Jesus rode on one of them – the colt. All three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) mention that the people put their garments on the animals and spread them on the road he took as well.
This was a day to praise God for Jesus and all the miracles he had done (37-38).
- “the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen”
They saw him cure blind people, lepers, paralytics and people suffering from all kinds of problems.
They saw him control nature, calming storms, walking on water, and turning water into wine – stuff like that.
They saw him master the supernatural, casting out demons and restoring those who had been driven insane by them.
They even saw him raise people from the dead – Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son from Nain, and Lazarus at Bethany.
This day – this Palm Sunday – was a day of public praise and worship to commemorate God’s amazing Son who had come to show us all what his Father in heaven was like. The people had wondered what God was really like. Was he mad at them? But seeing Jesus, they dared to believe that there was …
- “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!”
They dared to believe that God did not want to destroy them, but to forgive them. They dared to expect not God’s wrath but his grace!
This was a day to celebrate the arrival of God’s chosen king (38).
The prophet Zechariah had predicted this day. He had said:
- Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout in triumph, Daughter Jerusalem! Look, your King is coming to you; he is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).
Can you imagine the stir? Can you imagine how excited the people were when this amazing miracle worker chose to enter into the city of Jerusalem this way?
This must be the guy! This must be the coming king who is going to replace Herod, and even overcome mighty Caesar!
This was a day to decide the fate of Jerusalem (41-44).
- “As he approached and saw the city, he wept for it, saying, “If you knew this day what would bring peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days will come on you when your enemies will build a barricade around you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you and your children among you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in your midst, because you did not recognize the time when God visited you.”
The city could have accepted Jesus as their king, and it looked like they were ready to do that. But that was not what happened.
The crowds were going wild, but the religious leaders tried to stifle them. They tried to get Jesus to calm them down. They said …
- “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”
But Jesus was not about to stop this riot of praise. He told the Pharisees…
- ““I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out.”
They were ready stones. They were ready for king Jesus to come and take over. I wonder if we are as ready for Jesus to take over as those stones were.
There is one more thing that happened on the first Palm Sunday, and not a lot of people talk about it. But it is just as much a part of the triumphal entry story.
This was a day to celebrate resurrection (John 12:17-18)!
You see, there was one particular miracle that had jump started Palm Sunday. We learn about that from John’s gospel.
- Meanwhile, the crowd, which had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead, continued to testify. This is also why the crowd met him, because they heard he had done this sign.
Palm Sunday’s festival of praise had been a result of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus had taught concerning two time periods – two hours. We would use the word windows. His first hour was the window of his earthly ministry. During that hour, those who are dead would hear his voice and live. But there will be another hour in which all who are in their graves asleep will hear his voice and wake up. That will be during Christ’s second coming.
The promise of another life – a permanent life beginning at the resurrection and never ending is something to praise God about. We – God’s people who trust in Christ for our salvation will be the recipients of that promise. That is something to make some noise about. And if we were to keep quiet about that, the stones are ready to cry out!