“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, order your disciples to stop.’
He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.’” (Luke 19:39-40, NRSV)
The crowd had gathered to receive their long-expected Messiah. They suspected Jesus might be the one, having heard the stories of all the healings and the other miracles. The manner of his entry into Jerusalem seemed to make it clear. The Messiah would come from the Mount of Olives riding on a donkey. Here he was—ascending the mountain and riding on a donkey.
In response, the crowds waved palm branches and laid their cloaks across the road, as if forming a celebrity red carpet. In spite of the crowd’s excitement, the religious leaders knew trouble was brewing. Rome would not stand for such an outward display of rebellion. They feared Rome’s reprisal against the Jews, for they wouldn't distinguish Jesus from the Scribes and the Pharisees.
Fearing a riot if they ordered the crowd to disburse, the religious leaders called for Jesus to send the people on their way home. Jesus said that even if he commanded them to stop shouting praise, the stones would pick up the chorus where the crowd left off.
What Jesus meant was that not only were the Jews, God’s people, longing for a savior—but ALL creation was ready for salvation to come. The ball that was set in motion was not merely a political movement for some remote locale in the middle of the desert, but a cosmological movement that would alter the universe. In a world where Rome’s influence was vast, the savior, the Messiah, would not settle for fixing one regional injustice; all injustices would be remedied. So it wasn’t just the people on the road to Jerusalem that were crying out these words—it was all of creation! The people and the stones shouted:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!”
Listen closely. Can you hear it? The stones, the trees, the grass, the flowers, the rivers, the oceans, the mountains, and the valleys are all calling for justice. Why then, should we be silent? It’s time to join the chorus of creation and shout out our desire for real change. ~Dale Cohen