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Palm Sunday - The Stones Will Cry Out (Luke 19).                                  16/03/14

The stones will cry out

God wanted a holy nation of priests; people who would all have a close relationship with Himself and hear His voice, but the Israelites were afraid to go into the cloud of His presence. They told Moses to go before God. They wanted to keep their distance from God and just be told what to do. So God made a covenant with them and gave them laws to "do" (Deuteronomy 19-20). But His people didn't keep the laws. Yet God loved the world so much He paid the price needed to annul the old covenant and bring in "the years of God's favour" (Isaiah 61:2), where "all who call upon the Lord shall be saved" (Joel 2:32). The price was His own death. God in Christ, the high priest crucified, sprinkling His own blood to make atonement for sins.

God is so worthy of our praise, but if we remain silent or try to silence others, if we don't acknowledge who Jesus is, God's hand is not so short that He cannot cause even the stones to acknowledge Him; to do His bidding.

When he (Jesus) came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
"Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out" (Luke19).

John the Baptist preached a message of repentance. He said, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance and don't think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up seed/children for Abraham" (Matthew 3:9). God made the Adam from the dry, the earth. He could raise up seed even from stones, literally. However, He did rest from that kind of creating. 

Stones have been personified in Scripture in verses like this: "For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it" (Habakkuk 2:11).   John may have been thinking of this verse and spoke figuratively to those he called vipers, who were covetously building and shaming their own house, with violence and bloodshed. Paul said,  "if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed" (Galatians 3:29 ). The cornerstone is Christ, from this stone, God does produce seed for Abraham.

"As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by men, but chosen and precious in God’s sight,  you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5).

The seventh day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, is known as; Hoshana Rabbah. It is known as the last of the Days of Judgment. On this day the priests carried palm branches in their hands and rejoiced with thanksgiving for a fruitful year. They walked in a circle symbolizing the tearing down of the iron wall that separates the people from their Father in Heaven, and like the walls of Jericho that were circled and fell down, the curtain separating the Holiest of places from humankind was torn down. Jesus life, death and resurrection broke down the dividing wall between humankind and God. God lived in flesh and bones and walked among His people as one of them. Now like the seed that dies to produce a bumper crop, Jesus life is shared, poured out as the Holy Spirit into those who receive Him.

 

The art work above shows the stones crying out in praise. The palm branches coming forth from their mouths symbolize their acknowledgment of who Jesus is. It is a reminder of the importance of heart felt praise and of how much God loves us, and the lengths He will go to remove the distance, the dividing walls between us.
"Hosanna! Our saviour is with us!"

 

Reference:

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1:72 An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries 15. IVP/Accordance electronic edition, version 1.4. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973.