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
It seems unlikely that many people would readily identify the story which contains the two verses above when they are standing alone. So, least we interpret this reading out of context, a little background is helpful. It won’t take much! To simply say that it is a scene from that first Palm Sunday will immediately tell most Christians all that they need for background.
At this point, Jesus is mounted on a donkey; his supporters have already strewn his path with their garments and palm fronds; and the crowd has become loud and joyful, except, of course, for the Pharisees, who are there seeking to bare false witness against Jesus that they might have him put to death,.
The conditions seem to be just right for the Pharisees to achieve their objective when Jesus’ followers begin to praise him with many shouting: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.”
The Pharisees interpreted this as heresy.
The Pharisees then demand that Jesus order his followers to Stop! Jesus not only does not do so, but confirms his agreement with their actions. Jesus obviously knew well the words of the prophet Zechariah who, more than 650 years earlier, wrote:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you: He is just and endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9
I, as most of you, have read or heard the story scores of times, yet I had given little thought to the subject verses. A careful consideration of these verses has led me to a more complete understanding of their importance. Among them are:
- Jesus’ public acknowledgement of his kingship
- The fulfillment of prophecy
- Demonstration of how one part of the Bible confirms another
- That each time you read or reread a passage you are likely to learn something new
Prayer: Most high God, we are thankful for your word. Help us to consider each and every passage in the Bible. Prompt us to read and reread, so that we might glean a more complete understanding of your nature and intentions. In our Savior’s name we pray, Amen.