28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade round you andsurround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Stones that would cry out and stones that are not left upon each other. When Jesus is revealed as king, the whole of creation, including the stones cry out his name. It is not that inanimate objects become sentient and conversational. However, the ground speaks in the biblical narrative. God tells Cain that Abel’s blood cries out from the ground that swallowed it up. The heavens pour forth speech and all creation groans in the biblical text. When we see the world as a created thing, we see the creator speaking through it. People should be the first to praise God because they are created in his image. However, in the fallen chaos that Creation has become sometimes people are the most resistant. However, the rest of Creation speaks the truth that there is a designer, there is a Master, there is a Lord. The Creation points the way to Jesus, the Logos, through whom all things were created. In some transcendent way Christ is all and is in all. When the man Jesus Christ rides into town Creation is in harmony with God and things are as they should be.
However, stones also talk of sin. Mankind builds with bricks and stones and makes great edifices to honour self or God. The temple was meant to be testimony to God’s presence with the people of Israel, but the people of Israel relied on the religious system rather than relationship. When Jesus offered the people relationship with God through repentance and his kingship, some welcomed him, but the crowds turned on him and crucified him. In turn, the great edifice to God’s presence in the land was dismantled, stone by stone. The stones cried out a very different message from what they would have proclaimed at Jesus’ triumphal entry. They cried of God’s departure, of God’s judgement, and God’s wrath.
Creation and history speak to us on a daily basis. Let those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, see and hear!
God who speaks through stones, and people, and all of your Creation, speak to me. Lead me in ways of wisdom so that I can respond in the ways that Creation was designed to respond. Let me be in harmony with the will of your Son. Let me cry out that he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
- In which two verses are stones mentioned?
- How does the mention of stones illustrate quite different points?
- How do people align themselves with Creation in this passage?
- What does the environment around you tell you?
- Why does Sherlock Holmes observe so much and yet falls short?