Scripture Reading — Luke 19:28-40
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:40 —
The Pharisees want Jesus to tell the "crowd of disciples" to stop their loud praise. They fear that Pilate and his soldiers might hear the shouting: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"--and they know that Rome shows little mercy to people who claim a king other than Caesar.
But the Pharisees' demand comes not only from fear. They think it's simply outrageous, even blasphemous, that these disciples would declare Jesus to be their long-awaited Messiah-King. The Pharisees and other religious leaders do not see Jesus' glory or believe that Jesus has come from the Father. So this praise must stop--at this instant!
But Jesus does not yield to their demand--for two reasons. First, Jesus knows it is time to go public. He intentionally enacts the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. It's time to roll and meet the Prince of Darkness head-on. Second, the people's praise is right and fitting. He is the Messiah-King, worthy of all adoration. Jesus will go as our King from this parade to the cross, "from the cross to the grave," and "from the grave to the sky," as a song puts it.
Jesus' person and mission are so magnificent that if there is no praise coming from human lips, the stones will cry out, shaming us for our blindness and hardness of heart.
"Lord, [we] lift your name on high," praising you for fulfilling your mission as Savior. Father in heaven, we praise you for sending your Son to set us free. In his name, Amen.