Why Will the Rocks Cry Out

March 22, 2024 • Rev. Rob Fuquay

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:40 

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem while children laid palm branches in front of him and sang “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” All of Jesus’ action were symbolic. His processional entry into the city connected to prophecies about the Messiah. In other words, Palm Sunday revealed that Jesus is who he said he is. 

But one comment by Jesus stands out as unusual and worth contemplating. When the religious leaders implored Jesus to silence the people, he replied, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Considering the amount of hyperbole Jesus used, it is doubtful he meant this literally. So, what exactly did he mean? 

For all the times Jesus told people to keep silent about his work and shunned a messianic label, this was clearly not that time. Now was the time for declaration. Any risk of misunderstanding the kind of Messiah Jesus is, would be cleared up in a matter of days. The time for a parade had finally come. 

Resentful religious leaders called for Jesus to silence the people from shouting “Hosanna.” Jesus told them that even if they didn’t speak, the rocks would. In other words, God is moving. God’s plan is unfolding. Nothing can stop it. Whether or not people are silenced will not be a determiner of what God does. All of creation is caught up in this moment and praise of what God is doing will show forth one way or another. 

Jesus’ words are a simple reminder we are not in charge, but God is charging. God is acting, and God is always acting. God is on the move and when we see it, we should celebrate it, because we sure can’t stop it even if we wanted to!  

Do you see God on the move this Palm Sunday weekend? Do you see any reasons to shout “hosanna,” which means adoration? Sometimes we are slow to shout Hosanna. We see something, but it seems so small. Surely if God was moving through that event, it would be a mightier sign. Sometimes we hold our tongues because things might not work out? What if we praised too soon only to feel let down later? Don’t you think a few people who shouted Hosanna that first Palm Sunday wondered on Friday if they got it wrong? 

The events of Holy Week shows us again how God plays the long game. If we hold our tongues from praise because we need to know how things will turn out, well, we might as well stop talking period. Faith believes God ultimately wins. Why do you think these stories have been passed down to us—the ones of suffering as well as glory? Sure, the opponents to God’s way (and yes, that includes you and me sometimes!) appear to win, but eventually God holds the trophy. We praise not for everything that is but will be. So where can you see God working? Because God is. God is still coming. So, grab a palm branch. 

Rev. Rob Fuquay