Will stones really cry out?
NKJV - 40 But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.
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What does it mean that stones would cry out if others keep silent? The context of this statement by Jesus lies along the passage of Luke 19:28-40 where Jesus was making His triumphant entry into Jerusalem. However the most specific passage of focus can be narrowed down to Luke 19:37-40 which says (KJV): "And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; 38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. 39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." The statement in Luke 19:40 is simply a metaphoric expression regarding the fact that there was undeniable prove that the Messianic power of Christ had been revealed. The miracles works was clear prove to all except the Pharisees who refused to acknowledge Jesus. They were busy holding onto religious etiquette when the crowds burst into song and dance. They lived in the past, always. We can prove from Scripture that the Pharisees loved attention and public glare.They were used to being praised and called Rabbi or master, titles about which Jesus warned his disciples saying in Matthew 23:5-10 "But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ." People with a Pharisaic spirit do not see the working of God at all. They do not operate under the Spirit of God but by the dictates and the rules of men. The statement by Jesus was a actually a sharp rebuke on this brand of religious zealotry who were sticklers to men's rules but "having not the Spirit" (Jude 1:19). They were totally opposed to all that was divine; insensitive and arrogant rulers of synagogues in Jesus's day yet despite their mastery of the religious law could not discern when the Messianic coming of Jesus of whom the same Scriptures spoke. So what was the verdict? Their plea to Jesus fell flat! Jesus flatly refused to silence His disciples and told off the Pharisees for their empty religious piety which could not even lead them to discover the God they purported to serve. This is perfectly what legalism does. It blinds people from discovering divine truth. Many man-made rules have eclipsed the practice of the truth faith in many church communities so that congregations are more conversant with the rules and customs than with what Scripture actually teaches. What happens when we are confronted by people beholden to religious legalism? We should not waste our energies arguing with them but rather move on to worship our God in truth and in spirit (John 4:23). That is perfectly what Jesus permitted the disciples to do in total defiance of the irrelevancies of the high command of the religious order. Religion is the enemy of true faith.
I believe Pastor Kimosap and Brother Maas made very good points to this question. However, I think we should look at this from a different perspective. Jesus, the Creator of All things (John 1:3), was making His final Triumphant entry into Jerusalem before He was to give His life for sinful mankind. The Bible states that all creation groans (Rom 8:22) because of the sinful state of man. Deductive reasoning would allow us to see that the earth could see their Creator going into Jerusalem with the city filled with praises and worship. What a beautiful sight this must have been! Finally, man was doing what God created him to do, Worship his Creator! The branches of the trees were laid in front of the two donkeys, the songs of Hosanna were ringing in the air and in the midst of the throng of the people, a few Pharisees who wanted it all to stop. Yes, the rocks would have cried out! Man refusing to give Jesus, the Creator, His justly due praise and adoration will make the creation shake, tremble, roar, cry, clap, and WORSHIP GOD in our place! (Ps 46:3, Ps 114:7, Jer 4:24, Ps 98:18, Isa 55:12) Jesus was making the observation: If He was not praised by one portion of His creation, the other portion of His creation would pick up the slack and praise Him even more. With this in mind, it does make one wonder about the world we live in today. Almost 7,4 billion people live on this planet. Comparatively, a very small number practice true heartfelt worship of their Creator on a daily basis. Is it any wonder the mountains, hills, the rocks and the trees continue to shake, rattle and roll? They are picking up man's slack! Do you want a rock to praise and worship for you? Something to think about! Be Blessed, Lena
I believe that most likely, Jesus was metaphorically speaking. I also believe it was possible that he was speaking literally as He had the power to make it so. My reason for adding an answer is to add one more possibility. I believe that nature is one of the strongest cases for evidence of creation. From the patterns in flowers, sand washed by waves, the beauty abounding in nature, the relationship between a bee and a flower, etc..., to mathematical formulas found in things like a whirlpool, nature cries out today the existence of God and Christ. Because He is God, who, knows: maybe many answers apply. Because He is God and He can!
Luke 19:38 is saying, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." "Hosanna" [this is the key, to very loudly acclaim]: "If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. " Simply imagine yourself as an archaeologist digging in the grounds of the old city of Jerusalem or in the city of David. After sifting through the stones you dug up, and then looking at the entire geo-physical-museum that is before you, what does the stone tell us now, today? After more than 2000+ years, the stone is still "crying". Why? Because the majority still do not believe, even after being given so much of the evidence. With our hearts full of praise, Be exalted O Lord our God, Hosanna in the highest! Glory, glory, glory to the King of Kings!
Jesus often employed hyperbole, or what one Biblical commentator has called "gigantesque" imagery, in His teaching to illustrate the points that He was making more forcefully and memorably. For example, in Matthew 23:24, when He condemned the Pharisees for hypocritically insisting on compliance with the smallest details of the Law (such as the tithing of various spices), while disregarding the major principles of the Law (such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness) in their conduct, he accused them of straining out a gnat, but swallowing a camel. It would have been clear to anyone listening that Jesus was not speaking literally, but using an exaggerated metaphor to illustrate an underlying truth. He did the same thing in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:3-5) when He spoke of people hypocritically trying to remove a speck from their neighbor's eye (that is, correcting another's small fault), while not noticing the log that was in their own eye (that is, the much greater fault of which they themselves were guilty). When Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem in Luke 19:37-40, He was being loudly acclaimed by the people as God's promised Messiah (which He, of course, was, but which the religious authorities refused to recognize). When those same authorities demanded that Jesus tell His followers to be silent, Jesus memorably criticized the authorities' willful blindness by once again employing the same type of imagery, and telling them that, if those who were acclaiming Him were to be silent, the very stones would then cry out in witness to His identity as the Messiah. He was thus making the point that, by refusing to acknowledge Him, the religious authorities were even more spiritually blind and dead than inanimate objects.
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