“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Stone that Cries Out, by Randall D. Kittle

It was the Sunday before Passover and the famous rabbi who had worked wonders throughout Israel was coming to Jerusalem. As He rides on a donkey down toward the city, people throng His path waving branches and shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had resisted the impulse of the crowd “to come and make Him king by force” (John 6:15), but now He welcomes their shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9) — a forthright proclamation appropriate only for the divine Messiah. This triumphant entry must have been something spectacular to behold.

But not everyone along the road to Jerusalem was happy that first Palm Sunday. The Pharisees were offended as they heard the people proclaiming Jesus as Messiah, and their scandalized retort was,
“Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” (Luke 19:39). And you know what? Any good teacher who was not the Messiah would have rebuked the disciples right then and there. But Jesus did not rebuke them, because He was the Messiah. He was and is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

In fact, rather than rebuking the people, Jesus actually affirmed their praise instead.
“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). I love that phrase. What could be more inert, more inanimate, more incapable of voicing His praise than a stone?

It is wonderfully ambiguous, and yet at the same time such a clear affirmation that Jesus accepted the people’s praise of Him as the Messiah. So, what did Jesus mean that the stones would cry out? What stones was Jesus declaring would cry out? Theologians tell us there are several possible interpretations.

1) One interpretation is that Jesus is speaking metaphorically, saying it is just as impossible for the disciples to keep quiet as it would be for the stones to cry out. The Messiah is here. How can they help but rejoice?

2) A second interpretation would be that Jesus is so worthy of praise that if they would not give it to Him, God would find some other means, even if it means making these lifeless stones cry out His praises instead.

3) A third interpretation sees the stones crying out not in praise but rather in judgment of either the disciples who withhold their praises or perhaps the Pharisees who seek to silence them. We find parallels to this in the Old Testament, for example in Habakkuk 2 where we read:
“The stones of the wall will cry out, and the beams of the woodwork will echo it. ‘Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!’” (Habakkuk 2:11-12).

The Resurrection Stone
Personally, I like the second of these traditional interpretations best, that if the disciples remained silent, the stones would cry out the praises of Jesus instead. But as I consider Jesus’ response to their “cluelessness,” I believe that His words were also prophetic as well, pointing forward to the time only a few days ahead when a physical stone would cry out the praises of God. There was a physical stone that cried out Jesus’ triumphant victory … and it is still praising Him today. It is the stone that sealed His grave!

That first resurrection Sunday when the stone was discovered to be rolled away, it was the most powerful testimony of all eternity. Death, hopelessness, and defeat were sealed in that grave. But the stone that had been rolled away by God declared life, hope, and victory! Our sin and shame went with Jesus Christ into that tomb. But the gravestone that became the resurrection stone declares forgiveness and freedom. The power of every scheme of the enemy was broken and defeated when the stone was rolled away and death was swallowed up in new life.

If you are a born-again believer you have heard the declaration of God’s magnificent resurrection stone — the power of sin is broken, shame is removed, hope is restored, love is showered upon us, and we have been declared to be triple “A” — Adopted, Accepted, and Approved! Let us not be silent but instead resound with God’s resurrection stone and declare His glorious triumph — a risen, victorious Savior who shines light into our darkness, pours love into our empty longing, and gives us new abundant life when we surrender ours to Him.

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