Cry of the Stones Luke 19:29-40
A preacher was vacationing at the Grand Canyon. Standing on the edge of that great chasm, he was inspired to loudly quote some scripture. Into his mind came, Revelation 6:12-14 and he shouted into the canyon in his most powerful voice, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."
And His voice boomed and echoed down the walls of the canyon until it was heard by one lone hiker way down below the rim, hiking up from the bottom of the canyon..
He stopped as he heard this powerful, booming voice echo down the canyon walls. When the voice stopped he dropped to his knees and said, "Oh Lord, I promise I'll be in church next Sunday if you'll just wait on that earthquake until I get up out of this canyon!"
The passage from Luke 19 we will read today probably took place on a street lined with paving stones and surrounded by building made with quarried stone. When you think of the setting in which Jesus said, "The stones would cry out" it was not just a few rocks laying on the ground, it was every stone in a city built of stone.
The Plan Luke 19:29-35
And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him
Jesus Had a Plan For His Disciples
Last week in our series on Exodus we talked about the providence of God. Providence is God’s sovereign will being played out in the event of time and in our lives. Here in Luke 19, in the story of the Triumphal Entry we see one part of that providence and the plan of God for the salvation of the world.
We first glimpse this plan prophetically, in the OT book of Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Only an omniscient God could foresee and plan events hundreds of year into the future. But the triumphal entry was just one small part of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. It was and is a plan that was made before time began and includes of all time and eternity. A plan that includes the nations of the world but is so detailed that Bible says a sparrow doesn't fall to the earth but He knows it.
God's plan includes even numbering the hairs of your head. (Jason McEntire, Harry Smith and I have decided to give God a break on this.) God’s plan reached from the Garden of Edan and then right down to this man who owns some donkeys.
This man was touched by the plan of God for the ages, when the disciples said, "The Lord hath need of him." Now, that man must choose to give what is his to God. He had to choose if he was going to be a part of God’s plan for the ages.
God Has a Plan For Us
The Bible says He has planned for us before time began
Eph 1: 3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will
God’s providence, God’s plan reached out that day recorded in Luke 19 and included a man and his donkey. God’s plan is still active today and it extends and encompasses you and I today.
Jer 32:17-19 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:
How can we know when we have been touched by God's plan for the ages?
I believe it is in the same way it happened to the man with the donkeys that day. You find yourself confronted with the same statement as he did, "the Lord has need of these"
It happens first when you are confronted with salvation and the Holy Spirit says, The Lord has need of your most valuable possession, you very soul.
It happens when reading your Bible or hearing a sermon about service or sacrifice and you hear the Spirit of God say "I have need of your life."
It happens when you bring you children to church and you realize the Lord has need of your family.
It happens when hear a missionary speak of the need of the gospel and you realize the Lord has need of your gifts to save souls that you will never see this side of heaven.
And yet so infinite is the wisdom of God that His plan even has made allowances for you to say no when he speak to you of his will.
If you say no when you are invited to God’s gracious and loving invitation for forgiveness and salvation then His plan still includes you, but now your place is as far from God as any place can be and God has place for those who refuse his love. That place is called Hell.
If you say no at the offering of your life, or your marriage, or your family or your finances God's plan includes the emptiness, loss, pain and suffering that comes when man chooses his way over God's way.
Oh how many would go back to the time when they heard the Lord say “I have need of this” and gladly and freely give to the Lord of creation all that we have. How many look back on ruined lives and wasted souls, broken hopes and destroyed families and wish they would have given them all to God.
I can think of no better response than the response which was given by Jonathan Edwards who God used to spark a revival which swept the 13 colonies in our countries early history.
The Dedication of Jonathan Edwards
I claim no right to myself, no right to this understanding, this will, these affections that are in me; neither do I have any right to this body or its members, no right to this tongue, to these hands, feet, ears or eyes.
I have given myself clear away and not retained anything of my own. I have been to God this morning and told Him I have given myself wholly to Him. I have given Him every power, so that for the future I claim no right to myself in any respect. I have expressly promised Him, for by His grace I will not fail. I take Him as my whole portion and felicity, looking upon nothing else as any part of my happiness, His law is the rule of my obedience.
I purpose to be absolutely His.
Next we see how Jesus’ plan touched much more than just one man with some donkeys but would include and entire city.
The Praise Luke 19:35-38
And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. 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; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
The People Praise their King.
The people praise the Christ, the Messiah. They as a people for over 3000 years had looked for, prayed for and hoped for his coming and now right before their eyes, He was here.
They knew it was Him because of all that He had done, the miracles, the teaching, the authority shown in the Temple but they had fully realized it today because God' s plan had revealed it in Zech 9:9 and they were seeing it take place this very moment.
Zech 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
And my oh my, how they did rejoice greatly. They cast their garments upon the colt and spread their cloaks on the ground that he might ride over them. Rejoiced and praised God with a loud voice for all the miraculous works they had seen and now they could see prophecy fulfilled right in front of them.
In Matthew 21:8 it says, "And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way."
This was the traditional way of greeting a great king and now their King had come and all the world would hear the sound of their praise.
Praising Our King
Can you imagine what it would be like to see Jesus coming in the clouds today? Can you imagine the feeling to hear the trumpet blow and know that all the prophesy you had ever read about His return was coming true right before your eyes on this day? Wouldn’t you get a little excited?
But let me challenge you for If you are a child of God, then you have already experienced the coming of the King, not through the sky like lightning shining from the east to the west but you have felt him come into your heart and your burdens and sorrow fell away. If that is true in your heart and soul then just like those who say Jesus ride into Jerusalem that day, all the world should hear your praise.
As they cut branches from trees to lay in front of Jesus, we should be praising Him with the work of our hands. As they took the cloak off their backs and placed them at his feet, we should be praising Him with your substance and possessions. As they praised Him with their voices, we should be praising Him in the songs we sing and most importantly in the lives we live.
Someday the Book of Revelation tells us we join a choir that includes all of heaven and earth and we will bow before the Lamb and then we will sing a new song and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And every creature will sing, "Worthy is the Lamb to receive power and honor and glory!"
But I don’t want to wait till then before I begin to sing that song. Are you?
Illustration: Experiencing the Hallelujah Chorus
Do you want to experience just a touch of what it's going to be like? Go someplace where they will be singing Handel's Messiah and when they come to the Hallelujah chorus it is traditional to stand and sing with the performers, "Hallelujah, Hallelujah. For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, halle-lu-jah.
If you’re a child of God at one of those performances, the tears will flow, the hairs will stand up on the back of your neck and you might just get a small glimpse of what it will be like one day at in throne room of Heaven when all of creation starts to sing.
Until then praise Him will what we have and where we are today.
There is one other thing that I want to call your attention to from Luke 19. It is the answer Jesus gave to the Pharisees that day who told him to make the people stop. It is a remarkable answer, one found no where else and one that could not be applied to anyone else by the Creator of the World.
The Power Luke 19:39-40
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
The Stones Cry Out
Jesus looked into the cold, passionless eyes of those who rejected him and hated him and He told the Pharisees that even the stones would have to cry out in praise of the Messiah that day.
I wonder if Jesus was being prophetic as well as rebuking the Pharisees in his statement for in only 4 days the stones would did cry out as proof that Jesus was the Messiah and King.
For we read in Matthew 27:50-51 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
The Bible says, when he was crucified there was an earthquake and darkness for the space of 3 hours and the stones were torn in pieces in anguish, pain for their creator was dead and creation knew it and cried out.
Not only on this dark day did the stones cry out but they would be heard again this time crying out in joy upon His resurrection.
Matthew 28:1-6 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
The very stone placed there by those who would silence Him. The very stone that was meant to seal Him away, became the stone that joyously proclaimed He is risen!
And yet there is one more time that the stones will cry out. This time to announce His return as conquering King.
Revelation 6:12-17 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The stones cry out once again and those who finally see the terribleness of the wrath of God, will cry out to the stones and beg, "Fall on us, hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.“
The Next Time The Stones Cry Out
The first times the stone cried out are behind us in history and time, but one other time is yet to come. I wonder where will you be the next time the stones cry out?
Will you be in the heavens waiting with Jesus Christ to join the procession of the Host of Heaven as they accompany him back to take the earth?
Or will you be on the earth feeling the ground heave and shake and knowing that this is the announcement of His Return and of His wrath, and His judgement?
God’s providence includes you. He has a plan, a plan that will include you in the armies of heaven, a plan that will forgive your sin, a plan that will give you eternal life. Or a plan that should you deny His love and mercy now then that plan will bring you to a time and place where you will experience God’s now undeniable power but this time not in love, not in grace but in wrath, and in judgement.
In that day no one will stand and say, "You didn't include me. You didn't plan for me. All will know He planned for you even down to this day, this hour, this moment.
Illustration: The Rich Man in Hell
We have an example of one who chose his own way instead of God’s way in -
Luke 16: 27-31 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
You realize that Jesus is not just talking about the Rich man, but is also talking to us. God’s plan, that included Jesus dying for us and coming forth from the grave, also made sure that “Moses and the prophets.” , the scriptures, recorded those things and we could hear it this day, this hour, this moment and respond as we know we should.
If I had been in that crowd that morning, and has seen Jesus riding into Jerusalem, what would I have done? Would I have stood on the sidelines thinking how foolish this was? Would I be watching but not willing to take part? Or would I be one cutting branches from the trees and spreading my coat for the Messiah's journey? Or perhaps could I have even been one in the group that traveled with Jesus, willing to walk through the gates of Jerusalem and face death because I loved Him?
We tell ourselves, if I were there I'd welcome Him. I would even march in with Him, but your life now is probably an indication of what you would have been doing back then. Are you on the sidelines now, cheering but not participating? Are you willing but not working? Are you holding back your possessions not laying them at the Savior's feet? Are you holding back your life not willing to commit it to the same path that Jesus walked? Are you even this morning opposing Him? Telling Him He has no right to be your Lord and King.
Listen once again to what Jesus said, "Even the stones will cry out." If even the rocks of creation know Jesus as creator then why wouldn’t we acknowledge Him as Savior and King?