Rocks and Stones Will Cry Out
by Rev. Randy Brown
About 15 years ago, I went to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Boy’s Camp in Black Mountain, North Carolina. The music leader that week, was a man by the name of Herb Lord. Herb started the week with a song that I had never heard before. As he started the week, he read a Scripture, and it was the Scripture that Chandler just read. Then, he began with a song. Now, don’t worry. I’m not going to sing. You all have done a beautiful job of that, despite what Dana said.
The words were, “Ain’t no rock, don’t cry, in my place. As long as I live, I will glorify His Holy Name. Ain’t no bird going to flap its wings, in my place. As long as I live, I will glorify His Name. Ain’t no tree going to wave its branches, in my place. As long as I live, I will glorify His Name. Ain’t no rock, going to take my place.”
We’re continuing to talk about stones as we get to the end of our Lenten season. We’re going to see what Jesus said about stones but before we see what he said about them, we’re going to see how he got to that place. Let’s set the story. For just a moment, you’ve all read and heard it this morning, but there’s some other things I want to bring out for us to look at.
It was an exciting time in the city of Jerusalem. Passover fever was racing at an all-time high. There was more than a 1.2 million people who were coming to that ancient city of Jerusalem. It was bigger than Bonnaroo. Okay? Much, much bigger, than Bonnaroo. Jesus, to this point, had not drawn much attention to himself. Suddenly, that was getting ready to change. Jesus was now forcing the hand of the authorities to see what they were going to do about him and about his life and ministry.
As the Passover feast was coming, so was the parade, and Jesus was the Grand Marshall of the parade. He planned his own parade. He directed his own parade. By the way, he deserved the parade, didn’t he? He deserved the parade. As he got the parade ready, he had to even get his own transportation. It was the colt he had to borrow from some unnamed person. We don’t know who it was, but he had to borrow a colt.
If you think for a moment, Jesus was always borrowing things. As he walked along beside the beach, he asked the fisherman. He said, “I need to borrow your boat.” They let it out, just a little ways. He used it as a platform to preach his sermon. There was a young boy, who came to him one day. He said, “I need to borrow your lunch.” He fed 5,000 people. Before the week is over, he’ll borrow a room and have his final meal with the disciples. By this time next week, he will borrow a tomb and then leave it empty.
It’s strange to me that He, who had it all, He who created it all, came to this point of his life and he had to borrow something. He borrowed a colt, and He came into the city. I don’t know about you but as I picture this in my mind, I see that the colt wasn’t a very big animal. I don’t know if Jesus was a tall man or not, but I just sense the picture in my mind that Jesus was probably too tall for this colt, and His legs probably dangled off the side of the colt. Like a clown who’s riding a bicycle in the circus and his legs are too long for the circus bicycle. His legs dangling there.
He comes that way. He comes meek, and mild, and humble. Luke tells us that he heads to Jerusalem from the west. If you’re going from the west to Jerusalem, you have to go uphill. There’s that donkey who has to carry Jesus uphill. There’s a lot going on here. Let’s be careful and remember something about a parade. You ever been to a parade at the start of something? A parade means that something’s ending.
As you go to a parade ... This parade, it means that Jesus has come to the end of his life. If you go to the Homecoming parade, it means that the season’s just about over and the Homecoming Queen, she may be a senior this year, but next year, she’s a freshman. It’s just about over. If you go to a parade to celebrate the championship of a season, it’s after the season is over. When Spring training begins, everybody’s undefeated. A parade means that something’s over.
It may come in the form of a gold watch, which means you’re on your way out. Or, it may be a money tree, which means, “See you later.” Or, it may be a proclamation about a government official and it means, “Been nice knowing you, somebody else is going to take your place.” Be careful. Be careful about wanting a parade because it means that the end has come.
I think Jesus knew that. He rode this colt into Jerusalem that day. Probably at the beginning of the parade, there was some kids there. They got caught up in the moment. They began to peel off their cloak and lay it on the ground for the donkey to walk over. Then, another, and another, and another, and then the men would take off their cloak. The women would take off theirs. One of the teenagers climbed up in a tree and got palm branches. They began to wave them. That’s how the parade started. All is well.
The colt plods one step at a time, up that steep road, into Jerusalem. He’s carrying the weight of Jesus on his back. Jesus is carrying the weight of the world and the sin of the world. Not only does that colt struggle to make it up that steep mountain but Jesus is struggling as well, for he is carrying the sins of the world, as they near Jerusalem. They get close to Jerusalem, but Jerusalem is not close to Him.
The pain and the anguish is way too much. We’re told that when they get to the top and Jesus looks out over the city, it says, “Jesus wept.” There’s only two times in Scripture that Jesus weeps. One is for Lazarus and one is for Jerusalem. He sees the sin, the disobedience, the hurt, the anguish, and He weeps because they just don’t get it. They just don’t get it.
People have lined the road. They’ve reached out to him. They’ve seen his miracles. They’ve tasted his manna. They’ve spread their garments. They’ve tossed their garlands of praise. He is coming. He’s their King but, yet, they don’t quite get it. The time has come for Jesus to force the hands of the religious bureaucracy. There will be no more closed door meetings. There will be no more plotting against Him. They’ll either confess Him or curse Him. They’ll either crown Him or kill Him. As he and that straining colt make their way up to the crest of Jerusalem, He’s full of anguish. As Jerusalem comes into focus, Jesus seems to rise like coming up out of a summit. He’s there.
All of a sudden, the praises began. The applaud is deafening. The whistling goes. The screams of praise. If you think you’ve seen a flash mob before, you ought to picture this in your mind as a flash mob. They just began to erupt in praise and adoration and spontaneous worship. There’s no leader to read the liturgy. Love was enough to get that done. Joy was enough to guide them through this moment. There were no surprises. Somebody had to be there. Somebody had to stand in opposition. It was the religious establishment of the day, described in the Pharisees.
You know what? When Jesus entered and they began to see him and the flash mob came and the applause and the adoration and the praise was going toward Heaven, you know what His opposition did? His opposition went to him and said, “Jesus, could you quiet the crowd?”
You ever been to a football stadium? The opposition calls time out and says, “Could you get your people to be quiet? We need to run the play.” You talk about a home field advantage. This was the home field advantage. It was on Jesus’ home field. He wasn’t about to tell them to be quiet. The whole world was worshiping. Those who stood in opposition, stood there in silence and sternness. Kind of like Methodists on Sunday morning. They were the “frozen chosen.”
They had so much education but so little understanding. So much learning but so little life. They said to Jesus, “Don’t make this any harder than it is. You know, we got an election coming up next year. Help us out here. Just tell your folks to calm down, cool down and chill out. Go home.” Jesus said, “If I do that, then the rocks and the stones will cry out.” No way for Jesus not to get praise because the Scripture tell us, “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the Heavens are telling the Glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handy work.” If we cease to voice our praise, the rocks and stones will cry out.
Jesus deserves to be praised. To be worshiped. God inhabits the praises of his people. When we praise Him, we let Him know that, “We got it.” We let him know that we understand who He is. That’s what worship is. That He is worthy of our praise.
Now, you know the story from here. You know it takes a sudden turn. You know that those who cried “Hosanna” and that those who cried out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” That within a few days, they’re going to be saying, “Crucify, crucify, crucify.” We don’t know exactly what happened but something happened, and the mob began to praise in a different way, began to shout in a different way.
So, we need to ask ourselves this morning, “Which group will we join? Will we be on the Sunday crowd or the mid-week crowd?” If we go to the mid-week crowd, or if we just remain silent. Jesus says ... Don’t worry Nick, I’m not going to drop it. Jesus says, “The rocks and stones will cry out.” Ain’t no rock going to take my place. What about you? Is it going to take your place? You’re going to let this take your place? It’s time for our church to raise our voices. Do I get an Amen?
All right. I had somebody tell me last week, “Preacher, I wanted to Amen you today but I didn’t know what people would think.” Don’t worry about what people think. If the spirit moves you, just do it, because if you don’t, the rocks and stones will cry out.
How do we raise our voices? Well, the Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes, “There’s a time to be speak and a time to stay silent.” Can I suggest to us that the world we live in, it’s time to speak up. It’s time to speak up. It’s time to right a wrong. It’s time to defend the weak. It’s time to heal the hurting. It’s time to be a friend to the lonely. It’s time to praise our Savior. It’s time to affirm our Creator. It’s time to give credit where credit is due. Because if we don’t, then the rocks and stones will cry out.
Are we going to let that happen? Or, are we going to take care of that? I want to practice. You all don’t mind that, do you? Participate with me. I’m going to point at this group, and you all say, “Amen.”
You all say, “Hallelujah.”
We all say, “Glory to God.”
Glory to God. Amen. Hallelujah. Glory to God. Hallelujah. Amen. Glory to God.
You know what the Scripture says? It says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” You’ve just proven to me that you can do it.
Amen. Hallelujah. Glory to God.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. That’s what the Book says, and the Book never lies. Amen.
One more time.
Amen. Hallelujah. Glory to God.
Lord, we love you and we thank You. We don’t want rocks doing our work. When we go forth from this place, use our voices to bring praise to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.