Palm Sunday “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”
Scripture: Luke 19:28-40
28 After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. 29 As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. 30 “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. 33 And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”
34 And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35 So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on.
36 As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. 37 When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”
39 But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”
40 He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”
Reader: This is the word of the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
You’ll recall that when Jesus told the disciples that they would all be going back to Jerusalem, Thomas’ comment was “We’ll go back and die with you.” We pick up the unfolding of history as Jesus does go back to Jerusalem. Here we see him entering the city on the back of a young donkey. From this account it is very clear in Jesus’ mind what is happening and what will happen. Everything unfolded exactly as he said. There is an interesting paradox here. 1,000 years earlier, King David rode on this very road on a donkey as he fled Jerusalem because his son, Absolom, who was leading a rebellion to overthrow David and gain power for himself. Donkey’s were the vehicle of choice for the king coming in peace. Mules and horses were vehicles for battle. Absolom came after David on a mule. King David left Jerusalem via the road by the Mount of Olives and 1,000 years later, his earthly descendent, King Jesus, entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Absalom was killed in battle and David returned as King. In this case King Jesus was killed and we await his return to set up his eternal kingdom. The people cheered hoping that Jesus’ kingdom would begin shortly and that the Romans would be defeated.When the people’s plans for what Jesus should do didn’t materialize, they turned on him resulting in his death. I would guess that the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter morning has to be the darkest day in the history of the world. All hope was gone. But that all was later. Now there is rejoicing and celebration. There is great hope for the peace that the Messiah would bring. The Pharisees read what was happening because they realized that the people were cheering a Messiah believing at that moment that Jesus was the long prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament. They considered the cheering blasphemous and told Jesus to tell his cheering crowd to be quiet. Jesus, understanding the situation perfectly, responded that if the people quiet the very stones on the ground would cheer. This entrance into Jerusalem had been prophesied to this exact day in the book of Daniel! Though the people cheered they still did not understand and things unraveled very shortly. Within forty years Jerusalem was ransacked and the Temple totally
destroyed because in Jesus’ words, “you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.” Thus begins Jesus’ final week on earth.
Music: “Hosanna in excelsis” from Placido Domingo Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Prayer: My Lord and Savior, like the people of Jerusalem that day, all too often I presume, predict, expect, hope you would do things in a certain way. There is far too much “me” in my thinking. They had your word but presumed too much. Jesus, help me to just be quiet and listen and wait for you. Help me to be able to live peacefully without knowing what lies ahead. Help me to live willingly at your pace of change. I say with those in crowd on that Palm Sunday “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven.