The Stones Cry Out

cairn stones and body of water in distance

Jesus fulfilled what Zechariah prophesied when he rode on a colt at the triumphal entry. As he rode on the donkey people threw their cloaks on the colt. Many others threw their cloaks on the road and celebrated him for the works they saw him doing. They praised God saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38 ESV). Some of the Pharisees said, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” But Jesus replied, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (vs. 39-40).

What was prophesied was prophesied. The disciples were going to praise him no matter who tried to stop them. At first glance it seems like the story is going to build and build where Jesus puts on his superman outfit and defeats the enemy. Instead, when Jesus enters Jerusalem he is overwhelmed with sadness.

The Way, the Truth, and the Life was right in front of their eyes and they were about to reject him and hand him over to be killed. He wept over Jerusalem, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (vs. 42). Great sorrow came upon Jesus because he knew that Jerusalem would be destroyed because of their disobedience. The week leading up to Christ’s death and ultimate resurrection was a dark week.

The Triumphal Entry

Palm tree background

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, which recalls Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem before he was crucified. All four of the gospels record this story. Matthew says that it was to fulfill Zechariah 9:9. Luke records Jesus weeping over Jerusalem upon entering the city. And John records the raising of Lazarus immediately before the triumphal entry. Each author is telling a story within the story, putting an emphasis on something a little different than the other authors.

But in the story itself, Jesus is riding on the colt of a donkey, something that kings would do if they were entering a city in peace. If they were entering for war they would ride a horse, a sign of power and war. In Matthew’s account, the people laid their cloaks and palm branches on the ground, saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9 ESV). Hosanna means, “Please help!”

Upon entering the city Jesus cleaned out the temple. Again, according to Luke’s account Jesus first wept over Jerusalem because they didn’t know the things that make for peace. Instead of following Jesus, they chose to crucify him and Jesus knew that destruction was coming to the city. In 70 A.D. Jesus’ words came to fruition and the city was destroyed, including the temple. This Sunday we celebrate the peace we have in Christ our Savior.

The Triumphal Entry and Barren Fig Tree

silhouette of palm trees near shoreline

As Easter fast approaches, we cannot ignore the significance of the triumphal entry Jesus had as he approached Jerusalem. Jesus sent his disciples ahead and told them to find a donkey and a colt. This was to fulfil the prophecy in Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9 ESV).

Jesus was clearly fulfilling the prophecy that was spoken in Zechariah. The desperate people gave him a red carpet treatment as he rode by placing their cloaks and palm branches on the road. Matthew said the crowds were shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9 ESV).

Immediately after the entry, Jesus clears the Temple, overturning tables and driving out the money-changers. Matthew is alluding to the Temple being torn down and by Jesus’ doing this, he demonstrates that the Temple is not the safe haven Jews think that it is. While still in the Temple, the blind and lame came to him and he began to heal these “outcasts.”

Finally, Jesus curses the fig tree that had leaves but no figs. This was another way of showing that Israel was barren and the barrenness was not going to be tolerated. There is judgment on people who claim to love God but are barren in the fruits of their faith. All these things point to salvation that comes through Christ alone.