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Communion (1995 Series)

The Stones

Scheduled for March 23, Palm Sunday

(Luke 19:37-40 NIV)  When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: {38} "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" {39} Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" {40} "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

 

It is one of the most astonishing statements in the history of mankind.  Consider it well.  Throughout all the Old Testament we have images of nature praising God -- figures of speech which include the trees clapping their hands.  If nature gains a voice, it is only to praise her creator.  Here, then, is a man, riding on a donkey in triumph and peace, into Jerusalem.  The religious leaders of the day tell this man to rebuke his disciples, to quiet them down, to keep them from blasphemy.  His reply:  if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.

 

The stones will cry out?  For whom would the very rocks themselves break into praise?  Such a miracle is unknown in history.  It would imply the end of the universe, of nature, as we know it.  The laws of physics themselves would be set aside.  How can a man make such a statement?

Unless, of course, the man is Jesus, the Christ.  It is his explicit claim to be the creator of the physical universe, of all that exists.  This is indeed what has been taught of him since the beginning of the church:

(Col 1:16-17 NIV)  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. {17} He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Here, then, is the explicit claim of Jesus Christ to be the creator of all things -- the one from whom you and I borrow the very idea of existence.  And what is he doing?

 

He is riding to his death.  He came for the explicit, expressed purpose of dying for the sins of mankind -- for you and for me.  It is his sacrifice, in coming to be among us as well as dying for us, that we celebrate at communion.  We are apt to think of Palm Sunday as being a time of triumph.  It is;  but it is a time which foretells the triumph to come, when He returns again.  For this moment, the triumph is transitory.  His disciples praise him;  the rocks do not.

 

In the Lord’s Supper we proclaim his death until He comes.  When he does, will the “very rocks” cry out?  And when they do, will you be prepared to receive your king with joy, or with shame?

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