28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:28-40)
“I tell you if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Bo Giertz tells us Jesus answered in a riddle. What did Jesus mean when he said the very stones would shout. First he affirmed that every thing they were saying was true. The crowd was hailing their messiah. There would be shalom. Shalom itself had a double meeting, it meant peace and it meant freedom. Freedom and peace go together in Jewish thought. There is a sense that one cannot have peace if he is not also free. So the shouts of the rabble were easily misconstrued, or maybe not? Were they shouting for peace or freedom?
One is given to thinking about Christ’s words concerning sin and being a slave to sin. His words concerning truth and how it sets you free. We have peace with when we are free of sin, and Truth sets us free. He is the way the truth and the life.
But one could hear a nationalistic cry for freedom in the shouts. The Messiah and his coming were often if not always received with a nationalistic fervor. The Pharisees were on edge. Would there be more bloodshed, another revolution gone bad. Israel had had enough of those movements.
Even the stones would cry out. It could mean that if the disciples shut up, the gentiles would greet the Messiah. Gentiles were often called stones. But the riddle held even more ominous undertones. If Jerusalem did not receive her messiah she would be left in ruins, only the stones would be left to cry out as to what had happened.
Of course this was a large reality for much of the History of Jerusalem. It would be left in ruins because ultimately they would not receive their messiah when he proved not to be the freedom fighter they wanted. In 70 A.D. the city would lay in ashes, a declaration to all that they had not received their messiah. But the stones began crying out long before that. The stones would soon begin to cry out on the third day, when it was a stone rolled away to expose an empty tomb of stone. Yes here the stones begin to cry out and tell who the messiah is, the one who had conquered the graves hold on life, Jesus who is no longer among the stone.