Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.” (Luke 19:39-40)
One of the foundations of the Christian faith is that God is acting on our behalf to bring life and love to us. This spirit is captured in the familiar worship call and response:
- L: “God is good.”
- C: “All the time.”
- L: “All the time.”
- C: “God is good.”
As we prepare to enter Holy Week we will find that Jesus’ actions are becoming an irritant to people in power.
The crowds that Jesus has gathered and the clear sense that these crowds see life and freedom in his work irritate civil authorities. There is a clear risk that he will foster an uprising and the throngs that come out to greet him will soon be rebelling and that will mean trouble.
The shouts of the people singing Jesus’ praises are a threat to the religious authorities, too. If the focus is on Jesus and the work that he claims God is doing through him, then the focus will be off of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the religious things that they want to be at the center of the people’s lives.
Whether your work is religious or secular, spiritual or political, Jesus has something that bothers almost everyone in power.
In the verses above, it is the religious authorities who urge Jesus to tell people to get in line and be quiet. They are especially threatened and bothered by the response of the crowds. But when they order Jesus to make the crowds be quiet, Jesus response is simple. Praise is the right response. If they don’t offer it then God will bring praise out of the stones that lie at their feet. God is praiseworthy and God will be praised. We can choose to join in the praise but we cannot choose for the praise to end. God in Christ will be praised.