“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: ‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’ ” (Luke 19:37–40, NIV84)
Most of the time in my life, the distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world is vague and blurry. I’m certain that is the result of getting too connected to the kingdom of this world and not seeing what is plainly out there to be seen. But then there are those times when the distinction is sharp and clear. God has blessed me with many moments of clarity when I have been able to see His kingdom in clear focus and sharp detail.
The Pharisees were given a moment like this in our text. Jesus had many arguments and debates with them over religious doctrine and practice. But on this day, the Pharisees were given the opportunity to try to see the kingdom of God more clearly. Jesus was riding into the city of Jerusalem being hailed as “king”. The crowd was spontaneously crying out that Jesus was the promised King from God who would bring peace to both heaven and earth. They were praising God and declaring Jesus to be the Messiah. The Pharisees got the message. They understood exactly what was happening. But instead of joining the crowd in honoring the Messiah, they requested that Jesus tell the people to stop. They refused to accept Jesus to be the promised Messiah, so they vehemently requested that Jesus stop the proceeding. Please note Jesus’ response, “If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!” Jesus was clearly telling them that He was the Messiah and that there would be honor and praise on that day, one way or the other. If no one would have been found to honor and praise Jesus on that day, creation itself would have begun to cry out!
What an amazing contrast between the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of heaven! May we today and always be found among those who recognize God’s kingdom at work and rightly honor and praise Him for His mighty works on our behalf.