28After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” 39Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”
Jesus continued on his journey to Jerusalem, knowing what would happen there. He came near the city on a Sunday – the day we call Palm Sunday. But he stopped outside Jerusalem, and told the disciples to go get a donkey – Jesus, who has walked all over Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, now wants a donkey to ride the last half mile into the city! Why? This was a fulfillment of the prophets, “Jerusalem, your king will come to you, humble and riding on a donkey.” Jesus knew where the donkey would be, and told the disciples what to say to the owners of the donkey. A donkey was highly valued by its owners in the villages of Jesus’ day; it must have been surprising to the disciples that by simply saying, “The Lord has need of it”, they were able to take it with them – but such was the power that Jesus had over people. The donkey’s owners were likely proud to have Jesus ride their donkey; perhaps they followed along and became a part of the crowd that day, shouting hosannah as Jesus rode into Jerusalem.
Jesus entered Jerusalem as her king – but a humble king – a ruler of the heart, not of the nation. And as he rode into the city, they spread their cloaks before him, and spread palm branches on the road, and waved the palm branches, shouting hosannah, hosannah to the King who comes in the name of the Lord. This crowd was made up of the people who had been following him, disciples and followers, curious and critical.
The Pharisees were there, and they were alarmed as the others shouted out the words quoted from a Davidic Psalm; these words were to welcome the king into Jerusalem! They feared the Romans; they were certain the Romans would be coming down on the entire group at any moment, thinking this was an insurrection. They told Jesus to make them stop – they said, Jesus, what are you thinking? The Romans will kill you! But Jesus knew already what would happen, and what was happening in that moment. He said, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out!” Jesus’ time had come, and the universe would shout to him. God would have a way to do his will – but the people there had that opportunity to shout out their love of Jesus, one last time.
Is God calling you to shout out? Dr. Bob Tuttle used to say, “Ain’t no stone gonna take my place!” Follow Jesus – don’t leave your job up to the stones.