Imagine the lowly son of a carpenter, riding into 1st-century Jerusalem on a donkey, very much resembling the words of a certain Zechariah 9:9. He is the embodiment of Old Testament prophecy—an insignificant figure from an insignificant town riding an insignificant animal, yet welcomed as a king.
As He passes into the city, swarms of people throw down their coats to grace His pathway and wave palm branches like royal banners, shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” The servant is finally being served. The son of man is finally recognized as the Son of God. Although He has lived thirty-somewhat years in anonymity, He is finally getting the worship He deserves.
Naturally, the Pharisees aren’t very thrilled. Their stewardship is threatened by the arrival of the rightful king, and their religious stranglehold seems suddenly quite flimsy. They refuse to accept Him for who He claims to be. He cannot be the Son of God. Therefore, in their eyes, His worship from the people falls nothing short of blasphemy.
“Teacher,” they say to Him—acknowledging Him as Rabbi but not as Lord—“rebuke your disciples!” Okay, they say, this has gone too far. We’ve put up with your healings and sermons these three years. But being worshiped? Accepting the praise and reverence and glory that belongs to God alone? We’re putting our foot down.
His response? “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” You can do what you want to try to pull the plug on My worshipers. Shut them out, shut them up, shut them down, whatever. But even if for some reason every human tongue in the world were silenced, the rocks would start singing. Nature would bellow My praises.
In other words, Jesus will have His glory.
How often we are guilty of thinking Christ cannot clench His scepter unless we give it to Him! We regard Him as a freelance King, hoping to get hired by whoever will open their door. We flatter ourselves into thinking that without us His mission would fail. So we run His church, we sing His praise, we preach His gospel, then pat ourselves on the back and say, “Good job. Where would Jesus be without you?”
But with those words to the Pharisees Jesus put the “triumph” in “triumphal entry.” He announced His own victory regardless of who was on board. He is King with or without the disciples, with or without the Pharisees, and with or without you and me. There is no physical or spiritual force in this universe that can prevent Him receiving the glory He is due.
That sounds egotistical, you say. Not at all the sappy, teary-eyed Jesus we’re used to hearing about. But it’s precisely that dominance and power that make His love so incredible. Think about it: a King who doesn’t need anyone’s worship, anyone’s affection, or anyone in general, who died because He wants us to participate in His love, His joy, His life. He wants us to find fulfillment by delighting in His sovereign glory.
I remember the time a contestant actually won a million dollars on the game show, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” He was on the final question, and chose to use the phone-a-friend lifeline (sorry if you’re too young to get the reference) to call his dad. But instead of asking for his father’s help he simply said, “Dad, I already know the answer to this question. I just wanted to call and let you know that I’m about to win a million dollars.”
He accomplished it all on his own. But he wanted the person he loved most to share the glory of the moment with him.
That’s what Jesus does.
Despite the world’s Pharisaical protests, this King will have His glory. Instead of a donkey, there’s a throne. Instead of cloaks and palm leaves laid before Him, there are hosts of angels bowed low. And even if no one else would speak up, nature itself would break into symphony over this King and His glory. That’s how unstoppable and undeniable He is.
And this King, dependent on no one, has graciously called us to join in His triumphant parade. He’s given us the privilege of singing along with creation’s chorus.
The rocks cry out. May we do the same.