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May 15, 2020

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Bible Gem 1144 - Before all the Rocks (Luke 19:35-44)

July 14, 2019


"If you, EVEN YOU, had only known on this day (the day of the Triumphal Entry) what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes." 


 "[these things will happen to you] because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."

What is Luke saying? Where does he get this idea from?  


What does the statement "did not recognize the time of your visitation" mean in Luke 19:44?

Because you didn’t recognize or see:

it was your day of mercy. (BBE)

the time when God came to save you! (GNB)

the time of your visitation.  (LITV)

and welcome God's personal visit. (MSG) 

and accept your opportunity for salvation. (NLT)

when God was visiting you, the time in which God showed Himself gracious toward you and offered you salvation through Christ]. (AMP)


Is that clearer now? The Jews were looking for the establishment of Shalom – peace.  But not just peace as in peace of mind, or the absence of war. Rather peace in the sense of the fulfillment of all things, when the consummation of all God intended would be brought into action and would mark the ushering in of the Kingdom of God – when life on earth would be lived in peace and harmony and fullness as God intended it at creation. THAT PEACE. They were waiting for Messiah to come. They were hanging out for it, but the moment was hidden from their eyes. This was the moment! This moment, the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, was highly significant. This was the moment they were all waiting for when they could shout with joy "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD". In other words, blessed is He who comes in the NAME, Ha Shem. THAT NAME. THE LORD. Adonai or YHWH. They were waiting for that moment when they could all shout with conviction and joy: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. In other words when they welcomed in Messiah. 


Let's for the moment cut to the comment made by the Pharisees for Jesus to rebuke His followers for saying these things. What things? Calling Him Messiah of course. The Pharisees got upset each time he people acknowledged Him as Saviour. The stories Luke has chosen have been building to this point. After a series of Parables related to the Kingdom of God, judgement and the after life, Luke records the story of blind Bartimaeus who refers to Jesus as Son of David, Messiah. Then we have this account of Jesus entering Jerusalem. The disciples have got the donkey, the donkey which fits the Zechariah prophecy. Now the crowd whose expectation has been building since Galilee are throwing their garments on the ground to welcome and honour the Coming King. It is this that the Pharisees react to, calling for Jesus to rebuke them for saying such things. But Jesus would only rebuke them if what they were saying were not true. Rather they are speaking the truth. This is indeed the Messiah, the Coming King. Only He is not coming to reign yet.  


Given the fact that all of these statements are true, results in Jesus saying, if you had only known the significance of this day it would have both given you peace and the promise of ultimate peace in the Age to Come. But you were pre-disposed to reject it because as He has told them twice now, even what they have will be taken from them. The truth will be hidden from them because of the hardness of their heart and their rejection of the truth. They will be confirmed in their blindness – seeing they will not see and hearing they will not hear. This has been building over the journey to Jerusalem; it has not been caused by a short term reaction they have had to the crowd now or to the statements of blind Bartimaeus a day or so beforehand. No, they have brought this on themselves. Will Jesus indeed rebuke His disciples? Hardly likely!   


Rather He says, "If they keep quiet, (as if that would happen . . . but if it did . . . )  the stones along the way would burst into cheers. Why would the stones cry out? What would they cry out? This is a reference to  the fact that creation itself is longing and groaning, crying out for its redemption from the curse. I don't believe it is for us to interpret this saying literally. But it is indeed a fact that the world and all of creation is awaiting its redemption from the curse. Rocks crying out, mountains and hills shouting for joy, trees clapping their hands, maybe even some of their hands have been cut off and spread on the road.


This reminds me of a song we used to sing in church years ago:

Before all the rocks being to cry out,

before all the stones begin to sing out,

before all of nature lifts up its voice in praise to Your name. . .

I will lift up my voice to praise Your name.  


If we don't do it creation will.  


For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Isa 55:12

The very stones in the walls cry out against you, and the beams in the ceilings echo the complaint.  Hab 2:11  


For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children really are. 

Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, 

the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 

For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  (Romans 8:19-22)


The message is that if the Lord's disciples or followers had stayed silent, creation itself would have sung praise to its creator. I think creation knew this was the day of the appearing of the Messiah. Tomorrow I will add more when we look at the King connection. Effectively, Jesus was saying, I will not tell My disciples to be silent, but if they were creation would applaud the day: The return of Messiah.  But you missed the day of your visitation. The Day when God made a personal visit to you and brought mercy and gave you an opportunity for receiving the offer of salvation, but you missed it. You didn’t or won't recognize the Day of His Appearing.


But just a minute Ian. I don't get it. Didn’t they recognize the day? Isn't that why they are calling out Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Isn't that the saying which epitomized them looking forward to that day. Yes, in a sense that is true; as we will see even more so tomorrow. But how long did it last? Even for the throngs of people in Jerusalem for Passover who shouted these words, how quickly their adoration turned to anger as they called for His crucifixion. It was a short term, fleeting reaction at best and a small scale, limited scope reaction at that. It certainly didn’t reach the religious leaders of the country despite the fact that the populace were convinced He was Messiah.  In fact Jesus makes the statement in the past tense as though it is already done despite that fact that the crowds are recognizing Him as King now. But Jesus knows where all this is heading. It's already in the history books as far as He is concerned. 


And why the second reference to stones? What is that about? The second reference to "stones" refers to coming judgment when the temple they were so proud of would be in ruins with not one stone left upon another. If you don't fall in line with all of creation and with God's will then all that remains is judgment. This was / is the moment of God's visit to you in the form of Messiah but you (leaders) have rejected Him. All that is left now is judgment. Events are moving inexorably to their conclusion, the inevitable outcome you leaders have set in place. 


Remember I asked you why Luke doesn’t draw attention to the Zechariah prophecy as Matthew and John do. Is it true that Luke makes no reference to any Old Testament prophecy? Why is that? Continuing story tomorrow as we look at Luke's substitution of the word "King" for the coming One". I won't deal with that now because this Gem has already grown longer than I intended. Hang in there, I will add the capstone tomorrow.      



The human race crave the experience of awe & wonder. And there is no reality more breathtaking than Jesus Christ. John Piper


Never let disappointment be louder than your worship. Darlene Zschech 


Join yourself with Jesus and you become part of a cause that will ultimately triumph. God has planned it to be so. I have read the end of the book and I know who wins, but I won't spoil the story for you. Ian


Missions exist because worship doesn't. John Piper


Don't let the rocks, trees and mountains and hills sing praise to God before you do. 


Come on, before all the stones begin to sing out, before all of nature lifts up its voice in praise to His name . . .  If we don't do it creation will.   


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