Rock and Role

Today is Palm Sunday. If it’s Palm Sunday, why are there a bunch of rocks on the scene in the biblical account instead of palm trees?   What do palm trees and rocks have in common? Let’s go back to that first Palm Sunday.

In Luke 19, Dr. Luke describes Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.  “When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.” The people were shouting, praising God and waving palm branches. Waving palm branches was a sign of victory. Do you know, in Christ, you are already victorious? This day was a parade, a celebration. The people thought Jesus was coming to claim his throne, but Jesus was on the way to his death, the crucifixion. However victory was his. He rose again the next Sunday. Thank God! And he’s still alive today. 

As the noisy crowd progressed along the route, haters and whiners (a.k.a. Pharisees) came and told Jesus to get the crowd under control. They did not want people to praise him. But Jesus told them, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!“ If you don’t acknowledge Jesus, the rocks will cry out. 

You are meant to be part of this parade. We’re supposed to be crying out. Jesus was and is the center of our worship. We raise our hands like palm branches in thanksgiving and worship. What makes you cry out or get excited? It’s March Madness right now. Does basketball get you excited enough to cry out? If you don’t cry out for Jesus, a rock will take your role. (Rock n role…get it?) We are made to cry out. Don’t let a rock take your place. Make Jesus the center of your parade, give him glory and honor. Worship him with all that is within you.

What is worship? Worship is an expression of your love. We’re made to worship and he doesn’t want us to waste our worship on things that aren’t important. Don’t cry out and celebrate at a basketball game and then come to church and stand like a statue waiting for worship to be over. Make Jesus the center of your life and celebrate him! 

The passage in Luke 19, verse 41 tells us Jesus started to weep. Why was he weeping? He was weeping over the hardness of the hearts of people. God was there in the midst but he knew they would be turning their back on him. People matter to God. And because they matter to God, they matter to us. Have you shed tears over souls? Have you known the joy of someone you have prayed for coming to know Jesus? Jesus was shedding tears for souls. He wanted them to know his love and care. 

If you continue to read over what happened the next week, the rocks did cry out. When Jesus died, the earth shook. Rocks were rocking. Tombs were opened and risen saints went around praising God. Don’t let a rock take your role. In our culture today, the church has stayed quiet on so many things.  Speak up! We need to tell the truth now. Don’t be quiet. God has changed your life. Declare what he’s done. Where would you be if it weren’t for Jesus? I never would’ve made it. One of the ways we can worship is by telling others what he’s done in our life. Live your life in a way that bears witness, but speak up as well. This week, ask people to come to church with you.  Who can you invite? 

Why did Jesus choose rocks to take on the role of praise if the people didn’t praise him? There are a lot of places in the Bible that talk about rocks. When Joshua crossed the Jordan with the children of Israel, the priests led them into the flood-stage river with the Ark of the Covenant and it dried up to let them pass through. As a memorial, they pulled rocks from the dry river bed and set them up on the opposite bank to testify how God brought them through.  What if one of those rocks could talk? It would say “Take a step, have faith. God will be with you. David pulled smooth stones from the valley to fight Goliath. What if that rock could talk? It might say, “No matter how big the giant is, God’s got you.” Nehemiah rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem with rocks while battling the enemy. Those rocks might say “You can do it. God will fight the battle. No weapon formed against you will prosper!” There was the woman caught in adultery and subject to being stoned with rocks. Jesus challenged those who were poised to kill her, “If you’ve never sinned you throw the rock.” Those rocks might have said, “God is forgiving. His grace is sufficient. He  gives you mercy and grace.” Moses hit the rock in the desert and water poured out. That rock might have said, “God will nourish you even in your desert season.” 

Think about the rock at the tomb, the one that was rolled away. It could give testimony of God’s resurrection power saying, “He’s alive! He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Do you know him?” 

Next weekend is Easter. It is a celebration and a time where so many people will give God a look, a chance. I’m praying that this week we will have an open door, that we will take advantage of an opportunity to tell someone or invite someone to come with us to church,  to tell someone the difference God made in our life. Be a hope dealer. Let them know where they can get hope. 

Jesus is the Rock of ages. Build your life on the Rock knowing that the storms can come and the winds can blow, but your foundation is solid. Have you received Jesus in your life? Today you can make Jesus your rock.