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 19:39-40
Stones are fascinating things. They are so hard, they form mountains only TNT can blast through. Yet, they can be smoothed and carved over time through the flow of a river or even just a dripping of water. We carry small stones, smooth and oval, in our pockets to rub soothingly. The casting of stones symbolizes judgment.
The first time the concept of the stones crying out was driven home to me was actually through the imagery evoked in one of Nicole Nordeman’s hits, “My Offering.” She sings:
Give the rocks and stones voices of their own, if we forget to sing praises to our King.
The idea that something so hard and silent can be made to speak just underscores the awesome power of our God. But the idea of stones crying out also reminds us that God wants our praise. Let that sink in a minute. The God who created Heaven and Earth, who tells the sun where to rise and the oceans how to flow, who needs nothing because He made everything desires your praises. I don’t know about you, but that realization always makes me want to shout!
There is another side to stones, however, that is equally important to the concept of praising God with our voices, and that is the practical side of living the Christian life not just by a profession of our faith with our lips but through our actions. Jesus explains it this way:
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” (Luke 6:46-49)
These students understand that the Sermon on the Mount is calling Christians to a way of life, not a demographic choice like checking a box.
A distorted view of “justification by faith” has been a popular subterfuge. Boiled down, this approach holds that Christ has no concern with how you live, only how you feel . . . . But this is not faith in God but “faith in faith” — a self-serving ‘believism.’ We are certainly justified by faith, but a faith that manifests itself by obedience to God’s commands (Luke 6.46; John 14.15, 21, 23; 15.10, 14; Gal. 5.6; Jas 2.14-26). That is clearly the message of the Sermon on the Mount.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8)