Peace – Prayer – Joy – Love
Palms & Stones

What Would The Stones Shout?

A. What kind of king rides into town on the colt of a donkey?

       1. What’s all this ruckus about palm branches & cloaks?

                  a. The history of welcoming kings & the Maccabean legacy of war

       2. The kind of king that Israel expected …

                  a. Political King – Saul, David, Solomon

                  b. Religious King – Abraham, Moses

                  c. Warrior King (from Seleucid Empire) – Maccabean revolt to Dynasty

                  d. Imagine that King … imagine the citizens of that king (paint a picture)

       3. The kind of king that we expect …

                  a. Political King – John Calvin in Geneva

                  b. Religious King – Historic Pope & Holy Roman Emperor

                  c. Cultural King – Invented King in Our Own Nationalistic Image

                  d. Imagine that King … imagine the citizens of that king (paint a picture)

       4. The king we all got isn’t the kind of king that we expected

                  a. He is Champion of the Champion-less & Father to the Father-less

                  b. He is he Author of the Beatitudes – whose citizens would be:

                           Poor in spirit (or just Poor – Luke)

                           Mourning (or Weeping – Luke)


                           Those who hunger & thirst for righteousness (or Hungry – Luke)


                           Pure in heart


                           Persecuted for righteousness sake (Hated & Defamed – Luke)

                  c. He Reminds me of The New Colossus: Sonnet-Emma Lazarus 1883

                           The Tired

                           The Poor

                           The huddled masses yearning to breathe free

                           The Wretched Refuse

                           The Homeless

                           The Tempest-Lost

B. I was curious & so asked what would the rocks have cried out?

       1. Stones have a long and prominent heritage

           in the Hebrew Historical Narrative

                  a. The very first Altars

                           1. Noah after the flood – Genesis 8:20

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

                           2. Abraham enters Canaan – Genesis 12:7-8

Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord.

                           3. Isaac celebrates God’s faithfulness – Genesis 26:24-25

And that very night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham; do not be afraid, for I am with you and will bless you and make your offspring numerous for my servant Abraham’s sake.” So he built an altar there, called on the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent there. And there Isaac’s servants dug a well.

                           4. Jacob’s altar at Bethel – Genesis 35:1-3

God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and settle there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your clothes;then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”

                           5. Moses’ altar after receiving 10 comndmnts – Exodus 20:24-25

You need make for me only an altar of earth and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your offerings of well-being, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. But if you make for me an altar of stone, do not build it of hewn stones; for if you use a chisel upon it you profane it.

                           6. Moses’ altar at the foot of Mt. Sinai – Exodus 24: 3-4

Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”And Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord. He rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and set up twelve pillars, corresponding to the twelve tribes of Israel.

                           7. Joshua’s altar crossing the Jordan – Joshua 4: 20-24

Those twelve stones, which they had taken out of the Jordan, Joshua set up in Gilgal, saying to the Israelites, “When your children ask their parents in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel crossed over the Jordan here on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you crossed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we crossed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, and so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

                           8. Gideon’s altar to replace his father’s – Judges 6:25-27

That night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole that is beside it;and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the sacred pole that you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten of his servants, and did as the Lord had told him; but because he was too afraid of his family and the townspeople to do it by day, he did it by night.

                           9. David’s altar on the threshing floor – 2 Samuel 24:18-25

That day Gad came to David and said to him, “Go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” Following Gad’s instructions, David went up, as the Lord had commanded. When Araunah looked down, he saw the king and his servants coming toward him; and Araunah went out and prostrated himself before the king with his face to the ground. Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” David said, “To buy the threshing floor from you in order to build an altar to the Lord, so that the plague may be averted from the people.” Then Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take and offer up what seems good to him; here are the oxen for the burnt offering, and the threshing sledges and the yokes of the oxen for the wood. All this, O king, Araunah gives to the king.” And Araunah said to the king, “May the Lord your God respond favorably to you.”

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy them from you for a price; I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver. David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and offerings of well-being. So the Lord answered his supplication for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel.

                  b. In the New Testament

                           10. Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers – Mark 12:1-11

Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
    and it is amazing in our eyes’?”

                           11. Jesus proclaims his church – Matthew 16: 16-18

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

                           12. We are living stones – 1 Peter 2:4-5

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, andlike living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

       2. Conclusion

                  a. And so I ask, Shall we be less than stones?

                           Shall we be outdone by mere stones?

                  b. No! We are living stones in the new temple!

                           So let us raise our voices for the Gospel Good News of Jesus!


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