3/21 Luke 19:40

40 He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."

Jesus often made reference to Old Testament passages that more fully expressed what He meant. In this case, the crowds were praising Jesus as the Messiah. The religious leaders wanted Jesus to rebuke His disciples. Our verse today was Jesus' answer to them. At first glance it seems that Jesus was simply saying that He must receive praise. That is true, but there was an additional meaning that the leaders would have understood. When we look at the same words in the Old Testament book of Habakkuk, we find another message.

The prophecy that the stones will cry out in Habakkuk 2:11-16 is of judgment upon those who have gathered unjust gain and had done violence to the innocent. That prophecy declares that utter shame will come upon their glory. In Jesus' time, the religious leaders were making themselves rich from controlling the temple trade. They were already plotting to kill Jesus. While they received glory from men for their high standing in society, the coming destruction that Jesus wept over in the next verses in Luke would bring them utter shame. Right after weeping over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), Jesus cleansed the temple of all the merchandising that was going on there.

Jesus was saying that if the people were quiet, the stones would cry out in judgment against the religious leaders. Those leaders were not living for God but were using religion to profit and to gain respect from men. Wealth and fame are two of the greatest pitfalls that lure us into compromise.

Remember: If our faith is real, we will live for God and not simply for personal gain. We must always be on guard against the allurements of unjust gain and the respect of men, lest the stones cry out against us.