Let’s back up the page a bit…
On his way to Jerusalem (and the cross) Jesus had stopped at the home of an unpopular man. Society judged Zacchaeus because he became rich by collecting taxes for the Romans. The church leaders judged him by citing his vocation in the same breath as sin, and they used this as another way of condemning Jesus by association. I am constantly amazed at how the effectiveness of the church is measured by the number of people who gather to cast judgment on those different than themselves. And I am just as amazed that Jesus again and again ignores the criticism of church leaders to enter into relationship with those he encounters. It begs the question of how we should measure the ministry of churches today… by how many righteous people associate together or how many sinners?
Biblical historians have suggested that Jesus chose his method of entering Jerusalem purposefully. By riding on a donkey he displayed himself as a king entering the city in peace. But even so, the religious leaders criticized his disciples and the crowds for calling out Messianic praises. In the scene that… having grown up in the 70’s listening to the lyrics of Tim Rice and the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, “JC Superstar” …brings to mind the phrase, “If every tongue were stilled the noise would still continue. The rocks and stones themselves would start to sing” the religious authorities demand that he silence the crowds. Jesus makes what will be a prophetic statement promising that, “If these were silent the very stones would cry out.”
This is where our passage takes a turn. The gospel writer states that Jesus comes to a spot overlooking the city and begins to weep. Linguists have stated that the Greek term used here for “weep” describes Jesus literally “anguishing” over the city. When Jesus points out that because they did not recognize the time of their visitation, the rocks and stones will cry out in testimony against them he is foretelling the destruction to come. Ancient historians describe the Roman attack of the city in 70 A.D. as so devastating that afterwards, “A plow could cross the temple grounds without disturbing a stone.”
The Spring Lake Presbyterian church is a beautiful edifice; especially the view from the east. Many Brides-to-Be have told their intended as they drive past the church, “I want to be married there.” The wise perspective partner listens! But we must remember… a wedding is not a marriage anymore that a building is a church. It is the acts of love that follow which define our relationships with each other and with God. Our passage offers the challenge that the testimony of the stones of this building will be ones of God’s welcoming love and grace.
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Spring Lake Presbyterian Church
760 E. Savidge St.
Spring Lake, MI 4945