In Luke’s Gospel, the passage that immediately precedes the Triumphal Entry account is the parable of the Ten Minas. Jesus began the parable by saying, “A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us’” (Luke 19:12-14) Now that I’ve wet your appetite, I’ll let you finish the parable account for yourself. What’s important to note is there was a rebellion against the reign of this nobleman. His citizens did not want to acknowledge his rule or authority.
Fast-forward a few verses (Luke 19:28-40) to the Triumphal Entry and the beginning of Passion Week. Jesus enters Jerusalem with great fanfare as thousands of people go crazy over His arrival. It seems as though many did want to acknowledge His reign and rule. Could this be the long awaited Messiah? Some (perhaps many) seemed to think so. Quoting from Psalm 118:26, the people shouted in praise, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38) It seemed as though they finally got it. This Jesus is not just a man – He is the very Son of God!
At the same time, however, another picture emerges. There was a group of people who had made it clear – “We do not want this man to reign over us.” They were convinced their system of religion worked just fine and there was no need for a new King. Luke gives the details of what happened next. “And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.’” (Luke 19:39-40)
Even before the time of Jesus, there was a monumental effort to silence God. The Old Testament provides a predictable pattern – God raises up a prophet to speak His Words and the people kill the prophet. Time and time again this happened because the people could not bear to hear the words of God. The words of the prophet convicted them so much that it was often easier to kill him and remain in sin than to heed his words. Little has changed since that time. Like the prophets of old, Jesus was killed so the religious leaders could protect their little kingdom, and for the past two thousand years, Christian’s have been killed for speaking God’s word. Even today there are tens of thousands of Christian martyrs each year.
What the enemy knows is that killing Christians is not always the best approach. History proves that martyrdom often increases the advance of the gospel. So the enemy does what he can to silence the word of God. Satan works hard to muzzle voice of our Christian witness. He knows that the gagging of God (I borrowed this term from D.A. Carson) is an effective tactic. Let me give you one example of what I mean. A few weeks back, Kirk Cameron appeared on CNN on the Piers Morgan Tonight show. With Kirk Cameron being an outspoken Christian, you know Morgan is going to bring up homosexuality. And when Cameron articulated his position, predictably, Morgan proceeded to tell him how wrong he is for believing what the Bible says about homosexuality. Obviously, this is an example that generated a lot of attention and we are never surprised when the media attacks Christianity and claims that Christians are intolerant and unloving. However, the efforts to muzzle and silence the word of God happen in a million different ways all over the world. Just to personalize it, think of all the times you have felt pressure not to talk about Christ with someone. I am sure you can think of many examples and Christians all over the world feel this same pressure. What we often forget is that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) And what we need to remember is “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Going back to Luke 19, it is clear that the Pharisees thought Jesus had let things get way out of hand. They could not stand the fact that people were praising and acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah so they tried to silence the people. Jesus knew that was simply not possible, “If these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Today, there is a halleluiah choir that resounds in heaven and all over the world. Millions of people sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:8,11) No doubt Satan hates this and the world hates this, but it can’t be stopped. God will be worshipped, adored, magnified, and glorified both now and for all eternity.
What about you? Have you joined the halleluiah choir?