But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
The context of this verse is what is commonly called the Triumphal Entry. Jesus is entering Jerusalem at the beginning of the last week of His life. He will teach in the temple, be examined by the priests, be betrayed, and be crucified. He will rise the following week. As Jesus enters the city, His disciples are shouting praises. The Pharisees tell Jesus that He should command His disciples to stop making such a ruckus and Jesus answers with this verse.
Would the stones literally have cried out? John the Baptist told the religious leaders that God could raise up sons for Abraham from the stones (Matthew 3:9; Luke 3:8). Joshua set up stones as a witness to the might of God (Joshua 4). But the most compelling statement comes from Paul, who wrote that all creation groans for redemption (Romans 8:19-22). Every created thing looks forward to the day when God will set it free from the presence of sin and the rocks might very well have shouted in triumph at the appearance of the Redeemer.
This is a reminder to me that the things God is doing should be allowed to prompt my enthusiasm and my praise, unfettered by concern about what others might think or say. David danced before the LORD (2 Samuel 6:14-16). He was so carried away with joy over what God was doing that he — the king of Israel — danced and jumped around in the streets. And this is the man reputed to be “after God’s own heart.” If I wish to have the heart of God in me, then I need to give place to the joy of the LORD when it bubbles over into expressions that may or may not be thought proper by those around. Let me praise my God as my God deserves. It is about Him and what He deserves. No one else.