The Chief Cornerstone

November 13, 2021

Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder" (Matthew 21:42-44).

Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22 (which was sung at the first celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles after the completion of the Second Temple) and Isaiah 28:16 (which was God's response to the ‘covenant of death' made by the godless leaders of Israel). The ‘chief cornerstone' (literally: the head of the corner) is the foundation stone that connects two walls and defines the direction of their angles.

This represents Jesus Christ whom God sent to the Jews to be the foundational cornerstone upon which they were to rebuild their faith. But they rejected Him. Yet God made Him to be the foundation of the church (Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6). The appointment of Jesus to be our Chief Cornerstone was proven through His divine power and authority, His death and resurrection. That God chose His only Son to be humbled, despised, rejected, put to death, then resurrected, in order to be the foundation of the Christian church, embracing Gentile and Jew, and empowering His Gospel to spread throughout the world, is the object of great wonder and praise from all the redeemed of the earth.

Israel had been the children of the Kingdom, having God's law and acknowledging Him as King. But Jesus said that privilege would be taken away; they would cease to be the privileged people of God, and His blessing would be given to a nation who would produce the fruits of righteousness and holiness - the Christians (Acts 28:28).

The consequences of a person ‘falling on (literally: running against) this stone' is that he/she will be broken (Isaiah 8:14-15). In other words, those who neither honor nor embrace Jesus, who call Him a rock of offense to life, He will be the touchstone of judgment in life. The way of the unfaithful is hard (Proverbs 13:15).

The consequence of the stone ‘falling on' the person is that it will grind him/her to powder (literally: reduce him to dust); he/she will die. The allusion is to the custom of stoning a sinner to death. The person was thrown off a height (platform, cliff, etc.) by an official. If he/she died by the fall, so be it. If not, heavy stones were thrown down on him/her until he/she died. In other words, those who oppose Jesus, reject Him, and continue to live in unrepentant sin, will find Him to be an unmerciful judge on the final day of judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

But those who love Jesus and embrace Him as Lord and Savior will find Him to be the solid foundation upon which to build their lives. And He will set the direction of their lives straight. Amen.


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