Matthew 21:42-46 - Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: "'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him." When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that He was speaking about them. And although they were seeking to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they held Him to be a prophet.
Though cornerstones are often ornamental today, in some kinds of building, the cornerstone is absolutely necessary. It holds the building together, either from the bottom, as a foundation stone, or from the top where two walls meet, as a capstone. You have to choose your cornerstone wisely; if it is weak or broken or has hidden flaws, the whole building could fall apart.
In Jesus' parable, the builders are the religious leaders of His day, and the rejected stone is Jesus Himself. Why would they reject Him? There are any number of reasons, and some of them are still reasons people reject Jesus today. First of all, there was His sheer ordinariness. Nobody meeting Him on an average day would have thought "Son of God" immediately and fallen to his knees. Here was a Man like other men—a Man who was born, ate, slept, worked, got tired, suffered, and even died. How could that be God?
Even as a Man He didn't look like much. He was not rich, not powerful, not from a privileged background. He worked as a carpenter and then a traveling preacher. His formal education probably ended with the synagogue school in Nazareth. He came from a conquered country and died a shameful death. How could this Man be anything great?
But there were even more reasons to reject Him. Jesus spoke the truth, regardless of whom it offended. He would not defer to the rich or powerful.
And look at the people He hung around with! There were fishermen, zealots, tax collectors, women—even slaves and foreigners, as time went on. He did His first miracle in a crowd of rowdy wedding guests, and told His great secret—that He was the Messiah—to a Samaritan woman with a checkered past. And then He died on a shameful cross between two thieves.
No wonder the religious leaders rejected Him.
But then there's us. What will we do with Jesus? That's the question that every human being has to face. Will you reject Him—because He is unattractive or out of fashion or apt to get you into trouble with your friends or family? Will you turn away because He is "common," and His followers tend to be the uneducated and poor? Does His death put you off, or the sacrifice that every Christian believer must learn to live within their own lives, taking up their crosses and following Him? Does that put you off?
Or will He be your cornerstone? As Peter quotes God, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame" (1 Peter 2:6). God has raised Jesus from the dead and made Him the cornerstone of the church, and ultimately of the whole human race. He has told us that Jesus is His Son, one with the Father, and that everyone who trusts in Him will live forever.
So, what do you think of Him?
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, build me, too, upon Your Son, the Cornerstone. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What is the best-built building that you know? Why?
2. What is the worst-built building you know? Why?
3. How has Christ functioned as a cornerstone for your own life?
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