Jesus came as the Cornerstone, rejected by people, but foundational to the new temple God is building; all who do reject him face judgment.
Luke 20:17 – 18
17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, ‘Then what is the meaning of that which is written:
‘“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone”?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.’
Jesus came to build something new. He came to fulfil all that God had promised – destroying the existing temple, and building a new, living temple in his own crucified and resurrected body (John 2:19-22), and with it, forgiving sins and inviting us into eternal fellowship with God as Father. A stunning, beautiful new reality – wrought entirely by the mercy of God.
But those who reject the one that God has sent – his Son – will not get to be part of this stunning new thing. Instead, they face judgment and destruction. In quoting Psalm 118:22, Jesus makes clear that God’s raising him up as cornerstone is a reason to rejoice… but it is also a devastating reality and sobering warning for all who reject the Son.
Peter quotes this same verse in his first letter, after he says this:
“As you come to him – the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 2:4-5)
What a wonderful promise! What hope, peace, and purpose God promises to all we who believe.
But not to those who do not believe. These are the ones who killed and rejected even the Son. Jesus spoke this parable against the religious leaders, but there are warnings also for us:
One. There is salvation in no one else. If you are not built as a living stone around Jesus Christ the cornerstone, you will be judged and broken by him. Have you trusted in Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, for your salvation?
Two. In our sinfulness, we often spend our time foolishly investing in our own little building projects… building things that won’t last into eternity; building with hay, straw, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:11-15) instead of directing our heart and joy and strength into what God is building. “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain”… so: what are you building? Are you spending your life building up God’s temple – the body of Christ?
Three. Judgment is certain, and hope can only be found in Jesus. This is a great impetus for us who know the hope and peace of belonging to Christ to share the hope we have and pray for those who currently stand in rejection of the Son.
Head & Heart: In your thought patterns, do you tend to think of God’s posture towards you being one of judgment and displeasure, or one of grace and welcome? Why might that be? Pray that God’s Word and Spirit might guide you more deeply into truth, in your mind and heart.
Hands: We, the church, are now God’s temple: living stones with Christ as cornerstone; a living body with Christ as head. How are you seeking to build others up? Is there anything you need to start or stop doing to invest more fully in what God has given you to do? Pray about this.
Heavenly Father, I don’t deserve your mercy. I am a sinner, and I only deserve your judgment. Yet you have loved and saved and welcomed me in Christ, and have given me a part to play as you build up the body of Christ. Thank you for your grace. Help me see the realities of salvation and judgment with eyes of faith, and prayerfully reach out to others in Jesus’ name. Amen.
A song to listen to: Cornerstone (Hillsong)
Living Church – Springfield