Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Jesus: cornerstone

The Cornerstone by James Tissot
"The Cornerstone' by James Tissot

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Psalm 118:17-29

TO CHEW ON: “The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.” Psalm 118:22

Psalm 118 was a part of the Hallel prayed and sung during the Feast of Tabernacles.  In the first part of the psalm (Psalm 118:1-16) the king recalls his victories and remembers how God has helped the nation through all kinds of confrontations and enemy onslaughts.

Maybe it is the sight of the impressive temple building that inspires the cornerstone imagery in the second part of the psalm. The verse we are focusing on talks about this most important stone  (“It could have been a large stone over a doorway like a lintel; a keystone holding up an arch; or a cornerstone at the base of perpendicular walls” – Quest Study Bible, p. 837). The builders neglect to put it in, or reject it. The psalmist leaves unstated what will happen to that unfortunate building, but we can imagine!

In the New Testament Jesus quotes this verse as a reference to Himself (Matthew 21:33-46).  He says that just like the king’s subjects kill the king’s son (in the story he tells), the scribes and Pharisees are rejecting Him and by doing that turning their backs on the foundation or cornerstone of God’s plan of salvation.

We have recently celebrated Easter when were reminded of how Jesus was rejected by the people of His time and crucified. We may be tempted to look with haughtiness on them, thinking we would never do that if He were with us now. But I wonder, sometimes, if we don’t do just that in subtle ways, as we try to twist the gospel  into a more socially acceptable message for the people of our time – people who don’t like to be told that God has set an objective standard of right and wrong, that on our own we can’t attain that standard, and that God sent Jesus to die and rise again so we can be reconciled to Him. He (His incarnation, death and resurrection) is still and will always remain the chief cornerstone and foundation of God’s plan.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to earth to fulfill God’s plan to reconcile us to Himself. Help me, as Your child, to make You the cornerstone of my life. Amen

MORE: Angel of the Lord by Hillsong (sung by Miriam Webster)
 The beautiful song "Angel of the Lord" begins with words from Psalm 23. The chorus has a line of lyrics from our reading today: Psalm 118:17: "I will not die but live to tell what He has done."


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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