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  • Writer's pictureGWL



Matthew 21:33-46

Acts 4:1-12

I think it’s safe to say that most people interested in history like to discover a good cornerstone on an historic building. You can learn so much from a good cornerstone. The date of construction, the builder... often the committee or board responsible. On government buildings it almost always tells who the president was, and the secretary of the department the building was constructed for. Cornerstones can be a wealth of information. They often contain “time capsules” with pictures, coins, books from times long past.

But most of the cornerstones we see today are decorative or ceremonial... a real (or actual) cornerstone had a functional purpose. It was the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All the other foundation stones were set in reference to the cornerstone, which means that the cornerstone determined the position of the entire structure. For the building to be sound, for it to be solid, all the foundation stones had to line up with the cornerstone.

The stones placed in reference to the cornerstone could be different shapes and sizes, but because of its function as a reference point, the cornerstone needed to be of fairly good size, and relatively square. The whole building was going to rest on this stone, or be lined up with it, so most stones didn’t make the cut. Only one could be the cornerstone.

As an aside... I think it’s interesting that in the original languages of the Old and New Testament, the word for “stone” sounds almost identical to the word “son!” So when Peter quoted Psalm 118:2, saying, “Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone” - this wordplay would have been clear to the high priest and the Jewish leaders. Jesus himself, used these very same words in our first lesson today! And we’re told “the chief priest and the Pharisees... knew he was talking about them!” So when Peter used the phrase, they would’ve immediately known what Peter was saying.

Of course, what Jesus implied... Peter is brutally, and honestly, and explicitly clear about! Instead of “the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” - as Jesus said... Peter made it crystal clear: “Jesus IS the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” (v.11)

Of course, both Jesus’ words, and Peter’s words... beg the same question: Since Jesus is the Cornerstone, how should you and I respond to the grace God offers in Christ? Will we align ourselves with the cornerstone, or will you and I reject the Son of God?

Staying in line with Jesus keeps us in line with God’s purposes for our lives. God laid the cornerstone of salvation in Jesus, but the foundation and the building of the kingdom of God is built up of other stones, too... stones that Peter called “living stones” in our call to worship (1 Peter 2:4-6).

“Come to him... (as 1 Peter 2:4-6 puts it) though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture [ Isaiah 28]: “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

We are those living stones, when we’re in alignment with our Cornerstone, Jesus Christ, we become “living stones” building up the Kingdom of God.

But how do we do that, exactly? How do we stay in alinement with Christ?

Of course, we could always fall back on the standard answers of reading the Bible regularly, and praying without ceasing. We could talk about maintaining fellowship with one another. Never forsaking the assembly. Those answers are all good, and those activities are certainly part of staying aligned with God’s purposes.

Or - we can profess the absolute truth of the Gospel... as boldly and succinctly professed by Peter: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved!” Not Mohamed, not Buddha, not Abraham, or Isaac or Jacob, or David - only Jesus! “For there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

God’s Word makes it clear: you and I are called to intentionally align with the exclusive claim that Christ, and Christ alone, is the Cornerstone. The only name given this side of creation, by which we can be redeemed.

Of course, as the Redeemed, you and I are called to desire to be in God’s will. And the only way that can ever possibly happen, is for us to fully accept Christ for who is actually is. We must make a conscious effort to line up with our cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and give Christ the primary, central place our lives.

Our Cornerstone isn’t an ornament. It’s not exchangeable or replaceable. It isn’t an add-on or an interesting architectural detail. He is the very foundation. If Christ is to be our Cornerstone, he has to be the central focus of our faith and our lives.

God will always seek those who are willing to be found. Those open to living in a right relationship with him. He initiates the relationship... a relationship that depends entirely on what Christ has already accomplished! “It is finished,” said Jesus. And If we will align ourselves with Christ, the cornerstone, we find ourselves in a right relationship to God. And if we don’t align ourselves with Christ, we stand in opposition to him.

And make no mistake about it: God’s Word (the Bible) refers to those who align with Christ as the Elect! And the effectual grace of God is made evident in and through their lives. They produce fruit... or evidence, that they’re God’s Children. We don’t get to choose whether or not we’re part of the Elect anymore than a fig tree can determine the fruit it produces. If we produce the fruit of repentance, the Fruit of the Spirit, through Christ... we’re proving we’re part of God’s chosen Elect.

Jesus died for you, he arose from the grave, for you… to redeem you… to save you. There’s no other authority… no other power… no other law… no other king or name by which salvation may be, now or through-out all eternity, ascribed! Jesus is the authority through which those who hear and respond to God’s voice, are brought into alignment with God’s will.

The question for us today is the very same question that Peter raised before the leaders of his day. Have you aligned yourself with Christ as your cornerstone, and made him the guiding standard of your life? Is Jesus the “Name above ALL names” for you?

Because, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”


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