Jesus the Cornerstone
“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a winepress in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went away. When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other slaves, more than the first, and they treated them in the same way. Then he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.” 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 amazing in our eyes’? “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces its fruits.”
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’ Jesus quotes from Psalm 118, aware that this text would have been known to the religious leaders, the chief priests and elders gathered. In Jesus’ day, builders used cornerstones in their construction projects.
The cornerstone was the principal stone, usually placed at the corner of a structure, to guide the workers in their course. The cornerstone was larger than the other stones, the most solid, and the most carefully constructed of any in the building. Once the cornerstone was in place, it became the standard for determining every measurement for the construction and everything was aligned to it. We tend to overlook the importance of a cornerstone on a building these days because current construction techniques can be used to make sure a building will be level and plumb, but the importance of the cornerstone was not lost on Jesus’ audience. In 1 Peter 2:4-6, Christ is referred to as a cornerstone chosen by God to secure a promise and that those who trust Christ will never be put to shame.
When we read that Christ is the cornerstone, it means that Jesus is our right and true foundation—perfect—and whatever is built in alignment with him will be right and true too. Take a moment and think about what you want to build your life on. We should be building our lives on Jesus the cornerstone and the gospel so that our lives will reflects God’s love wherever we find ourselves. For Jesus to be our cornerstone means that he is the foundation, the measuring guide – the standard by which we order and align our lives in the building of God’s kingdom. Jesus is the foundation that makes our faith stronger, and he invites us to walk in faith with him each day. Amen.
Almighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, p. 230)