THE STONE THE BUILDERS REJECTED
MICHELANGELO & DAVID
It was his iconic 17-feet statue of David that defined the Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo (1475 – 1564) as a master sculptor.
16th century painter and architect Giorgio Vasari wrote of it, “Whoever has seen this work need not trouble to see any other work executed in sculpture, either in our own or in other times.”
DAVID WAS AN UNWANTED STONE
THE SON OF
A PRECIOUS CORNERSTONE
Isa 28:16 (Brenton Septuagint Translation)
Therefore thus saith the Lord, even the Lord, Behold, I lay for the foundations of Zion a costly stone, a choice, a corner-stone, a precious stone, for its foundations; and he that believes on him shall by no means be ashamed.
THE STONE THE BUILDERS REJECTED
Ps 118:22-23 (NKJV) The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvellous in our eyes.
A STONE OF STUMBLING
Isa 8:14-15 (NKJV) “He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; They shall fall and be broken, Be snared and taken.”
1) HIS HOMETOWN
Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.
Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.
Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’ I tell you the truth, no prophet is accepted in his hometown.
I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.
And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.
All the people
in the synagogue were furious when they
They got up, drove him out of the town…
… and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff.
But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.
2) HIS FAMILY
Jesus’ brothers misinterpreted his ministry as an attempt to gain publicity:
3) RELIGIOUS LEADERS
They accused those who believed on him of being ignorant.
Days before his crucifixion, Jesus rides into
in what is
known as the
Matt 21:8 (NIV)
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
Matt 21:9 (NIV) The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” …
* The Jewish Publication Society of America Version (JPS)
of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) was the first translation
of the Tanakh into English by a committee of Jews
Some Pharisees undoubtedly understand the references to Israel’s king riding on a donkey in Zechariah 9 and the allusions to the messianic psalm (118). But they reject Jesus as king and ask Jesus to get his disciples in check.
I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.
After these events in Matthew 21, Jesus makes the connection to Psalm 118 clear - when he identifies himself as the stone the builders rejected.
Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted
He put a wall around it, dug a winepress
in it and built a watchtower.
Then he rented the vineyard
to some farmers and went away on
When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect
The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third.
Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way.
Last of all, he sent
to them. ‘They will respect
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?
He will bring those wretches to a wretched end and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.
Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”?
Luke 20:16-17, (NIV) When the people heard this, they said, “God forbid!” Jesus looked directly at them and asked:
Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed. [Matt 21:43-44, NIV]
Luke 20:19 (NIV) The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
The religious leaders rejected Christ as king
After healing the lame man, Peter - full of the Holy Spirit - tells the Jewish rulers that Jesus is the stone they rejected who has become
the cornerstone (the only way of salvation).
Rulers and elders of the people! … know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.” Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. [Acts 4:8-12, NIV]
4) HIS PEOPLE
Despite Jesus’ love for the city and its’ people – Jerusalem would be the place where he would be killed.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ [Matt 23:37-38, NIV)
Jerusalem rejected it’s Messiah - stumbling over the stone of offense.
Many in Israel were looking for a Messiah – King. But they didn’t think they needed a Messiah - Saviour because they had confidence in their ability to keep the Law.
5) THE WORLD
Isa 53:1-3 (NIV) Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root
out of dry ground. He had no beauty
or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that
we should desire him. He was
despised and rejected by
mankind, a man of suffering,
and familiar with pain. Like
one from whom people
hide their faces he was
despised, and we held
him in low esteem.
He was rejected by the very world he created.
He made the forest whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung.
He died upon a cross of wood,
Yet made the hill on which it stood.
6) A FRIEND
I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfil the scripture: ‘He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’ (John 13:18, NIV)
The scripture Jesus quoted was from Psalms:
Jesus still addresses
him as “friend”
when he leads the
mob who arrest him.
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? [Luke 22:47-48, NIV]
7) HIS FATHER
THE REJECTED STONE
When a building was to be erected, a specific large stone was hewn to perfect measures and carefully put on the corner of the building as part of the foundation. All measures and direction was then taken from this stone to ensure that the building is built square and to the correct measures. *
* https:// bibledifferences.net/2019/02/26/155cornerstone/
Without Christ as the perfect cornerstone our lives lack direction and are not “built square”.
JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
JEWS & GENTILES IN ONE BODY
by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body * to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility... For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone [akrogōniaios]. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.
THE CORNERSTONE & CAPSTONE
Roman archways were built from two columns of carved stones, where the two sides arch in towards each other at the top. In the top centre there’s a triangular shaped capstone that balances the two sides of the arch against each other.
Both the cornerstone and the capstone are apt metaphors to describe the importance of Christ in the building.
A capstone is the wedge-shaped stone at the apex of a masonry arch or typically round-shaped one at the apex of a vault. In both cases it is the final piece placed during construction and locks all the stones into position, allowing the arch or vault to bear weight. *
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:
Isa 28:16 (Brenton LXX) Therefore thus saith the Lord, even the Lord, Behold, I lay for the foundations of Sion a costly stone, a choice, a corner-stone, a precious stone, for its foundations; and he that believes on him shall by no means be ashamed.