The Stone the Builders Rejected, Acts 4:5-12
It is related that Michelangelo, the famous Italian sculptor, painter, and poet, once stood before a great block of marble that had been rejected by builders and cast aside. As he stood there with eyes staring straight at the marble, a friend approached and asked what he was looking at. “An angel,” came the reply. He saw what the mallet, the chisel, and patient skill could do with that rejected stone. He set to work and produced one of his masterpieces. Likewise, God the Father has saved us and redeemed us according to the stone which the builders rejected. Christ has become the chief cornerstone, though he was the stone which the builders rejected. What the world often casts aside, God redeems for His glory. What the world rejects as foolishness, God intends to use to show that He will do what He will do, not according to our opinions, judgments, or preconceived notions of how it ought to be done.
If the Pharisees had their way, surely salvation would have come into the world according to their good deeds, good works, and keeping of the commandments of the Law. But praise God almighty! Salvation has come unto us through that which the builders of religious ideas and idolatries of self righteousness rejected; Christ! The King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s!
Ephesians 2:19-22 says, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (NIV)
The cornerstone unites two walls at the corner of a building and holds the building together. Peter said that the Jews rejected Christ, but now Christ had become the cornerstone of the church with the foundation of the Church being the teachings of the Apostles and the Prophets of the Old Testament.
This morning we will discuss the stone which the builders rejected who has become the chief cornerstone, or the capstone of the Church; that is, of God’s covenant people. As we go to our text, we will examine what it reveals with regard to the power of Christ’s name, and the pardon which has come to humanity according to Christ.
Power: In our text a question is raised by the religious authorities bring Peter and John before the current High Priest Caiaphas and his father in law, the former High Priest, after being seized by the teachers of the Law, the Sadducees, to be interrogated about their evangelistic efforts, the healings they were performing, and, perhaps most of all, for their rhetoric with regard to the resurrection of the dead; most notably their speaking of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
In this section of the passage a question is raised, “by what power are you performing these miracles? In whose name do you preach?” This is the same question that is raised to the Church today. In whose name do you perform your ministry? In whose name do you proclaim a message of hope?