Summary: Many people rejected the free gift of Salvation from Jesus, but they can not escape the judgment of God on the last day, because no other name can give them salvation.
THE STONE REJECTED BY THE BUILDERS
Study Text: Acts 4: 11-12
- The context of this statement was in a speech made by Peter, who was defending himself in an interrogation by the local authorities, who were asking him how it was that he and John had apparently healed a man who had been previously unable to walk all his life.
- The miracle that had taken place did not result in people celebrating and giving thanks, but rather in people feeling threatened and wanting reassurance that nothing in their little world was going to change.
- Rather than placate his questioners though, Peter goes on the attack, and says to the whole assembled group of ecclesiastical thought police:
"if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead - by him this man is standing before you well!” (Act 4:8-10)
And then he adds: “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.”
- This saying also turns up in other places. It was indeed used by Jesus Himself at the conclusion of a story He told about a vineyard with some violent tenants (Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17)
Further more, Jesus Himself was quoting, from Psalm 118 (verse 22):
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.”
- The statement also turns up again later in Peter’s first letter, which makes it certainly one of the most often repeated texts in the whole of the Scriptures!
Why is this saying so significant, and what does it mean? We shall discuss the topic under three sub-headings:
1. The Significance of the Cornertone
2. The Signs of Rejection of the Cornerstone
3. The Security Provided by the Cornerstone
1. The Significance of the Cornertone
- This is not simply a decorative stone used to finish off the corners of a building with a bit of architectural flair.
- No, rather it is that fundamental stone that structurally holds the entire building together!
- The Roman arches arched and met in the middle at a cornerstone. And if you removed that stone, the whole thing would fall to pieces.
- This is a wonderful image of the Lord Jesus. At one level, He appears to be just another stone in the building - made of the same stuff as the rest of us stones. - And yet He is more central to the building than any of the other stones because He occupies that place in the structure, such that if He is removed, the entire building collapses!
- He is a part of the building along with the rest of us stones. He is like us, and yet he is different from us because He is more central to the building, and also because He looks different, which may explain why he would be rejected!
- Jesus was different. He was the odd-shaped stone on the slab. He was different! And for that reason He was rejected.
- We do know that Jesus was different of course, and we know that we who follow Him are supposed to be different too.
- Our point of distinctiveness in this world should not be because we are perceived as being more self-righteous than everybody else.
- We know that we are supposed to be different but we’ve forgotten how we are supposed to be different. And I think the problem starts with the fact that we have forgotten what made Jesus different.
- The New Testament tells us where Jesus was most obviously different:
1. He is the Good Shepherd - not like the others who are out to fleece the flock. This shepherd is ready to lay down His life for the sheep.
2. He’s not in it for the money. He’s not in it for the glory. He’s the shepherd who is in it for the sheep.
3. He is different in the way He redefines love for us in terms of self-sacrifice.
4. He is different in the way He forgives those who damage him.
5. He is different because He is honest, frank, real, imaginative, focused, compassionate, caring and powerful.
- This is the stone that the builders rejected - wrong shape, wrong colour, too difficult, too demanding.
- But the opinion of the builders was subject to the review of the chief architect, who has made this stone, Jesus, the Cornerstone to the entire operation.
2. The Signs of Rejection of the Cornerstone: