While at a rock quarry many, many years ago, I watched several men look for a particular piece of rock for their businesses. Each was looking for that perfect slab of granite that could be cut, finished and sold to a home builder. Each one looked at the slab that had just been harvested from the quarry. There was one piece that the individuals kept passing over. I watched each look very carefully at the slabs of granite. Each took their flashlights and looked ever so carefully at each. I looked at each one of them and couldn’t tell a single difference between them. They all looked the same to me, but, then again, I’m not an expert at picking granite.
Each individual made his choice and went to let the foreman know which ones they had selected. The one that was passed over repeatedly was viewed by a man who was running a little late. With the other slabs already selected, he looked carefully at this one that others had rejected. He took out his flashlight and made the same careful examination. I honestly thought that he was going to chalk up the trip as a loss and reject the last piece.
But, something amazing happened. He stepped back, smiled and said to himself, but loud enough for me to hear, “Perfect!”
Now, I was confused by this whole inspection. I happened to see others reject this same slab and make comments about how it just didn’t fit or work for them.
With curiosity getting the best of me, I walked over to the man who thought this rejected stone was perfect and asked him why he thought it was perfect. I explained to him that the others rejected the stone after they scrutinized the slab the same way he had.
He looked at me and said, “It speaks to me. The stone speaks to me and that’s why I believe that it is absolutely perfect.”
That story reminded me of the discussion that Jesus had with the religious leaders regarding one of his many parables. In his discussion which occurs sometime after his entry into Jerusalem, he reminds them of a particular scripture from the Book of Psalms.
In chapter twenty-one of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells the story of tenant farmers who were given use of a vineyard. The landowner, who had spent a considerable amount of time and effort in planting a vineyard, building a wall around it and digging a pit for the pressing of the grapes, sent his servants to the tenant farmers for his share of the crop. Instead of gladly paying the landowner his share for the use of his vineyard and facilities, they became greedy. They beat the servants and killed them. The landowner sent a larger group of servants to collect his share. The outcome was the same. Finally the landowner sent his son to the farmers. Instead of paying the landowner what is due, they seized his son and killed him as well. They wanted the entire estate for themselves.
Jesus turns to the leaders and asks them what the landowner should do to the greedy, evil tenants who had killed not only his servants but also his own son.
They replied that he should “put the wicked men to a horrible death and lease the vineyard to others who will give him his share of the crop after each harvest.”
Then, Jesus replies to them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’ I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation that will produce the proper fruit. Anyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”
Needless to say, the religious leaders realized very quickly that Jesus was talking about them. They had taken all of the blessings of the Lord and turned them into their profit. They were reaping the benefits of what the Lord had done. Now that Jesus, the son of God, had come, they were plotting to arrest and silence him once and for all.
The lesson that we, as Christians, realize on this Easter Sunday is that Jesus is the rejected stone mentioned in the one-hundred eighteenth Psalm. That same rejected stone will become the cornerstone of our faith and the centerpiece of God’s plan of salvation for all mankind. Jesus is the rock that we are able to build upon. With Him as that strong stone, we are able to withstand the fury of hell itself and know that we will prevail against Satan and his evil army of demons.
In chapter twenty-eight of the book that bears his name, Isaiah tells the people, “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.”
Although many may reject the tested, precious cornerstone, there will be those who see that it is a perfect fit and that it speaks to them. They will build upon this stone and know that they won’t be shaken.
Jesus, after humbling himself to death on a cross and rising from the dead, is definitely the tested, precious stone that remains the cornerstone of not only our faith but also that strong rock that will keep us from being shaken when times get rough. That cornerstone is our source of salvation.
Peter, in chapter four of the Book of Acts, tells the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law after being questioned about where his and John’s authority came from, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
On this special day, I implore you to select the stone that fits perfectly and speaks to you. When you do that, I can guarantee that you are building upon a tested, precious stone that will be there during the best and worst of times. That cornerstone cannot be shaken and, by having your faith built upon it, you will not be shaken either. No matter what happens in your life, that cornerstone will allow you to stand firm in His grace
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.