The missing stone


            “Then he looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written:  ‘The Stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone’?  Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.”  And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on him, but they feared the people—for they knew he had spoken this parable against them” (Luke 20: 17-19.)


             A brief history lesson:  The first temple in Jerusalem was built by King Solomon, between 970-930 B.C.  The temple was magnificent, a size and scale that has never been repeated in any building prior or since.  That temple was later destroyed, but another, less grand temple was erected by King Herod and existed during the days of Jesus (consequently that temple was destroyed and today there is no longer a temple in Jerusalem.)  In this scripture Jesus makes reference to a 1000 year old story about the temple that was common knowledge among the Jews of His time.  The story tells that during the construction of the first temple, a stone had been shipped from the quarry, and the builders couldn’t figure out where that stone fit, so they threw it into the garbage heap.  When it came time to the lay the cornerstone, they couldn’t find it, and they remembered the stone that they had thrown away.  So they went down, grabbed the stone out of the garbage, and put it in its proper place.  A corner stone is usually a stone that connects two long walls near the foundation, and it is often times quite a bit larger because it has to support the majority of the weight of the walls.  A building has many cornerstones, as many walls connect, but a ‘chief cornerstone’ is something that has ceremonial significance, today, as well as in the days of Jesus.  The ‘chief cornerstone’ was often of some different material, color, or even shape than the rest of the cornerstones, which is possibly why the builders of the temple might have rejected it as being a mistake.  In ancient times, this chief stone was often inscribed with the names of the builders, or the date of construction, or some other significant information.  (Jesus may be referring to himself the stone that connects two walls, the Old Testament, and the New Testament, in to one congruent work of God.)  Also, he is prophesying concerning his own rejection by the Jewish people, due to their inability to see exactly how he fit in to God’s overall plan.  They expected a different kind of messiah.  He wasn’t quite the size and shape they wanted, so they threw him away.  Yet those who came to understand that he was the missing piece were broken.  Brokenness refers to humility (only those who allowed their pride to be shattered could build their lives upon the foundation that Christ provided.  Those who refused to acknowledge their need for him; those who chose to keep their pride and refused to be humbled would be ‘ground in to powder,’ or destroyed.

             For centuries, the Egyptian culture inspired awe, and wonderment; they seemed like a mysterious, vibrant people that had the capacity to build huge structures, and possessed knowledge that no one else possessed.  No one could read their strange symbols (hieroglyphics), which heightened the mystery.  In the 1800’s a stone was found that changed everything.  On the stone one message was written in three languages, two of which were Greek and Egyptian hieroglyph.  From this stone linguists were able to translate the strange writing; the mystery was no longer a mystery.  A single stone became a light that illuminated the understandings of thousands of scholars across the world.  They had been unable to see what was right in front of them.  Jesus Christ is the key to understanding the Old Testament, and the New Testament.  He is the bridge that connects God and man.  He is the light that illuminates the mystery.  Those who reject him do so because they prefer darkness rather than light; they prefer mystery to the truth and questions above answers.

              Today, there are two kinds of people; those who reject Jesus, and those who, in humility, make him their foundation and truth.  Pride is the enemy of every person who rejects Jesus Christ.  So many people want to believe that they are good, that they themselves can be at peace with God without knowing and accepting his Son, and without realizing their own unworthiness.  No one can walk in light and truth, if they have rejected the ‘Light of the world.’  Today, we can stretch out to people with the truth.  We can bring them to the foot of the cross and let them know that the answer to the emptiness in their hearts is Jesus Christ.  Today, let’s not be afraid to spread the good news, to make it known that God can be known intimately.  The mystery is no longer a mystery, the truth can be seen by all, and the path is clearly marked by the cross of Christ.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today, and we ask that You break us, and make us to come to rest upon Your Son.  Give us a humble heart; be our foundation, our truth, and illuminate our lives with the light of Your Son.  Live in us, and make Your home in us.  We love You father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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