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The Scriptorium

Chief Cornerstone

Of our lives and our churches. Luke 20.17-19

Luke 20 (3)

Pray Psalm 118.1-6.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let Israel now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
I called on the LORD in distress;
The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?

Sing Psalm 118.1-6.
(St. George’s Windsor: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)
Thank the Lord, His love endures! All to whom His love is sure,
all who fear Him day by day, let them thanks and praise now say!
Out of my distress I cry; He will hear me from on high.
He will free me from all fear. What can man do to me here?

Read Luke 20.1-9; meditate on verses 17-19.

1. To what did Jesus compare Himself?

2. How did the religious leaders respond?

Jesus reinforced the teaching of His parable by applying to Himself Psalm 118.22. The old building and builders—the temple, its trappings, and those who managed and profited by it—would be done away with in a short time. The Romans would see to that in 70 AD. But the Cornerstone of a new building—Jesus and His Church—was being laid right before their eyes, and they would not receive it.

A cornerstone gives shape, direction, and strength to a building. Just so, Jesus is the Cornerstone for the Church, which is His Body (cf. Eph. 2.19-22), as well as the Cornerstone for every believer, who also is a temple of the living God (1 Cor. 6.19, 20). We glorify God in our lives and churches when, led and taught and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we show and declare Jesus to the world.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day understood all too well what He was claiming, and they would have none of it. Not only had He set Himself to replace their coveted rites and privileges, but He warned them (again) that unless they received Him they would “be broken” or ground “to powder.”

All who “stumble” over the Name of Jesus and all on whom His judgment falls can expect a similar end. We must pray for them and warn them, calling them to see in Jesus the Cornerstone of a new hope and a new life.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps. 119.165).

“The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Ps. 119.160).

We might think of the chief priests and scribes as not the sharpest knives in the drawer because they kept confronting Jesus, and always coming out the losers. But in this case, they were quick on the uptake: “for they knew He had spoken this parable against them” (Lk. 20.19).

The enemies of Christ always stumble over His authority as God—always did, always will.
That fact of Jesus being God is what really rankles the folks.

They can allow Him to be a nice guy, a good teacher, wise even like Aesop; maybe even kind and loving.
But God? Nope.

Because if He is allowed to be God, then necessary changes must take place in their lives.
They are no longer in charge; they now serve a risen Savior in His Kingdom and glory (Rom. 12.1, 2).
It means they must believe that He is the only way to eternal life (Jn. 14.6).
And good heavens, it means they must do what He says: Take up your cross daily and follow Me (Lk. 9.23); and show Me you love Me by doing My commandments (Ex. 20.1-17; Jn. 14.15; Matt. 22.37-40).

And that is why those who don’t believe have always “sought to lay hands on Him” and rid Him from their minds and lives. There are consequences to accepting that Jesus Christ is Lord.

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the Name which is above every Name,
that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2.9-11).

The Chief Cornerstone will not break or crush to powder those who love His Word and Law.
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice…a bruised reed He will not break…
I am the LORD, that is My Name; and My glory I will not give to another…” (Is. 42.1, 3, 8).

“Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame” (1 Pet. 2.6).

For reflection
1. How is it evident that Jesus is the Cornerstone of your life?

2. What are the keys to growing in the shape and direction Jesus the Cornerstone expects?

3. Whom will you encourage today with the Good News of Jesus the Cornerstone?

Jesus is the stone. Anyone who goes against the stone will be destroyed. Jesus’ statement is similar to a late Jewish proverb: “If the stone falls on the pot, alas for the pot; if the pot falls on the stone, alas for the pot.” The imagery of Jesus as a stone is also found in 1 Pet. 2:4–8, where Peter compares the believers to living stones built into a spiritual temple for the Lord. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible Note on Luke 10.17-19

Pray Psalm 119.19-29.
Give thanks to God for your salvation, and commit yourself to seeking His Kingdom and righteousness in everything you do today.

Sing Psalm 118.19-29.
(St. George’s Windsor: Come, Ye Thankful People, Come)
All who know Christ’s righteousness His great Name now thank and bless!
Though His gate full righteous is, He our saving mercy is.
Cast aside and left alone, Christ is now our Cornerstone!
God has made His Son and Word our salvation: Praise the Lord!

Blessed are they who in His Name come and Jesus’ grace proclaim.
God His light upon us shines in the Savior’s sacrifice.
Praise and thanks to You, O Lord; we extol Your holy Word!
Thanks to You for You are good! Thanks to our great loving God!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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