THE STONE THE BUILDERS REJECTED IS THE ONE GOD HAS CHOSEN

In the Gospels Jesus described the things He would soon suffer at the hands of sinful men as “the Lord’s doing which is marvelous in our eyes.”

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: THIS IS THE LORD’S DOING, and it is marvellous in our eyes? (Matthew 21:33-42).

The Lord’s doing was “carried out” in how Jesus was unjustly treated by sinful men.

Those who opposed Jesus and were eventually responsible for His death were the children of those who had killed the prophets before Christ.

When Stephen was put on trial before those who accused Him of “blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law,” he recounted the history of Israel and their perpetual rejection of God along with those whom God sent to them. This all culminated in their rejection of Jesus. Stephen spoke boldly and sternly to these men, despite their fierce, murderous anger toward him and the one who inspired him to say these words:

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:51-52)

Stephen said to those who were about to stone him that they were betrayers and murderers of Jesus, the Holy One. He asserted their fathers had persecuted the prophets who had prophesied of the Lord’s coming, and they had followed in their ancestors’ footsteps by their violent rejection of Christ. Stephen fervently asked them how long they would continue to resist the Holy Spirit.

Jesus had said to the leaders of the Jewish people that by their rejection of Him they would be accounted as guilty of the blood of all the prophets, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah (Luke 11:46). By their resistance to Stephen’s preaching about Jesus, those who killed Stephen continued to resist the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the book of Acts much of the persecution against Christians came from the religious Jews who rejected Jesus as Messiah. Stephen was stoned because of such persecution.

Jesus is the chosen stone, the cornerstone, which God has chosen but the people refused.

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, WHOM YE CRUCIFIED, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this (formerly lame) man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was SET AT NOUGHT OF YOU BUILDERS, which is become the head of the corner (the cornerstone). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:10-12).

Jesus came to bear witness to the truth of God and those who rejected him rejected God. Rejected and unjustly condemned by men, Jesus was vindicated and exalted by God in His resurrection. God overturned their counsel by raising Jesus from the dead (see 1 Corinthians 1:18-24) and “this is the Lord’s doing which is marvelous in our eyes.”

The stone which the builders rejected is the Cornerstone whom God has chosen

You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say,  “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, the stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy” (1 PETER 2:4-10).

Faith in the crucified Christ is a stumbling block for those who trust in their own righteousness and it is foolishness to those who pride themselves in their earthly wisdom, but to all who believe it is the power of God unto salvation. Jesus who was crucified for our sins is the foundation stone which God has laid in Zion and whoever believes in Him will never be put to shame. (Isaiah 28:16; Romans 9:30-31).

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