The verses below are a quote from Psalm 118:22-23.
10 Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 11 This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12:10–11 (NKJV)
In context Jesus was disputing with the priests, scribes and elders. He had just told the parable of the unjust stewards of the vineyard and informed them that they were going to lose it, the vineyard, in this case representing Israel. Then in His quotation of Psalm 118 Jesus was doing two things. He was pointing out something His challengers had missed, or at least missed the significance of in scripture, and He was letting them know they were wrong in their views.
Here we will look at the message inherent in construction and then apply it to discernment. In building the right stones needed to be selected to fit together. The cornerstone was foundational and every other stone need to be shaped to align with it. The leaders were charged with building and stewarding the nation of Israel and Jesus was pointing out that in their rejection of Him they were rejecting the very cornerstone they needed to build upon.
There is a discernment principle here. When we consider why they would reject the very one they were waiting for the answer is obvious. They had expectations, rules and a checklist. Jesus didn’t tick the right boxes. When they looked at Jesus, they saw not a cornerstone but a stone that didn’t into what they wanted to build. It never occurred to them that what they wanted to build wasn’t what Yahweh was building. After all, they knew and determined what was right.
This pattern is repeated over and over in the gospels. It isn’t always about rejection; it is always about how we see and what we expect. In John 4, the woman at the well and the disciples both initially missed what Jesus was pointing to because their minds and hearts were directed elsewhere. Jesus had to shift their focus.
Often our current views blind us to new views. We are unable to see the new because we are fixated on the old. In the season we have been in for the last two years we hear from many a desire to return to normal. I think if that is our vision, we are missing the point of this season. We need to seek His heart and discern where He wants us to go from here. How do we do church in a way that community and relationships are strong for the next thing that comes? Covid exposed fault lines within culture and within the church. We need to learn from this and consider whether we have been building on the right things. Has Jesus been the cornerstone the last two years? Have we built our church communities around Jesus? If not, how do we shift in a way that sincere believers on both sides of our current divides will have a bridge to cross over and remain?