During the past, the cornerstone was a strong and large stone laid as a reference for alignment during the construction of a building. It was a reference for all other stones erected for the walls. Since the builder lays it at the meeting point of two walls at the bottom level, the name cornerstone became relevant. The architect selects the cornerstone with care because of its importance.
JESUS AS THE CORNERSTONE
Isaiah had prophesied about the Messiah as a cornerstone. “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: See, I am laying a stone in Zion, a stone that has been tested, A precious cornerstone as a sure foundation; whoever puts faith in it will not waver. I will make judgment a measuring line, and justice a level” (Isa 28:16-17). Thus, cornerstone became another messianic name of Jesus.
Paul wrote to Ephesians, “you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:19-22). Thus, Jesus is the cornerstone with the apostles and prophets as the foundation.
Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15) and so the first foundation of God’s Kingdom. Everybody else should align to this cornerstone and he is the reference for all. He is strong like a rock (1 Cor 10:4) and built his church on another rock, Peter. “No one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11).
REJECTED STONE RESTORED
While teaching on the parable of the tenants, Jesus quoted from Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes” (Mt 21:42; Lk 20:17). The origin of the psalm was based on a stone that the builders of the Temple of Jerusalem kept away from the site without knowing the plan of the chief architect. Later the architect used the stone the builders once rejected as the chief cornerstone when the two walls of the temple were bonded together. The Psalmist used this as a parable for the selection of David as the king, and Israel as the chosen nation out of all the nations in the world. Though the chief priests and the Sanhedrin who were the builders of the temple rejected Jesus, he became the cornerstone of the new temple, the church. God, the chief architect made Jesus as the cornerstone uniting two walls: the Jews and the gentiles and linked the Old and New Testament.
Referring to Psalm 118:22-23, Peter wrote: “Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:4-5). Peter during his trial by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem presented them as those who rejected Jesus the cornerstone. “He is ‘the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.’ There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
Jesus, being the cornerstone of the church is our perfect role model. He asks us to learn from him (Mt 11:29). He exemplified humility, service, and self-sacrifice in his life. Imitating him, we also should follow his path of humility, service, and self-sacrifice for others.