The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly, the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!” I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it. I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:14-24 ESV)
As we prepare our hearts for our Easter celebration, we have explored how Jesus is the King who sets up God’s everlasting Kingdom, the Priest who brings sinful men and a holy God into relationship, the Housebuilder who gives us an eternal home and makes His own home in our hearts, the Giver of Children to the barren, the Passover Lamb who is our sacrifice and pays the penalty for our sin, and the Covenant-maker who fulfills the covenant-relationship responsibilities for both God and man. It is Jesus who is the Promise Maker who enables us to enjoy God’s promise and blessing, even though we don’t deserve either. Jesus is incredible!
Yet, today’s passage reminds us that while Jesus is the perfect Cornerstone upon which to build our lives, we don’t want Him. We don’t want the promises He offers. We don’t want any part of His Kingdom where we would have to bow before His Kingship. He is everything we need, but we reject Him.
Jesus quotes Psalm 118 in Mark 12, where He tells the story of a wealthy landowner who makes all the investments needed to make his land a fruitful vineyard. He then hires workers who will tend to the vineyard in his absence. When he sends various servants to collect his share of the crop, the tenants beat them or kill them. When the owner in desperation sends his own son to solve the problem, they kill him, too.
Jesus is this rejected Cornerstone. He is the Son sent by the rightful Creator and Owner of all things who is killed by those rejecting His authority. Jesus is rejected and killed, but then on the third day rises again, defeating all enemies who would rise against Him. May we repent of our rebellion and rejection toward our Creator, and embrace the forgiveness and life that the rejected One, Jesus, offers us despite our rebellion and sin.