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Question

What does the Bible mean when it says "the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone"?

Answer

Thank you for your biblical question on the cornerstone.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone (Psalm 118:22).

This phrase, originally found in Psalm 118 is quoted throughout the New Testament. It is quoted by Jesus (Mark 21:42), Peter in Acts (Acts 4:11), Paul in Ephesians (Ephesians 4:20) and Peter again in his letter (1 Peter 2:4-7). Clearly, with it being repeated several times, those quoting it thought it was important!

A cornerstone is an important structural part of a wall. Often the first stone to be placed in a building project, every other part of the wall ultimately originates from this one stone. Further to this, a cornerstone may contain information about the person who laid it, such as their name, the date and for what purpose. Many public buildings contain ornate decorative stones that commemorate the building project.

An obvious question comes from this though: what has this got to do with Jesus?

Isaiah, one of the Old Testament prophets, prophesied regarding Jesus, saying that He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). In John's preamble of his gospel, he writes of Jesus that He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him (John 1:11).

Clearly, Jesus was rejected, ultimately being led to the cross to die. However, it is through the cross that we are saved. Where people put Jesus to death, thinking that would be the end of Him, by rising from the dead He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him (Colossians 2:15).

If we want to have our sins forgiven, we must come to Christ; our own efforts cannot save us. When we ask Him for forgiveness, we are united to Him. Just as a brick is added to a wall and sealed in place with cement, we as Christians are added to the wall of salvation and sealed in place by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22).

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2-4-5).

This is the wonder of the phrase 'the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone': Jesus is the the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the one who has saved us through His death and resurrection and has united us with Him, sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Do you know this for yourself? Do you recognise Jesus as the cornerstone of your life? Are you united with Him? Why don't you ask Him right now for the forgiveness of your sins and ask Him to be the Lord of your life? We believe fully that you will know you are united with Christ and part of the 'living stone community' of Christians.

I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video

I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church

Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question

*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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