The Stone that the Builder’s rejected has become the cornerstone.”Acts 4:11
I used to love to watch my son build Lego towers. He would call for my attention excitedly as the tower wavered from its height. Several times I would watch him struggle to add those top pieces before it toppled. As he grew older, I would watch his frustration grow as his designs became more elaborate and his foundations were not strong enough to support them. The resulting mess of scattered Legos would leave him crying and angry. It took several reminders to teach him the concept of laying a firm foundation. “It doesn’t matter how “cool” the base is, but it has to be strong. Make sure it can hold anything that you stack on top of it.” It only took several attempts at a massive tower with a weak base for him to get the concept.
The people of the New Testament understood the need for building a firm foundation and the importance of a cornerstone. It was the first stone set in the foundation. It provided a reference point for all the other stones. Essentially, the other stones would rely on the cornerstone in determining the position and outcome of the entire structure. Builders would be very particular about the stone they chose for this position.
Likewise, God was very particular in who He chose for the cornerstone of our faith. He chose His only Son. God made man. Human in every way, and yet fully God. The Second Person of the Trinity: omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He lacks nothing. Fully human, He would experience all of the emotions, struggles, and difficulty of living in this world. He would show us the perfect way to live in this world and not be of it. Jesus would gather the Apostles and teach them how to build the foundation of our faith. A foundation built on the unconditional love of the Trinity and the sacrificial love of God for His people. Jesus would teach us how to follow the will of God the Father and walk daily in His goodness.
Jesus spoke in parables. He knew how to meet people at the level of their understanding. He used farming to speak about “sowing seeds of the faith.” He spoke about “living water” to the woman at the well, who knew the labor required to draw water from that well. He spoke of the kingdom of God like a field, spoke of gathering “laborers” for the kingdom. He promoted understanding and simplicity. He brought physical healings to their bodies and spiritual healing to their hearts and minds. When He preached, His message was clear. He came to draw others to Himself.
His message was also clear to the Apostles. He needed them to continue the work that He had begun. Jesus’s prayer to God the Father states,
“I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”John 17:14-19
Peter knew the mission that Jesus was handing to him. He knew that Jesus had left him to continue the message that His ministry had began. He knew that to explain the importance of the faith, he had to use terms that were relevant to the crowds he was speaking to. No one would consider building a building without a firm cornerstone. It was paramount to the design of the building. When he is speaking to the people in Acts, he says:
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
He is condemning what they have done in crucifying Jesus. He is begging them to repent. He seems to be pleading with them… You have rejected the cornerstone. You have rejected the very person who should be the foundation of your life. However, Peter always fills them with hope. He reminds them that this was prophesied in the Old Testament. Jesus knew that he was coming to fulfill the Old Testament. Jesus knew that they would reject him, and that they would reject His message. And still, the salvation He offered was for everyone. This salvation is offered freely to each of us. This message still rings loud for all of us today.
We need to examine that Scripture quote in light of our own faith.
Can we say that Jesus is our cornerstone?
What about our foundation? What is it built on? Is it strong enough to withstand the buffets and storms that rage around us in this world?
Do we live like we are in the world but not of it?
Can we assert that Jesus is the cornerstone of our family and our faith walk?
These questions are not meant to condemn but to convict us, through the Holy Spirit, of a higher call of holiness on our life. To encourage us as we move from Ordinary Time into the season of Lent. To allow the Lord to take us deeper into His Sacred Heart. His Heart is the cornerstone of our faith. In allowing the Lord to walk us through these questions, we grow into greater holiness.
We are all students in the School of the Holy Spirit. We are constantly learning how to love the Lord more deeply, how to grow in holiness, and how to share our message of the Gospel with those in our spheres of influence.
We all have interior castles of holiness that the Lord wants to build and is building within us. He will sit on the throne as King of our hearts. Will you allow him to help you build a strong foundation? Will you make him the cornerstone?