Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 16 November 2015

Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Mark 12, verses 10-11.

Verse 11 is a quote of Psalm 118, verse 22.   Word for word, Christ uses this ancient hymn of prophetic thanksgiving to declare to the chief priests – and to us – that He is the completion of God’s temple (indeed of all endeavors), that He was rejected by the people who were supposed to embrace him, that human knowledge is useless compared to the things of God, and that His life is the greatest blessing that God has ever given us. The hymn was ancient even at the time He fulfilled it:   it had already been around for hundreds of years.

Think about it:   The psalmist wrote these words hundreds of years before Jesus even lived.   How could someone know that the Son of God Himself would become the living stone that is the cornerstone – the foundation – of all salvation?   How could some obscure words from a temple song have such deep meaning? How could such a miracle happen?   It’s a God-thing; that’s the only explanation.

The capstone:   without it, the building would be incomplete and would come apart.   The capstone is the stone that holds all the others in place.   Think of it as a keystone in an arch; the stone in the middle that bears the weight of all the other stones in the arch pushing opposing in opposite directions.   Pull out that capstone and the arch (and all the other stones over it) collapse.   Leave it in place and it can stand indefinitely.

That’s Jesus.   That’s the stone, the only man in all of history with the qualifications, genealogy, and ability to hold humanity together.   Without Him, the arch falls; humanity falls apart.   Don’t believe me?   Think of places without Christ, without hope, without faith.   Without Jesus, you get ISIS, Paris attacks, 9/11, modern Iran and Nazi Germany.   Without Jesus, you get humanity left to its own devices.   Is it any wonder that, when we live without Christ, disaster, murder, and hopelessness ensue?

So why did the builders reject the capstone?   Why did the chief priests reject Jesus?

Why have you and I?

“But Dave, I haven’t.”   Oh really?   I won’t guilt you out but I will ask you if you’ve honestly done what you know you should to help your fellow man.  If you haven’t, then have you kept Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself?   I haven’t; what about you?

“Well, if I had been alive then I would have helped Jesus.”   Oh really (again)?   Centuries ago, Martin Luther answered similar statements from people who said they would have helped the Baby Jesus in Bethlehem instead of letting Him be born in some dirty, germ-ridden stable. “You would have helped the Baby Jesus, would you?   Then what have you done for your neighbor who is Christ in your midst?”

Tell me:   what have we done for our neighbor?   If we neglect them, are we rejecting the Capstone just like the Jews?   Maybe I haven’t ordered Jesus’ murder but my lack of love must surely hurt His soul just as much as those misguided priests.   Especially since you and I have the benefit of being able to interpret Jesus’ words with more ease and more resources at our disposal than any people at any other time in history.

Lord, forgive me for the ways I’ve rejected You.   Teach me continually to do better.

Read Mark 12, verses 1-12

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