When Peter refered to “the stone what was set at nought,” which had “become the head of the corner,”

He may have been referring back to any number of different sources.

Originally, this theme came from the Psalm which we read earlier.

The Lord Jesus picked up this idea and said that it was talking about Him.

Turn to Matthew 21:33: – “Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:

And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

And when the chief priests & Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”

Peter was certainly aware of Psalm 118, the last of the great “Hallel” or Psalms of Praise,

And he was taking Jesus’ permission to apply it to the Saviour, but he was quoting the Psalm itself and not Jesus quote of the Psalm.

And he did this right there in the council chamber because he knew that what he was saying was true.

And secondly, because some of these leaders had actually heard the Lord Jesus say these things.

And this was not the last time that Peter used this parable.

In I Peter 2 he wrote: “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

So this is a very common Biblical theme.

In fact Isaiah was led of the Spirit to use it in chapter 28:16:

“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone,

A precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

And Paul used it as well in Ephesians 2:20:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,

Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

This is a very common Biblical theme.

There is a Jewish legend which may or may not be true, but which certainly has some plausibility.

It is said that in the construction of the Second Temple during the days of Zerubbabel,

That men working in the stone quarry chiseled out a stone to be used as the corner stone.

But then the engineers who were doing the actual construction, rejected it for some reason or other.

Later it was found that the stone which had been chosen proved to be faulty for some reason or other,

And it was then decided to use the once-rejected stone.

Jewish commentators say that this story was so well-known and true that when the Psalmist used it, everyone knew what he was talking about.

Whether that tradition is true or not, the Psalm was given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and was pre-written as a comment on the Messiah.

And its abundant use in the New Testament, demands that we spend a few moments thinking about it.

Our outline is almost as simple as the concept itself:

We’ll look at the Rock, the Rejection and the Ratification.

There once was a ROCK

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

Whom ye crucified, whom God raised from dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.”

Be it known unto you all that Peter agrees with the Lord Jesus about the nature of this stone.

I make that statement with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.

The Lord Jesus doesn’t need Peter, you or me to agree with Him about anything.

He is the sovereign and autonomous God and doesn’t need us for anything – ever.

We are the ones who are in need to be in agreement.

The Truth of Christ stands true whether the Sanhedrin puts their stamp of approval on it or not.

When the lights on the runway are nice and straight we better land between them or crash and burn.

THIS is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.”

Who is the stone, Peter? Help us to be absolutely sure on this.

The stone is Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Who was crucified, and Whom God raised from dead.

“Jesus” is the name of our Saviour.

“Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

“Christ” is the Greek equivalent for “Messiah” and means “anointed one.”

This is the One prophesied for so many centuries, even from the days of Moses.

This is the Master and Theme of all God’s prophesies.

This is the anointed King of kings, and the anointed eternal High Priest.

But let’s not be confused about anything here:

Peter was talking about the Jesus, Who grew up in Nazareth of Galilee.

Yes, Mr. arrogant Pharisee, “something good can come from Galilee.”

And yes, he was born in Bethlehem, the home town of David, the greatest of his earthly ancestors.

But he was raised in Nazareth.

Peter didn’t want those learned elders of Zion to think that he was talking about anyone else.

This Jesus was the well-known crucifixion of a couple of months earlier.

And His was the grave that the rulers of Israel and Rome couldn’t keep locked up.

He “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

“And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness,”

“By the resurrection from the dead.”

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the “Rock and the Stone of stumbling.”

For those of you who might be trying to think ahead of me:

When Jesus asked “But whom say ye that I am?

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

When the Lord Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: thou art Peter,

“And upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

The word Jesus used for “rock” is not the same word that Peter used here.

So what is the image left here with this cornerstone?

First, it is the benchmark used to measure every other part of the building.

If the cornerstone is square, level and straight, and every other stone is aligned to that stone,

Then the building is going to be square, level and straight.

Second, the cornerstone is usually a part of the foundation of the structure.

It is upon which all the rest of the structure leans and rests.

It has to be the best piece of the entire building.

Third, it has to be unmoveable and embedded in or upon that which is unmoveable.

And quite often the cornerstone is inscribed in some fashion, describing the building that rests upon it.

All of these things Christ Jesus is – particularly to us whom He has saved.

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Christ Jesus is the foundation and substance of all that we believe and are as Christians.

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

The Lord Jesus is our rock and our stability

Turn to Matthew 7:21 – “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

This chief cornerstone is inscribed with the name of Jesus.

“Neither is there salvation in any other:

For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

The stone to Whom Peter referred was the Saviour, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

But that chief cornerstone was REJECTED by the builders.

The leadership of that nation were called “the builders.”

They were the ones who were giving it direction, good or bad.

They were the ones who were determining the nation’s size and quality.

It was some centuries before the chief cornerstone appeared, but …

“When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

BUT “he came unto his own and his own received him not.”

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”

Incredibly, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

As we have already seen, Jesus was rejected personally.

The Jewish leadership couldn’t believe that this Galilean claimed to be the Messiah.

Everyone knew that the Messiah would have to come from Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2 – “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah,

Yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;

Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Why didn’t someone from the Sanhedrin ask Jesus about his heritage and family?

Why didn’t someone investigate the birth records of Bethlehem, just a few clicks south of Jerusalem.

When the Jews looked at Jesus’ live-style they bent over backwards to find fault with it.

But the fact was, “he did no sin, neither was guile found in his lips.”

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

As prophesied, “he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”

When the Jews looked at Jesus’ miracles, they attributed the power to Satan.

They totally rejected everything about the Saviour.

But most particularly they despised and rejected the things that He taught them.

When He told them to repent, they rebelled and, in effect said that they were too good to repent.

When He said that they were nothing like their father Abraham, they hated Him for it.

When He revealed the Heavenly Father, they said that He didn’t know what He was talking about.

When He said that He was the only way to God, they were dismayed.

When He said that He was the light of the World, they shut their eyes.

When He said that He was the true manna from Heaven, they spat on Him.

When He said that He was the Son of God, they picked up stones to kill him.

There were very few things that the Lord Jesus ever said that were believed by anyone but believers.

But the rejected Stone has now been RATIFIED as the Head of the Corner.

First, “neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name, under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

That is a given, which we dealt with last Sunday morning.

There is only one Saviour and one means of deliverance from the penalty of sin.

It might be that someone’s twelve step program might cut off some particular sin,

But there is only one way to wash away the residue of sin in the sight of God.

“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”

“Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Second, Christ Jesus is the corner piece which brings everything together.

He is the “alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.”

He is, first, the Creator and He is the Sustainer of all things.

He brings together repentant Jews and Gentiles.

He brings together male, female, rich, poor, bond and free.

But more importantly than these, he is the “Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

He is the Chief Cornerstone, the only One Who ties together those things which are ordinarily divergent.

Third, he is the ETERNAL cornerstone.

The cornerstone is the foundation of the foundation; the root and ground of the building.

And the Lord Jesus is the root and basis of a worthy life.

In Him is life, and life more abundantly.

The faith which is placed in Christ will not make anyone ashamed.

The life which Jesus gives is eternal life.

The promise of God through Jesus the Son will never be broken.

Now, I’d like you to notice a couple of interesting omissions:

First, is something that the Psalmist said, which isn’t exactly pertinent to Peter’s purpose:

In Psalm 118: 20 we read, “Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.

I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.”

That the Lord Jesus is the rock, the rejected rock and the ratified rock, is all due to the decree of God.

Isn’t this essentially what Peter preached in his first sermon?

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

It was the eternal decree of God to send His Only begotten Son into the world that “whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have ever-lasting life.”

But it was also a part of that decree that “He come unto his own and his own receive him not,”

Because it was essential that we he become the sacrifice necessary for salvation.

“Almost all things are by the law purged with blood, and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

That Jesus be rejected by Israel and crucified by the Romans was a part of the design of God.

And it is marvelous in our eyes.

And secondly, when the Lord Jesus referred to this Psalm He added a very important thought which Peter does not use here in his sermon, which makes me think that he was preaching Psalms rather than Matthew.

But, “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.”

One of the things about this reinstated cornerstone, is that if you don’t build our spiritual house upon it, then that stone will eventually crush you to powder.

I was visiting with Olan and Mrs. Smith the other day and they referred to a bus tour that they made to Canada a few years ago.

They mentioned one of the stops that they made, and asked me if I was familiar with it.

I don’t know if they were surprised or not, but I told him that I was familiar with it.

On the eastern side of the Crowsnest Pass in southern Alberta is the site of a terrible natural disaster.

At the end of the 19th century there was a thriving little mining community called Frank nestled along the banks of the Crowsnest River.

During the night of April 29th, 1903 the north face of Turtle mountain gave way and in 100 seconds the greatest landslide in North American History crushed to death every man, woman and child in Frank.

Like so many natural disasters, that horrific night is a tiny glimpse of what is going to fall on the those men and women who do not build their houses upon the Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Today Christ Jesus is a Saviour and High Priest.

If you will throw yourself at His feet in repentance for your sin, you will find Him loving and kind.

You will find that He has cleansed you from your sin and forgiven you of every one of your iniquities.

If you will repent before God and put your faith and love in the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find a foundation upon which a great life – an eternal life – can be built.

But if you once again, turn your back on Christ, then that stone will soon enough become your eternal destruction.

“He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

Is Christ Jesus your cornerstone or the mill-stone that drags you into Hell?