Cornerstone – Old Testament
The word cornerstone refers to the most important stone in a building, the one that lines up the foundation and the superstructure and binds the walls together. It was mentioned in the Old Testament (Job 38:4-6, Jeremiah 51:26, Psalm 118:22 … etc.).
Tradition relates that during the erection of Solomon’s Temple, no place could be found for a certain great stone cut at the quarry and moved to the site of the Temple. For a long period of time, this stone was in the way of the builders and they rejected it. Finally, it was found that this was the most important stone of the whole building as it became the cornerstone. And it was put in its key position.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isaiah 28:16). The prophet was shown that this stone was a symbol of the Messiah (Isaiah 8:13–15; 28:16).
The prophet counseled the people to find a sure foundation which was none other than the Messiah. For whatever storms might come against the structure built upon that foundation; it would never fall (Isaiah 26:3, 4; Matthew 7:24–27). Unfortunately, the leaders of Judah, utterly deceived, were building upon a foundation of sand. Therefore, ruin and destruction would inevitably be the lot of the nation if the leaders continued to have their way (Isaiah 3:12).
Cornerstone – New Testament
Jesus pointed to Himself as the Rock when He said, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:42–44 also Mark 12:10; Romans 9:33). In this passage, the Lord quoted Psalms 118:22, 23.
In His humiliation, Christ was hated and rejected, but in His glorification, He has become the head of all things both in heaven and in earth. For the Father has put all things under His feet, and gave Him authority over all things (Ephesians 1:22). Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies and became the cornerstone and the foundation of the church. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19– 21).
The Jewish nation rejected Christ’s message of righteousness by faith, and they plotted to destroy the very Person who had come to save them. They rejected the way by which God purposed to build and strengthen them as individuals and as a nation. These leaders needed to submit to Christ, but they refused to do that (Matthew 21: 25, 27). Therefore, in the future, God’s plan to save the world would no longer be dependent on the Jewish nation (Matthew 23:37,38), as cornerstone but rather on Christ and His church (Ephesians 1:22).
Christ came to be man’s steppingstone to salvation and eternal happiness. But when people refuse to step upward, they “stumble,” an outcome for which the “Stone” is not responsible. The apostle Peter in his first epistle chapter 2:4-6, affirmed that the church is built on Jesus Christ, not on himself or on any other man (Matthew 16:18). For Christ (not Peter) is the real cornerstone of the church.
In His service,