By Bruce James
In a parable of the wicked husbandmen, Jesus told how the wicked husbandmen wounded and mistreated the servants that the Master sent to them, and how in the end they killed the Master’s son. In this parable Jesus is clearly foretelling what He knew would happen to Himself and the destruction of the evildoers. At the end of the parable, He says that this would be a fulfillment of the prophecy: “The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Mark 12:10, 11; Matt. 21:42). It is clear that Jesus was applying the Old Testament quotation to Himself.
But Jesus is not the only one that refers to Old Testament prophecy as Jesus being the Living Stone. Pete makes reference to the same text and applies it to Jesus by the Jews (Rom. 9:32, 33). In Eph. 2:20, Paul uses the Stone in a different way when he refers to the new way of life for Christians. In fact, the idea of Jesus as the stone is spread all over the New Testament in giving another view of Jesus. But all of these references go back to the Old Testament, and there are at least four Old Testament passages involved: Psalm 118:22, Isaiah 8:14; 28:16 Daniel 2:31-35. In these Scriptures, we have four stone ideas. There is the idea of the stone first rejected and then honored, the idea of the stone which can either be a sanctuary or a hindrance, the idea of the stone which is the sure foundation, and the idea of the stone which invades the earth and establishes His kingdom.
However, would we not be missing the real message for ourselves if we failed to see the beauty and the grandeur of this Living and Precious Stone? While things on this earth are like the sand – fleeting and uncertain – Jesus is a Stone, an expression of strength, as He so demonstrated over nature, disease, death and devils. He is not like the hay or straw or stubble. He is firm and enduring; He is a rock, the Rock of Ages. While the marble of Babylon, Nineveh and Rome are dead and gone, Jesus is a living stone. He is the source of life and He is not like a “pet rock” for he knows our feelings and is alive to all of our circumstances in life.
As I see Jesus in this metaphorical presentation of strength and beauty, I am caused to wonder, why did the Jews reject Him? It was not due to a lack of evidence for He was described perfectly in prophetic language. I believe that at the root of their rejection was pride. He did not ap-. pear as they desired. He did not preach as they desired. And He did not promise as they desired. Therefore, they would not allow Him or approve of Him. And, dear reader, this is the same reason he is rejected today. The world does not want His character, His gospel, nor His promises. All that seems to matter to the world is the glory and power in the here and now.
Friends, God was pleased with this living Stone. He finished His work and was raised from the dead. Everything about this living Stone is precious to God: His name – God exalted it above every name; His doctrine “Hear ye him”; His sacrifices; and His person – “Let all the angels of God Worship Him” and “Sit thou on my right hand.”
So, in conclusion, this idea of the Stone has become great in its meaning. Jesus was rejected but to Him belongs the final glory. Jesus alone can hold the kingdom together in unity. What is this Stone to you, a stumbling-block or a refuge? “Rock of ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee. “
Truth Magazine XXIII: 35, p. 572
September 6, 1979