July 17

Text: Matthew 21:42-46

Jesus *said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone; THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD, AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES'? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.  And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."  And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.  And when they sought to seize Him, they feared the multitudes, because they held Him to be a prophet. (NASB)

The STONE prophecy is used several times in the New Testament.  A chief corner stone basically brought the stone work of the building together.  In a critical way it either was the completion of the stone work or “confirmed” the direction of the stone work.  Therefore it was the important stone that was selected with great care.  Not just “any ole stone” would do—the character of the building/work was made evident by the cornerstone.

At issue here was this: would “the kingdom” be designed by God or by Judaism’s religious leaders?  This was a critical issue.  Jesus said the religious leaders missed God’s design of “the kingdom” entirely.  The Jewish religious leaders said, “There is no design difference.  God wants what we want.”

God wanted a universal people.  The religious leaders wanted a physical kingdom that made the Jewish nation prominent in world affairs.  God wanted Israel to show all people how to be godly (see Isaiah 49:6).  Jesus said Israel miserably failed to understand God’s kingdom because the religious leaders did not grasp God’s intent.  Instead of teaching the nations, they rejected the nations.

Here these leaders understand Jesus was targeting them.  They hated Jesus, but they feared the people.

Suggestion for reflection: Do you grasp God’s intent?  (Read 1 Kings 8:41-43—part of Solomon’s prayer at the temple’s dedication.)

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