Isaiah 43: 16-21

Psalm 28: 1-9

Philippians 3: 8-14

Luke 20: 9-19


“Cornerstone Rejected”


Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.


Last week I reflected on the problem of knowledge unbridled by humility; on how what the world teaches as wise is actually foolish in the eyes of God, and on what God teaches is wise is unfortunately foolish in the eyes of the world. We become so conceited in our expertise and vast knowledge that when we slip up and get something wrong, which we will do, that much is most certainly true, then we allow our vain glory to take charge by replacing the truth with a lie which we are unwilling to rectify. The world has done this multiple times and instead of asking for forgiveness, the world gets all puffed up and angry at God. Multiple generations of vain glory passes and the mistake becomes a truth in the minds of the spiritually blind and spiritually dumb. And with each generation, our lack of integrity and humility causes us to continually stack up on top of each other falsities after falsities after falsities.


As we slip away from God, the foundation we create for ourselves, which is not found in truth but in vain glory, is but shifting sand. It is like standing on top of a shaky unstable Jenga tower; each and every piece of the tower being one human-made sophisticated philosophy or belief not supported by divinely-revealed reality. And like Jenga, those who play the game of human-made lies are attempting to reach higher and higher towards self-made Godhood all while maintaining a delicate balance that gets more difficult to maintain with each lie. Eventually, and this is inevitable, the tower of lies will fall, it always does, and when it falls the haughty are brought low and finally are humbled.


As we pretend to be God, making for ourselves our own “truths”, we end up rejecting the Truth, rejecting God Himself. For the reason why our house of lies is so shaky is because we have rejected the most important part of the house, which is the cornerstone. We build our house with human hands, intentionally ignoring every instruction from God. When a complication arrives due to our willful ignorance, instead of correcting the issue we conveniently ignore the solution by overcompensating with fancy human-made devices. But when those fail us simply because the core issue has not been rectified, we make even more fancy things and add that to our house. We try as hard as we can to build a sound house all while ignoring the only true solution to our problem. Thus, eventually our creation will fall apart. And when it does, from the rubble there are only two options: we continue to willfully ignore God and build a new tower, or we come to Christ and use him as our cornerstone to build a sturdy house that will never fall.


In our vain glory we want to be God, rulers of our own lives, determiners of our own laws. We want to strip God of his powers and clothe ourselves in His robes of glory. We want to take his two tablets, smash them on the ground, and make for ourselves our own Ten Commandments. We want to ignore the grace of God and claim divine right for whatever we choose. We who are servants of God, workers of his field which he planted but leaves in our care, no longer want to be mere gardeners but owners. We get all puffed up with vain glory thinking that since we are the workers of the field then we must be the ones who should own the field and gain the inheritance of the field. So when the true owner comes, what do we desire to do? We throw him out of our vineyard which we falsely claim, murder the true owner, or at least his son, and like thieves reap the spoils of the inheritance which we will surely squander for we are just mere workers of a field.


This is what Jesus was telling the chief priests and their scribes, the Pharisees and Sadducees, and all who ignore Christ. They are the greedy tenants of the field who out of vain glory believe that they are the true owners. God gave to his people so many things, to include the Law and his blessing. But generation after generation his people keep on either adding or subtracting from the Law and squandering his blessings. Eventually they came to the conclusion that they own the blessings that God graciously gave them. They become their own Gods and their own rulers, pretending to follow God, but are in reality following themselves. Thus, when God claims ownership, these tenants become enraged.


Eventually the true owner sends his one and only beloved son. He does not send his son to punish the tenants, but in hopes that the people would at least respect this person for he comes with authority. The opposite happens. The people become even more enraged and filled with greed and envy and pride and wrath. They want the inheritance. They want to be God. They hate the authority that the Son wields. So they kill the son, hoping that by killing God then they can become God and be the true owners of the vineyard.


Such tenants are so puffed up with pride they prove themselves to be fools, for no one will ever be able to wretch divine power away from God. You can claim to be God all you want, but you will never be God. Instead you will crash and you will burn. For Jesus told those listening that the owner destroyed the tenants and gave the vineyard to others. The tenants rejected the cornerstone; they have received their just reward, according to Psalm 28.


The scribes and the chief priests correctly interpreted Jesus’ parable, but their illogical reaction only proved Jesus’ point. Jesus said that the tenants killed the son sent by the owner of the vineyard because they rejected the son and desired that which was the son’s divine right. Doing so led to their own destruction. Upon hearing this, what did the chief priests desire to do? Kill Jesus. They had already rejected the cornerstone sent by God, but their rejection is due to the fact that they wanted to declare divine right over Scripture. They whose foolish pride led them into believing a lie couldn’t handle the Truth which is Jesus Christ. They wanted the right to interpret Scripture, but when Jesus came and taught things that countered their false interpretations, they sought Jesus’ destruction. Their desire to kill Jesus only grew when they heard Jesus allude to the fact that God will destroy his people if they reject his Son, Jesus Christ, the cornerstone, and pass his blessings on to others.


The only way to Salvation is faith in Christ. There is no other way. Now through faith and only through faith in Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone, and will be your strength and your righteousness, know this you are indeed saved and will reap the benefits of all his graciously given blessings to include heaven. With regards to our own righteousness, no amounts of works or following the Law will ever merit us salvation and the resurrection. For we are not righteous, and nothing we do by ourselves is righteous. If we think we are righteous or that we have the divine right of salvation or that we could work ourselves into being saved then we live a lie. It is only through faith in the cornerstone that we are truly saved, for true righteousness comes only from God and is given to us only through faith and not in our own misguided sense of self-righteousness.


We are not God. We cannot save ourselves. We are the shifting sands; that unstable houses. Too often we want to run away from Creation and the power of God, lifting humanity to Godhood. The transgender movement, the Pride movement (aptly named), the abortion movement, socialism, fascism, communism, totalitarianism, separation of Church and State, controlled speech, global warming, critical race theory, utopia, forced secularism, legalism, Works alone, Faith and Works alone, etc.; all these and many others are just mere human-made symptoms of a larger issue, the societal desire to reject the cornerstone and the creating power of God; to artificially lift humanity to Godhood by claiming they can save themselves, achieve perfection by themselves, and take powers away from God that he did not bless us with.


By stating the obvious, I wonder how many people will want to lay hands on me. Those who do are just like the Pharisees and Sadducees and scribes and chief priests who defended their own ungodly beliefs to the point that they had to reject Christ who exposed their foolishness.


Know this, Christ did not come to condemn you, for you were already condemned. He came to save you; you who are sinners. His grace is unconditional and cares not if you were the tenant in the vineyard or not, for all will enjoy the chance of receiving salvation, but not all will accept it. So I ask you, will you accept his salvation by having faith in him, faith that supersedes all other beliefs, or will you be like the tenants and the elders of the synagogues who rejected the cornerstone because of their own foolish pride?


When your faith and the world come at odds, which will you pick? I hope and pray that God continues to provide each and every one of us, myself included, with the strength to always choose faith today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. God help us.


Let us pray.


Dear Heavenly Father, you unconditionally bless us with salvation so long that we have faith in your Son who died on the cross to save us. Protect us from all the schemes of the world which desires to steal us from your flock and provide us with the strength to proclaim your name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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