Reading: Matthew 21: 42-46
Verse 42: The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
Jesus transitions quickly from the parable of the tenants to today’s passage. We recall that in this parable Jesus revealed that God is true owner of all and we are simply tenants. In today’s passage, Jesus opens with a quote from Psalm 118. But before the quote, Jesus says to the chief priests and Pharisees, “Have you never read in the scriptures…”? He transitions from God and the kingdom to claiming His own place in it. He is proclaiming this role as He quotes from Psalm 118, saying, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”. Jesus’ implication is that the chief priests and Pharisees are rejecting Him but that He will still become the cornerstone of the church.
Yes, Jesus is giving it to the chief priests and Pharisees and many of us relish these scenes. But, we must also evaluate our own faith and see where we place Jesus in our lives. Is Jesus the cornerstone – that upon which all else stands? Or is He in a room that we go to just in our times of need or want? Is He the first and last consideration in all the decisions we make, in all of our words and actions? Jesus wants to be our cornerstone. Is that where He is in our lives? If so, we will see kingdom fruit producing a deeper faith within us as well as the fruit that comes from sharing the good news with others.
The chief priests and Pharisees are not producing fruit. More than anything, Jesus sees them and all of their man-made rules as barriers to people connecting with God. He blatantly tells them, “the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce fruit”. Ouch.
Are we people who are producing fruit? To produce fruit, our words and actions must always draw people to Christ. To produce fruit, we must be humble servants, allowing others to see the example set by Jesus as the way of life that we are all called to follow. To produce fruit, our love must be Jesus’ love – a live for one and all that places self last. In all we think and do and say, may we love God first and neighbor second. Then we will produce much kingdom fruit.