When the Jews returned from Babylon to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem they had already been rebelling against God and his ways for centuries. After pleading with them for generations, God had Babylon punish them for their sins. Jesus told the Jewish leaders of his day, he was the one their faith was built on, he was the cornerstone they rejected. Later on, Paul explained how Jesus held the Old and New testaments together just as a capstone firmly ties a building together. Placed at the pinnacle of an arch, this special wedge shaped stone is often ornately decorated.
Ephesians 2:20-22 New Century Version
20 You are like a building that was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in that building, 21 and that whole building is joined together in Christ. He makes it grow and become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in Christ you, too, are being built together with the Jews into a place where God lives through the Spirit.
Luke 20:17-18 New Century Version
17 But Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this verse mean:
‘The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone’? Psalm 118:22
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken, and the person on whom it falls, that person will be crushed!”
Jesus is both our foundational cornerstone and the capstone of our faith. You can fall onto the foundation’s cornerstone and be hurt, while the capstone of an arch will crush anyone it falls onto. Salvation completely relies on Jesus, the designer and completer.
Hebrews 12:1-4 Evangelical Heritage Version
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us get rid of every burden and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patient endurance the race that is laid out for us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author of our faith and the one who brings it to its goal. In view of the joy set before him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne. 3 Carefully consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinful people, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.
How does the hostility of others affect your spiritual race? How can the lives of those who went before you, give you strength? How is Jesus your all in all? When we must believe in Jesus to be saved, how can Jesus save those who died before he did?