Jesus Is the Cornerstone (Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever….”

The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.

Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
    The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.

The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad. (New International Version)

Jesus The Cornerstone, by Gloria Ssali, 2016

Indeed, today we rejoice with gladness and celebrate that Christ is risen! Christians have a firm foundation of faith that gives us strength and stability.

Everyone’s life is constructed on some sort of foundational support. If we consider a building, it’s foundation has four cornerstones. For us as people, those stones consist of the body, the mind, the emotions, and the spirit. Each of these stones is holding up the one building of our life, and so therefore, they each need our attention in order to be well maintained.


Jesus is the

Mental Spiritual



We can neither treat them as if they are different sizes (which then would never hold up the building of our life) nor as of different importance.

For example, if we get a crack in the physical stone of our life, it is insufficient to examine the mental stone and try to repair the crack through positive thinking or mindfulness. Or, if our emotional stone is damaged, it won’t get fixed by focusing on the spirit stone by only praying.

These days, a lot of people have had bad, even traumatic, religious experiences, and so they’ve jettisoned the spirit cornerstone altogether. And as their building begins to collapse, they wonder why this is all happening.

The spirit cornerstone is Jesus. We need him. We need his whole entire life – not just parts of it. Christ is not a tool that we can use and then store in the garage for next time; he’s the whole garage, and the entire hardware store. We can no more set him aside than we can set aside our lungs or our heart.

So, why do so many resist facing the cracked and damaged stones? Why resist, or even reject, Jesus? Why do so many Christians want the victory of this Resurrection Day without the hard suffering of Good Friday?

Because we are still coming to grips with what it takes to live into the victory of the Cross – yes, the Cross. There’s no new life without a death. If we want a miracle, we need to die – die to our expectations, dreams, desires, and anything we believe we need, other than Jesus.

The builders rejected the stone because it was too hard. But the reality is that you cannot build on a foundation of marshmallows. Love isn’t actually soft, but hard; it’s permanent, like solid marble; it’s not going anywhere. We need that firm base of love to construct a soul that’s worth living.

Christ’s earthly life had incredible times of miraculous healings, provisions of food and necessities, and relational connections. But that’s only part of it. There was also hardship, adversity, rejection, mockery, torture, abuse, and death. When the Apostle Paul considered it all, he said:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:7-11, NIV)

Both suffering and resurrection go together for a spiritually sound life, free of cracks and damage. A new life is fresh, hopeful, and full of promise – and it’s downright hard; there is nothing easy about it. We don’t get to pick and choose which parts of Jesus we want – we must take him wholesale just as he is, the entire thing.

It’s from the person and work of Jesus Christ as our cornerstone – both his cross and resurrection – that a new building is being built into a spiritual house which is the place of hospitality for the entire world.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”


“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:4-10, NIV)

Jesus is our cornerstone, the center of life and worship. Our priority as believers, is allowing God to build us into a community of faith that worships Jesus with lives dedicated to knowing him and making him known.

Christian worship is the expression of a relationship in which God the Father reveals himself and his love in Christ, and by his Holy Spirit gives grace, to which we respond in faith, gratitude, obedience, and love to one another and the world. 

People, at their core, exist for worship. Firmly built on Christ the cornerstone, worship becomes less about gaining truth, and more about letting truth gain us and capture us. The more we pay attention to the presence of Jesus Christ through song, prayer, Scripture, and sacrament, the more we will experience the centrality and power of God. Jesus becomes very precious to us when we align ourselves to him as the cornerstone of our faith and worship.

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship (Romans 12:1, NIV)

Jesus, as the cornerstone upon which all is supported, means that acceptable worship can happen anywhere. Everywhere can become a sanctuary and a sacred space – home, neighborhood, and marketplace – as well as church. In all these locations, Christian discipleship will prove itself.

Several years ago, a man named Matt had an aunt who had struggled for years to make ends meet. When her health started to decline, she was forced to sell her fifty acres of property to pay for health care. As an act of kindness, Matt traveled to Massachusetts and bought the land from his aunt for the appraised value of $50,000. While exploring the land to see about building a house, he discovered outcroppings of stone ledges.

Matt contracted a geologist, who surveyed the land and informed him the stone was actually Goshen stone, a type of mica used for sidewalks, patios, and landscapes. At the time, it sold for $100 a ton – and Matt had about 24 million tons on the land. The appraised value on the surface was $50,000, but experts estimated that the land was worth up to $2 billion.

Jesus is the precious cornerstone. He is much too valuable to be left in on a piece of property undiscovered. And he’s also much too needed to merely remain in a church building. He’s the cornerstone who has the resurrection power to be the foundation for all the world. So, let’s let him.

Almighty God, who through your only Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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