A Miracle in the Temple
After Jesus’ death, the Apostle Peter was preaching in the temple complex and a crippled man (he was lame from birth) was presented before the Apostles. In the name of Jesus, they healed the man and he immediately stood up and began to walk. When the chief priests and scribes heard news of the miraculous healing, they arrested the Apostles. Then, they brought them before the courts of the chief priests and all of them were gathered together, and they questioned them.
Here is the story from Acts:
And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them,
“Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” –Acts 4:1-12
Like Jesus with the Parable of the Tenants (see the last post), Peter connects the power-proverb of the builder’s rejection (Psalm 118:22) with the Jewish leadership’s rejection of Jesus. Where Jesus
was more subtle, Peter makes the point absolutely explicit: “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders.”
He takes the connection even further. Compare the proverb to the sentence which immediately precedes it:
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders which has become the chief cornerstone.
The good news of Peter’s message in the Temple is that the chief cornerstone has been established, set in place by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. If the crucifixion of Jesus is the rejection of the stone, Jesus’ resurrection establishes Him as the Chief Cornerstone! In the last post, I concluded by asking the question. “But, what exactly did the Lord do that is so visibly marvelous?” The answer is: “God raised Jesus from the dead!”
Peter teaches that for this reason there is “salvation in no one else–for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Following the resurrection, Jesus now has become the primary reference point and marker for the proper placement all other building blocks in society and life. His life is the starting point for all who would have life. By finding true alignment with the Chief Cornerstone, the risen Jesus Christ, people are saved–indeed the world is saved!
The establishment of the chief-cornerstone in the risen Jesus Christ provides a particular and exclusive means of salvation for the entire human race. For Peter and the Apostles it meant that their lives and their fundamental loyalties would be governed by Jesus Christ over the command of men. The Jewish priest forbade their continued preaching in Jesus name: Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied,
“Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” –Acts 4:18-20
The implications of God’s establishment of the Chief-Cornerstone are dramatic and absolutely significant for every person on the planet. It means that each one of us must ask critically important questions of our selves and the culture that is built up around us.
So let’s ask some important questions about our own community. Think about and evaluate the current structures and systems that have been constructed in our modern day society. Consider the works of today’s leaders and builders. In considering the political systems, the education systems, the economic systems, businesses and corporations, have the builders of our day taken their reference point and bearings from the risen Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone? Have the builders of our day said, “we will use Jesus as our singular point of reference for every single thing we construct? Can you identify positive and negative examples?
Where do you see examples of structures and systems that center on Jesus as the Chief Cornerstone? Do you see examples where the builders have sought to establish systems around alternative cornerstones? Can you identify the alternative cornerstones, even name them? Join the discussion and post a comment by clicking here.