When we attended the Grand Ole’ Opry we noticed an odd circle of older wood, front and center stage. We later learned that this patch of boards is from the original stage at the Ryman Auditorium. It was brought to commemorate the history of the original venue, and contemporary artists have the honor of walking the exact same boards as historical artists. Similarly the gathering of believers I worship with is not meeting in its original building. When the newer building was constructed, the cornerstone of the original building was brought along as an homage to the founders and history of the local church. The cornerstone is considered foundational, and represents the whole building.
In ancient times, the cornerstone was the principal stone placed at the corner of the building. The cornerstone was key, as the most solid and carefully constructed of any in the edifice. Biblical references to Jesus as the Cornerstone of his Church (comprised of both Jews and Gentiles) are many.
Among the book of Isaiah’s many references to the coming Messiah, several refer to him as the cornerstone, as in 28:16-17: “So this is what the sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line.’” Through the prophet Isaiah, God is speaking of his Son when He refers to the Cornerstone, the one who provides the firm foundation for the lives of all who trust in him. Isaiah used construction terminology to make his point because these are things the people would have understood.
The cornerstone metaphor is continued in the New Testament For example, when the apostle Paul is writing to the Ephesians for the purpose of helping them know Christ better, in chapter 2, verses 19-21 he says: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” 1 Peter 2:6, affirms what Isaiah said centuries before in exactly the same words.
The question for us today is this: Is Jesus the Cornerstone of our lives? So many things compete to be the foundation of our lives! If our happiness and peace are based on anything temporary, our lives are built on shifting sands, and will not stand the trials and storms of life. We need to continually bring our focus back to the one solid Rock, Jesus Christ, who paid the price for our salvation, once and for all. He is our foundation now and for eternity.
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;” (Psalm 118:22)