Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone?’ Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” (Luke 20:17–18, NIV84)
In Jesus’ day just about every building was built out of hewn stone. Large stones would be cut away from hillsides and brought into the city for the construction of a building. Often times a builder would reject the use of a stone because, in his view, too much effort would have to be spent to make it work or because it was simply defective. The capstone, or cornerstone, was a prominent part of the structure and would always be a perfect stone. No one would ever consider using a rejected stone as a cornerstone.
With that backdrop, Jesus quoted an Old Testament prophecy and applied it to Himself. He declared that He was the stone that the builders (the religious leaders) rejected, but in reality, was the perfected capstone. Jesus was saying to them that they got it all wrong. They had deemed as defective that which was really perfect. They rejected the capstone. They rejected the one stone that should have received the prominent place of honor. But there is more! Jesus gave this capstone an interesting ability. He stated that everyone will either trip over this stone and be broken to pieces or will have it fall on them and be completely crushed. Although rejected, it must be dealt with. Everyone will have to contend with the capstone one way or another. We will either wrestle with the fact that Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, or we will be crushed by Him on the final judgment day. But at the end of the day, our rejection of Him does not leave Him rejected. He remains the capstone!
May Jesus’ teachings always be something we are willing to wrestle with in this life. May we always give Him the prominent place of honor as the capstone of our lives.