“And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” When they heard this, they said, “Surely not!” 17 But he looked directly at them and said, “What then is this that is written:
“‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone’?
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (Luke 20:9-18)
The Pharisees and leaders understood exactly what Jesus was saying. The vineyard would be taken from them. It would be given to others. It horrified them. They thought it was theirs to do with what they pleased. They thought they were in charge. They had beaten and stoned and abused the prophets. Now the owner had sent his son. They would kill him. He would take it away from them and give it to another.
They all yell surely not. They can’t believe someone would be so impious to suggest this. But Jesus answers using a psalm the stone the builders rejected would become the cornerstone.
Jesus is the cornerstone upon which everything is built, apart from whom nothing is built. And yet even today he is rejected. He is rejected by the same people. No, not Jews. Many Jews accept him. No, he is rejected by those who cannot bear to hear the word of God and persecute those who bring it. He is rejected by those who would rather attain heaven by their own efforts. But then he becomes the cornerstone upon which everything else is built for those who hear his word and keep it.