THE REJECTED STONE HAS BECOME THE CAPSTONE
Acts 4:1-12 Key Verse: 11
Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.”
Happy Easter! Thank God who blessed our Easter Bible School with the title, “By this gospel you are saved!” (1Co15:2). Praise God who raised many young powerful messengers and graceful testimony speakers who testified the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! Now we want to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus through studying Apostle Peter’s marvelous counter message to the religious leaders of Israel. May God open our spiritual eyes and help us to accept the Rejected Stone Jesus Christ as our Capstone of our personal life and God’s redemptive history!
Part I: Jesus has become the capstone (1-11)
In the previous passage, we learned how the former crippled man was shown God’s grace. In the past his life was miserable, but now he was filled with joy and thanks, jumping and praising God. Surely, what he needed was not silver or gold but to walk in Jesus. When all the people saw this, they were amazed; they listened carefully to Peter’s powerful Bible message. But when the Priests and Sadducees heard the apostles teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead, they were greatly disturbed. They quickly called temple security, arrested them, and put them in jail.
But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand. So these religious leaders held the Sanhedrin meeting, and called the apostles in for a trial. All of them were sitting on high benches wearing long robes. This Sanhedrin was the very council meeting where Jesus was condemned to death – the high priest Annas and Caiphas were also there. They questioned the apostles, “By what power or what name did you do this?” It was a dangerous question. The apostles’ answer could cost their own life. But what was Peter’s response?
Look at verse 8-11. “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a crippled and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” Peter’s response was short; he did not try to defend himself. Instead, he proclaimed boldly that by the power of Jesus’ name, the man was healed.
Even he pointed their sin, saying, “whom you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead.” They thought that they rejected just one human being named Jesus. But God rejected their rejection by raising him up from the dead. He was God’s Promised Messiah, sent to the world by God. They did not reject a mere man, but God’s holy servant, rebelled against God. What a grave sin they committed against God! Peter quoted from the book of Psalm to show them who Jesus is. He said to them, “He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.” As the footnote shows, this verse can be translated as “He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.”
Jesus is the cornerstone and the capstone. The terms such as “cornerstone” and “capstone” are construction terms. With these construction terms, God describes man’s life on earth as a life building project. In our life building project, Jesus is the cornerstone and the capstone, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. What is the cornerstone? The cornerstone is a foundation stone, the beginning stone. In the ancient times, in construction, they first laid this foundation stone at the corner of the field – this cornerstone is well trimmed and straight. Once this foundation stone was laid down at the corner, building process could go, and all other stones were laid one by one aligned with this cornerstone.
If anyone built without first laying down the cornerstone, eventually, the whole building would be crooked, and at the end, the corners and walls would not fit with each other – what a great shame the builder would have. Despite his hard work, the whole building would be worthless and useless. But those who trusted in this foundation stone would never be put to shame. As they associated all other next stones with this foundation stone, eventually all the walls and corners would come to fit perfectly, and their hard labor would be well paid off, and they would be glad.
Jesus is the cornerstone, a precious foundation stone in our life. But the Jewish leaders did not think of him very highly; they did not think they needed him absolutely; so they rejected him, the foundation stone. When they rejected him, they thought that without him, still they would worship God because they had the temple worship service, and because they had a good intention to serve God. They worked hard by going to the temple worship service, and by memorizing the Bible and by occupying high positions. At first, it seemed that their life was very successful. But in the end, they were found to be enemies of God; the whole building project went in a wrong direction.
Despite their hard work, and at the end, things did not fit together. Why? It was because they were like builders who built their houses without first laying down the foundation stone. They became utterly ashamed. God says, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone for the foundation.” (Isa28:16) Who laid this foundation stone? God did. As the Excellent Builder who built everything from nothing in the beginning, he laid this Foundation Stone perfectly. Now we are doing our own life building project, and we must check out constantly as we lay down each stone whether it is lined up with this cornerstone or not.
In choosing and pursuing our major, we must check out if it is lined up with this foundation stone. In laying down another stone of marriage, we must check it out again; in laying down another stone of choosing our life direction and goal, we must check it out. In this way, as we lay down the stones one by one, we must make sure that each stone is lined up with the foundation stone, Jesus. Do not reject him only because of your worldly desires for the things of this world. Otherwise, you will find that the whole building project is ruined. Do not let anyone, even your father or mother; influence you in the matter of laying down the stones in accordance with the foundation stone.
Those who trust in this foundation stone will never be put to shame – they will complete their building project successfully. But those who do not trust in him, and thereby, build their own life according to their desires and plans will be utterly ashamed; to them, this stone becomes a stumbling block and later, on them, this stone will fall and crush them completely. Not everyone who calls Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” will come to the kingdom of heaven. They hear God’s word, and even call Jesus, “Lord, Lord,” but strangely, in their real life, they do not live according to Jesus’ teaching.
As a result, their real life is not shaped up according to God’s plan and purpose, but according to their own worldly and sinful desires and plans. Their marriage based on their fleshly desires, and their jobs and life direction based on worldly consensus. They are only fascinated in some fantastic looking activities such as prophesying, driving out demons and performing miracles in Jesus’ name. Jesus calls them, “foolish men,” and “evildoers.” Since they do not have their foundation on the rock, when life’s challenges come such as financial difficulty, character differences between husband and wife, unexpected illness, or loss of jobs, their life building project cannot withstand these challenges – it falls with a great crash.
Their families are broken to pieces, their children are scattered, and they do not know where their life is heading to. They worked hard to build their life, with a good career, with a romantic marriage, but at the age of 40, 50, 60, they do not know what to do, so they end up wasting their lives in front of TV, average 8 hours every day. How can we build our building on the rock foundation of Jesus Christ? Not by just hearing and having knowledge of the Bible, but by living according to his teaching, by putting what we learned in the Bible in our practical life. We must not be foolish builders who reject Jesus in our day to day life. Instead, we must be wise builders who trust in the cornerstone God laid in Zion, and lay down each stone of our life building project in line with this cornerstone by living according to Jesus’ teaching.
Jesus also, is the capstone. What is the capstone? The capstone is the finishing stone or the crowing stone that is laid on the top of the building, and as the capstone is installed, the building project is then officially completed. Usually, here on the capstone, the date of the completion of the building project and the name of the architect were written. The Egyptians built pyramids with huge stones, and at the pinnacle of the pyramid, they laid a lump of pure gold as the capstone; as this gold capstone was laid, the construction project was completed. Jesus is the capstone; this shows that with Jesus, our life building project is completed. But without Jesus, the building project is still undone; the building project cannot be completed.
Without Jesus, our life is like a building that is undone and thereby, uninhabitable – such a half-done building is ugly and useless. All people struggle hard to complete and decorate their life building with a promising career, with money, and with honor and fame. But even if they have successfully acquired all these things in their life, still they always sense that something is missing; simply, despite tons of money, despite sweet homes and even worldwide fame, they cannot say that their life is full. All these people, despite their seemingly great success in the world, suffer from the deep sense of meaninglessness, emptiness and loneliness. As a result, they do so many crazy behaviors. What are they missing?
The capstone Jesus, they are missing. They are like three days old coca cola because there is no cap for the bottle. In their life building project, there is no capstone, crowing stone – the finishing touch is missing. All these people die in their sin, in utter sense of regrets and shame. So, never reject Jesus no matter what. With Jesus, our life building project is completed. With Jesus, we find the true meaning and sense of fulfillment in this life. With Jesus as the capstone, our life goes from glory to glory. Jesus is the cornerstone and the capstone, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega in our life building project. Jesus is the most essential part in our life. Accepting Jesus and living according to his teaching is not an option, but a must for everyone.
Part II: “Salvation is found in no one else” (12).
Look at verse 12. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” When people begin to realize that the buildings of their life are not standing firm, but are shaky and crooked, and when their life is going downhill, how do they try to solve such problems? How do they deal with their depression, sense of meaninglessness, emptiness, and fear? Some people turn to psychological counseling to help them solve these problems. Some blame their spouse, divorce and then marry again. Others try pumping iron at the gym in order to boost up their image. Some try to achieve something remarkable; others try making money; or pursuing a new career; or having many boyfriends or girlfriends; still others by getting involved in many organizations and causes.
But none of these can solve our problems. No one can save their lives by any of these means. So many people seek salvation in religions such as Buddhism, Eastern Mysticism, Yoga, Ultra meditation. They say that there are many ways for people to reach heaven such as by Buddhism, Islam, and any religion. This is the trend in the world, even among many church going people. It is the result of wide spread humanism in the world. But no name other than Jesus was given to us for our salvation in the Scriptures. Maybe, Buddha or Mohammad did a good job in their eyes, but we cannot find them in the Old Testament. But only Jesus is mentioned in the Bible – about his birth place, about his mission, about his titles, and about his suffering, death and even resurrection. Jesus is the only name given to us by God for our salvation.
If you trust in him, you will never be put to shame. Why? It is because only in Jesus can people find the true meaning and purpose of their lives and come out of the deepest pit. Only in Jesus can they have a changed life; a life that is truly valuable and satisfying. We all suffer from one problem or another. We despair deeply because of unsolvable problems we face. To some, it is their sin problem such as lust; to some others, it is their character flaws; to some others, even it is their job or financial matter. After trying many ways to solve their problems only to fail over and over, many give up, accept their condition as fate, and live such a fatalistic life.
They live as losers only because of those problems. They blame others – their parents, their brothers and sisters, their society, government and even God for their problems. They become victims to their sin, to their fate, and to their environment. But when we truly recognize that salvation is found in no one else, but in Jesus alone, then, we can humble ourselves, and come to learn to rely on him. We no longer r;.//.’jely on our own struggle; instead, we learn to wait on him for his time of salvation to come. When we recognize this, we finally stop our human struggle, but wait on him. There, our souls find true rest and true peace. Then, we no longer look like wounded wolves, but sheep who wait for the shepherd to come to lead them to green pasture.
Conclusion: Jesus is the cornerstone and the capstone in our life building project; he is the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. Those who trust in him will never be put to shame. Let us build our house on him, the cornerstone, and our life building project will be completed with him, the capstone. Let us build our house on Jesus who is the only name from God for our salvation. Thank you for saving me by the grace of Jesus and calling me as a disciple of Jesus and blessing me to build our house of life on Jesus, the corner stone. Please continually help me not to stop building my life undone but to complete my life with the capstone Jesus wherever I go and whatever I do. I pray that God may continually raise many wise builders among us!