Stepping Stones….Study Guide 3
Mark 12:1-12, Psalm 118
Word - Cornerstone
Rejection can either cause in us resilience and a determination to succeed, or it can make us bitter, resentful, and jaded. Rejection can transform us into caring, sensitive, and compassionate human beings, or it can leave us cold, judgmental, and angry.
Read Mark 12: 1-12
In the Old Testament times, the Jews were a rejected people. All the powerful and mighty nations of the world looked at them and laughed: they dismissed Israel as an unimportant and dishonored people. But God had a different idea.
Read Psalm 118
In the Psalm God spoke of the Jews as stones…important stones. “The same stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” In ancient times the cornerstone was more than just a place to date the building. It was the most important stone in the entire structure. The cornerstone would establish the building’s ground level, assure the foundation would be solid, ensure that all the other stones would be kept in line, straight, level, and secure.
God said that the people of Israel would be the world’s cornerstone; powerful, respected, and honored. But they were rejected by the world.
In the parable from Mark, Jesus is talking to the people chosen by God, but rejected by the world. They were supposed to be the example for others to follow and God provided everything they needed including prophets and priests to remind them of the promises of God. But they rejected God’s messengers, and Jesus suggests in the parable that they would even kill God’s Son.
And so…Jesus now becomes the cornerstone, setting the moral standard and becoming the foundation of the church, upon which the Kingdom of God rests. But Jesus is also rejected, denied, and turned away by God’s own people. “The stone which the builders rejected this became the chief cornerstone.”
As the Psalmist writes, things seemed to come full circle. However, that doesn’t happen until we realize that we too have rejected Jesus. We all fall short of Jesus’ moral standards, we think we have a better way of doing things. We fail to listen to God’s call on our lives, and instead of being our cornerstone, Jesus becomes a weight to a way of life that we think is better than what Jesus teaches.
We are faced with choices every day that are either honoring to God or not, and we have become very good at rationalizing our behavior. Even though we might not see it at the time as rejecting Christ, it is exactly what this parable is talking about.
- Discuss some ways that you have felt rejected (job, relationship, group of friends, social event, etc.) and what that might have felt like.
- What are some ways that we reject Jesus today?
- How could we choose Jesus instead in some of the examples?
- Jesus asked this question at the end of the parable: “What will the vineyard owner do when he comes back?” With Jesus as the vineyard owner, how would you answer that question?
- Take some time here to be prayerful about times in your life when Jesus may have been rejected.
- If you have a cross that can be placed in the center of your place of study either write down on paper or use small stones to represent the times you have rejected Jesus recently, maybe today, maybe this week and leave them around the base of the cross. Close in prayer leaving these at the foot of the cross.