Psalm 118:22
The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner. This may be the rejoicing of the leader of the procession, when it is admitted within the gates of the new temple, and advances towards the great altar. We must remember that we have here poetical figure, and we must not endeavor to force the language, as if it were descriptive fact. The figure is a very familiar one. God constantly makes the "weak things of this world confound the things that are mighty" Israel, as a nation, was like a despised stone in Babylon; now that it had again its sacred temple, it might easily be thought of as having become the corner-stone of the temple of religion for humanity. "This saying was true of David, the despised one among the sons of Jesse, but raised to be the ruler of Israel and the progenitor of Christ. It was true of his descendant Zerubbabel, the head of the returning Israelites after the Captivity, whose person and work were despised (Zechariah 4:10), but who began and finished the building, and who ' brought forth the head-stone with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it!' (Zechariah 4:7). But it was to be fulfilled in the largest sense by Messiah, as the Jews themselves acknowledge." "Israel is this stone, rejected as of no account in the political plans of those who were trying to shape the destinies of the Eastern nations at their own pleasure, but in the purpose of God destined to a chief place in the building up of history." "The emblem applies with the fullest meaning to our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though rejected by the Jewish authorities, was nevertheless destined to unite both Jews and Gentiles in one vast and glorious spiritual building."

I. THE ELEVATIONS AND BENEDICTIONS OF GOD ARE ALWAYS A SURPRISE TO THE MODEST AND HUMBLE SOUL. Their natural feeling leads them to wonder why God has dealt so graciously with them. They contrast their insignificancy in themselves with the dignities to which God lifts them; and feel the surprise of Divine grace.

II. MODEST AND HUMBLE SOULS ARE THE ONES BEST FITTED TO RECEIVE DIVINE ELEVATIONS AND BENEDICTIONS. The man who glories in what he attains, as if he had obtained it himself, is proved unworthy of the elevation, and is not likely to make the best of it. The David-mood is always more hopeful than the Solomonic. In what mood do we regard the triumphs of Divine grace in our lives? - R.T.

The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
The ode seems to have been sung in a solemn procession to the temple; and by the Levitical band in responsive chorus. The stone, styled the "head of the corner," was not placed on the top of the wall, but in some important and conspicuous position. Now, when the temple was built, a stone, intended by the original designers for this purpose, seems to have been rejected by the builders, and cast away as useless among the rubbish: but as no other stone could be found to supply its place, either from necessity, or from Divine warning, the despised stone was sought for, and built into that honourable station to which by the heavenly Architect it had been destined. And when the gates of the temple were opened, and the procession was arranged in its courts, its massive buildings and golden ornaments are left out of view, — though the most prominent beauties of the wonderful fabric , — and by the Spirit of God this truly wonderful event is commemorated, as being the most notable in the history of the erection of the sanctuary, as proving the minute and surprising care which God exercised over His house, and as being typical of future erections no less strange and worthy of celebration. The verse may now be illustrated by a reference to Christ as Prophet, as Priest, as King.

I. AS PROPHET. The important office of teacher or interpreter of the will of God has been exercised by the Son of God ever since revelations have been made to the world. As Logos, or Oracle, the Son bears such a relation to the Father as speech does to thought. This mysterious personage was the Jehovah of the Hebrew nation, who gave the law from Sinai, and was worshipped on Sion, and came at length to "His temple," which He had consecrated and inhabited. But when Messiah appeared in human form, and began his prophetical career, proclaiming the spirituality and extent of the law of God, — affording evidence of His divine mission by miracles so decisive, so public, so frequent, so peculiar, — then was the indignation of the builders excited. And as the stone despised by the builders might be cast away among the rubbish, and be at length buried and out of sight, so was Jesus slain, and committed to the sepulchre, and hid from view in its depth and darkness; yet, though rejected, has He become the head of the corner. To prove Himself the faithful and true Witness He rose from the dead; if by His own power, then He was God, and as God could neither deceive nor betray His creatures; if by His Father's power, then Jehovah would not accredit an impostor. Now Jesus is exalted as the great Prophet of the Church, though He was once despised; and now, what with the descent of His Spirit to guide into all truth; what with the commission, "Go ye into all the world," and the varied qualifications for that lofty enterprise; and what with the living ministry which He has founded, and perpetuated, and blessed to preach the Word; may we not perceive the truth of the psalmist's declaration, and may we not add in adoring wonder and gratitude, "This is the doing of the Lord!"

II. AS PRIEST. The priesthood of Jesus is of eternal ordination. In virtue of His priesthood did He act with men as a prophet. It was necessary that He should assume our nature, that He might have somewhat to offer; yet, alas! how few recognized His sacerdotal dignity. Nor were they without warning from the typical language of their priesthood and sacrifices; yet, through prejudice, they would not recognize a priest in Jesus, for He wore not the sacred vestments, and was not sprung from Aaron, — nor an atonement in the death of Him who died on Calvary amidst the scorn and execrations of the multitude. This His noblest office was unseen, unvalued; and, in His decease, men saw nothing but the merited end of treason and blasphemy. Hoping to effect the extinction of His pretensions by His death, they assisted only in unfolding His designs. Immortal life to a dying world has flown from His blood, — yet, though the manner of His death combined the stigma of slavery with the degradation of crime, that death was a true and proper sacrifice, vicarious, perfect, accepted, successful. And now in heaven the great High Priest in the heavenly temple has become the head of the corner. Now does He pursue the great work of intercession in the realms of repose and glory; by His "own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us."

III. AS KING. The incarnate Jesus had been often depicted by the prophets as a monarch, "on the throne of His father David," — yet "when He came to His own, His own received Him not." Was not He who died on Calvary condemned for His treasonable aspirations to the throne of Judea? And who could fancy Him a king who wore no diadem and waved no banner, lived in obscurity and privation, and died in desertion and ignominy? But the stone, though disallowed of men, is chosen of God and precious. God hath raised Him from the dead, and placed Him at His own right hand, and endowed Him with universal government. The sceptre of all worlds is swayed by a human arm. So that if you consider what contempt was poured upon Jesus as a King, — how they crowned Him with thorns, and put a reed in His hand, and arrayed Him in garments of mock royalty, and bowed the knee before Him in contemptuous obeisance, and placed a tablet over His cross, and inscribed on it as His accusation, "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews"; and then again consider His present exaltation to the throne of the universe, angels obeying His word, and the countless armies of heaven rejoicing to execute His mandates, and the work of the last judgment committed to His hand; you cannot fail to perceive how truly the symbol has been verified: "The stone which the builders despised is become the head of the corner."

(John Eadie, D.D.)

I. VIEW THE CHURCH AS A HOUSE OR BUILDING (Isaiah 2:2, 3; 1 Corinthians 3:9).

II. THE CHARACTER GIVEN TO CHRIST WITH RELATION TO THIS BUILDING. He is "the Stone" in a way of eminence and excellency. He is the matchless and incomparable Stone, for He is the chief Stone of the corner; the brightness of His Father's glory is in Him, and the express image of His Person.


IV. THE FATAL ERRORS OF THESE BUILDERS SPOKEN OF IN MY TEXT. They reject the Stone, without which their whole building was nothing but a medley of confusion, however glorious it might appear in their own eyes.

1. This fatal error of theirs proceeded from their ignorance of Christ, in the excellency of His person, and of the glorious mystery of redemption and salvation through Him (Acts 3:17; 1 Corinthians 2:7, 8).

2. Mistaken notions of the nature of the Messiah's kingdom was another cause of their rejecting this precious stone. What a dangerous thing it is not to have right conceptions of the spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom.


1. It implies Christ's exaltation and victory over all His enemies and opposers.

2. It implies that God has a great regard for the glory of His Son, as the Head and King of His Church.

3. It implies that the whole spiritual fabric or building of the Church hangs upon Him, as the superstructure leans upon the foundation and chief corner stone.

4. It implies that He alone is the centre of unity in the Church.

5. It implies that Christ is the beauty and ornament of His Church, for much of the beauty and ornament of the building lies in the corner stone.

6. It implies that they who would build the Church of Christ must still have Him in their eye, and that the whole of their conduct and administration in the house of God must be regulated with a view to His glory and honour.

7. It implies that God and corrupt builders are driving quite different measures and designs.


1. Let us beware of the fatal errors before mentioned, whereby the Jewish builders ruined their once glorious fabric, and buried themselves in the ruins thereof.

2. Let us seek the builders' word from the great Master-builder; for there is a word which Christ gives to His faithful ministers, whereby the art of building is much conveyed (John 17:14).

3. Let us take care that every stone of the building corresponds with the foundation and corner stone. In order to which, let us examine our own and others' doctrines and conversation by the plumb-line and infallible rule of the word (Isaiah 8:20).

(E. Erskine.)


1. The ignominy with which they treated His Person.

2. The opposition with which they met His doctrine.


1. His Person has become highly exalted.

2. The victory gained by His doctrine, in rapidly subduing the hearts of men, and nations of men, to the faith.


1. It is the doing of all the persons in the Trinity.

2. It is the doing of all the attributes of the Godhead.

3. It is the doing of all the dispensations of Providence.


1. The exaltation of the Saviour's mediatorial person is marvellous in our eyes.

2. The victory gained by the doctrines of Christ. "It is marvellous in our eyes." There is a sevenfold marvel; whether you consider the doctrine which won the victory, the instruments employed, the weapons that were wielded by those instruments while they were propagating the doctrine, the opposition over which it triumphed, the number of those on whom it took hold, and over whom it prevailed, or the supernatural effects on all those of whom it took hold — whether you consider the one or the other, "it is marvellous in our eyes."

(J. Beaumont.)

I. THE FACT. We have Christ's authority for applying this spiritually to Him. The rejection of Christ foreknown. Rejection by man no proof of worthlessness: the rejected may be of God. Men reject the greater for the lesser; the moral for the sensual, all self-indulgent men risk their moral in gratifying their sensual; the spiritual for the natural, God has ordained us to life by faith, because that life is higher and nobler than the life of sense or appearance; the enduring for the sake of the temporal: all this in rejecting Christ. Hostility to Him worse than useless — ruinous.

II. THE CAUSE. "This is the Lord's doing." God works by man: through man as an agent: over man as the sovereign fjord. God works by the wrath of mum the child's rebellion and anger will not frustrate the father's purpose. That may be the Lord's doing which looks very unlike it. Evil a mystery, but God's doing through it, clear in the Gospel, though nowhere else.

III. THE RESULT. "It is marvellous in our eyes." The scheme of salvation, marvellous in conception, unlike and beyond all human thought. All that God does should be marvellous to us, would be if we were His little children. Wonder plays an important part m our history and religion.



1. He was clearly placed before the Jewish people as the stone which God would lay in Zion as the foundation of their hopes, but they persistently refused Him. Alas, for the blindness of men's hearts.

2. His rejection was rendered the more remarkable and the more sorrowful because He was rejected by the builders or leaders of the nation.

3. It was a violent and indignant rejection. They were not content to say, "He is not the Messiah," but they turned their hottest malice against film; they were furious at the sight of Him.

4. This rejection was most unreasonable; they did. violence to truth and justice by their evil deed.


1. At this moment Christ has the chief place of honour in the building of God.

2. Nor is He alone eminent for His position of honour, but for His surpassing usefulness. He is the head stone of the corner, that stone which joins two walls together, and is the bond of the building. Jew and Gentile are now one in Christ Jesus. Wondrous corner stone Thou dost bind all of us together who are in Thee, so that by love of Thee we are builded together for a temple of the Holy Ghost. Thou art the perfect bond, the eternal holdfast, the Divine cement which holds the universe in one. Is it not written, "By Him all things consist"?

3. Our Lord Jesus Christ then is brought up from all rejection and shame go which His enemies put Him to be by usefulness and by honour the grandest personage upon the face of the earth; and all this none the less, but all the more, because He was rejected. He lost nothing by His enemies. They scourged His back, but they did not rob Him of that imperial purple which now adorns Him; they crowned Him with thorns, but those thorns have increased the brilliance of His diadem of light; they pierced His hands, and thereby prepared them to sway an irresistible sceptic of love over men's hearts; they crucified Him, but His crucifixion led Him to His greater honour.

III. THE EXALTATION OF CHRIST IS DUE TO GOD ALONE (ver. 23). Jesus Christ's name and work were at length had in honour in the world, but this was due to no man's wisdom, eloquence, or power, but entirely to the Lord, who is wonderful in counsel and great in might. When I consider how hostile is human nature to the Gospel, the very existence of a true Church in the world is to me a miracle. Just think of it. Why, at this very day, we have all the wisdom, and power, and eloquence, and skill of the superstition of the world arrayed against the simple Gospel of Jesus. Though they are agreed in nothing else, they all unite against Christ.

IV. THE EXALTATION OF THE REJECTED CHRIST COMMENCES A NEW ERA (ver. 24). We date from our Lord's resurrection even as the Jews of old counted from the night wherein they went out of Egypt. What is this day which the Lord hath made? I reply first, it is the day of the Gospel. Through our Lord's exaltation pardon for the guilty is freely preached among all nations, and whosoever believeth in Him hath everlasting life. What day is this which the Lord hath made? Why, in the next place, it is a Sabbath day, the beginning of a long line of Sabbaths. The day in which our Lord Jesus rose from the dead is now sacred to rest and holy joy. Let us keep it with reverent love, and bless God for making it. Again, "This is the day which the Lord hath made." The resurrection of Christ commences an era of triumph. We have spoken of the Gospel day, and the Sabbatic day, but it is also a day of victories. As Jesus Christ rose from the dead, so will His truth continually rise from the sepulchre into which men may east it. As he triumphed over the powers of death and darkness, so will His Gospel triumph over all opposition.


1. A prayer for salvation. Put it in the present tense. Ask for a display of the present saving power of our exalted Head.

2. The other half of the prayer is for prosperity. "O Lord, send now prosperity."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The corner is the place where two walls meet, and the corner stone is that by which they are connected or combined. Hence the idea suggested by a corner stone is mainly that of union; and it is as uniting what was separated or detached that Christ is specially presented to us under such an emblem. And verily He was the Corner Stone. In His Person were combined the Divine nature and the human; and it was this combination, His being the Corner Stone between God and man, which alone fitted Him for the vast office He had undertaken to discharge. Did He not, moreover, unite Jew and Gentile, making both one, by removing all ceremonial distinctions, and founding a Church which threw open its gates to every nation under heaven? Nay, did He not unite God and man in another sense by becoming, in His own person, a Corner Stone? He reconciled the world to its Maker — He restored harmony where sin had wrought a fearful separation. Yes, He was, and He is, the Corner Stone between earth and heaven. But it is evident from the manner in which St. Peter has quoted the prophecy in our text, that it had especial reference to the resurrection of Christ. It was by and through the Resurrection that the rejected Stone was exalted to the head of the corner; and forasmuch as the alleged marvel lies evidently in the transition from the rejection to the exaltation, we are bound to conclude that the process through which the transition took place had much to do with the wonder expressed by the psalmist. And never ought the Resurrection of the Redeemer to appear to us other than a fact as amazing as it is consolatory; for there is a respect in which the resurrection of Christ differs immeasurably from every other recorded case of the quickening of the dead. Others were raised by Christ, or by men acting in the name and with the authority of Christ; but Christ raised Himself. He rose from the grave — rose by His own act. "Destroy this temple," said He, "and in three days I will raise it up;" the evangelist adding, as a comment, "He spake of the temple of His body." Marvel of marvels! that which we believe will not cease to be marvellous when eternity has been given to its contemplation — is that "the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us"; but the marvel seems immeasurably heightened when the dead Christ, as well as the living, may be defined as actually a person of the Godhead. Divinity in the gravel — this is a stupendous thing. But Divinity was in the grave — Divinity was proved to have been in the grave, when the rejected Stone, by the exercise of its own power, came forth from the grave. Verily, we must exclaim with the psalmist — "This is the Lord's doing." The resurrection of Christ, effected through His own power, supersedes all necessity for any other miracle in evidence of the Divine origin of Christianity. How could that being be less than Deity itself, who, even when dead in human nature, was mighty enough to quicken that nature — who, by the strangest of all combinations, must have been dead and alive at once, and who was able, in that respect in which He was alive, to reanimate Himself in that respect in which He was dead? Need we ask whether this excites your amazement? Oh! which of you, when he thinks how, in rising from the dead, the Redeemer destroyed the curse and provided that "the creature itself also should be delivered from the bondage of corruption" — which of you can refuse to join in the exclamation — "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes"? But amazement or admiration is not only the feeling which the fact before us should excite. The battle, the narrative of which is so surprising, was fought in our behalf, and the landscape, which awakens such lofty emotions, includes within its sweep whatever is most precious to ourselves. A Redeemer detained in the grave, would have necessarily been a Redeemer unable to redeem; a stone not exalted to "the head of the corner," would have been one which failed to combine earth and heaven. We, then, who can rejoice, because there has arisen a Mediator between us and God, must therefore rejoice in the exaltation of the rejected Stone. It was in the rising to "the head of the corner" that this Stone swept down the obstacles to the forgiveness of man, and opened to him the pathway to heaven and immortality. And there is more to be said than this. The resurrection of our own bodies is intimately connected with the resurrection of Christ — connected, as an effect with a cause; "for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead: for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." Therefore, if it be any cause for joy that our bodies are to rise, it is cause for joy that the Stone rejected by the builders was exalted of God to "the head of the corner." And the resurrection of the body is a cause for joy. The body, indeed, is to be a spiritual body, and therefore will renovated materialism assume a more spiritual character, congenial to that of the celestial inhabitants; but a material system there surely shall be — a material world, with material loveliness, and an over-arching sky, in which, when the present constellations shall be quenched, their places shall be filled with others, more beautifully, more eloquently bright. If such, then, be the resurrection, and such our personal interest in the rising of the rejected Stone to be "the head of the corner," it is not amazement only with which you will hear the record or look upon the landscape. The record is that of a stupendous victory, but a victory which secured you the means of grace and the hope of glory. Oh! then, delight must be added to amazement. If you have already exclaimed with a tongue of wonder, "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes," will you not now add with a tongue of exultation, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it"?

(H. Melvill, B.D.)

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