16 November 2018

Welcome to Friday’s Podcast.

Our reading today is Matthew 21: 33-46 but today I will focus on verse 42:

“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it’s marvellous in our eyes.”

Before we jump into the podcast – I’d like to thank you for listening! Next week Casey Strine, a member of our team, will continue our journey through Matthew’s gospel.

REFLECTION:

I recently built a log shed out of old pallets.

Not just any log shed but I’ve added a green roof – inspired by a trip to Norway!

My research told me the log shed would need extra strength to hold the roof – a green roof is a little heavier because it contains soil and grass.

I thought a lot about the structure and whether the roof would bear the weight.

I was feeling rather pleased with myself until I noticed that the log shed developed a lean… it was just steadily listing backwards. I checked every day and sure enough it seemed to me that the log shed was, like the leaning tower of Pisa, at a very slow gradual rate – it was sinking into the ground.

I was so focused on making it strong enough to hold the weight of the roof I hadn’t really thought too much about the foundations.

To fix it I used our car jack to lift it and place some very chunky bricks – not just any bricks – bricks from an old electric storage heater – to take the weight and stop the slow and gradual sinking.

I used those bricks to shore up the foundations which were inadequate.

Foundations are important, in your house and – I’ve discovered – a heavy log shed. Good foundations are vital for a healthy marriage and a healthy family.

Today I want us to think about foundations. In today’s passage Jesus is referring to himself as the ‘stone’ – sometimes known as the cornerstone. It really means foundation stone.

There are a number of references throughout the Bible to the ‘cornerstone’. Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22 which describes a situation where some builders are looking for a suitable stone – known as the cornerstone – some say that it’s either for the base of the building or to be fashioned to be the key stone at the top of the arch – but the point is that it’s the stone holds it together – it’s the most important stone. It’s the one that takes or holds the weight.

Jesus is saying “I am the cornerstone.” He’s the one that holds it together – the one at the centre of it all.

In fact the whole parable is a very, very strong challenge to those who have rejected Jesus – they are like those builders that rejected the cornerstone. Jesus doesn’t mince his words – they will face a judgement – two images: falling onto the stone or the stone falling on them. Crikey!

What can we take from this message?

My question today for my life is: How are my foundations? Honestly?

My log shed looked great when I’d completed it. It was fine when I’d made the green roof – the soil, the woodchip etc…

But when I filled it with logs – the weight bore down on it – then it became clear that foundations were insufficient.

The pressure of life stress tests the quality of our foundations.

Same with our spiritual lives.

Spiritual disciplines are vital. If we crack them in peace time – we’ll have them in war time. And if we crack them in war time – keep them in peace time.

I learned a few years ago – when the pressures of life come along – then I know I need to fix myself to the cornerstone.

What does that look like?

From my own personal experience: if I get up early each day and spend time with God. Read the Bible – read a Christian book. Worship either by strumming my guitar or singing – I’m ready for the day. I know if I ‘hear from God’ – my day starts from faith – I’m focusing on Jesus – holding onto the cornerstone.

If I don’t – I can find I’m losing my connection with the Lord.

Find what works for you.

If you’re listening to this – thankyou! I would encourage you to continue to do so. And if you’re part of STC then let me remind you that our church embarks upon the Grow Project – designed to help us build on Jesus, the cornerstone.

Sign up today on our church website.

PRAYER:

Thank you Jesus that you are our Cornerstone. We lean on you today. Teach us more and more to grow in faith.

READING: Matthew 21:33-46

‘Listen to another parable: there was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall round it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.

‘The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them in the same way. Last of all, he sent his son to them. “They will respect my son,” he said.

‘But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, “This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.” So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.

‘Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?’

‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,’ they replied, ‘and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.’

Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the Scriptures:

‘“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvellous in our eyes”?

‘Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.’

When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.