The rejected stone (Lk 20:17-20:17)

“But Jesus

Looked at them.

He said.

‘What then does

This text mean?’

‘The very stone

That the builders rejected

Has become

The cornerstone.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς εἶπεν Τί οὖν ἐστιν τὸ γεγραμμένον τοῦτο Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες, οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας;

 

Luke indicated that Jesus looked at them (ὁ δὲ ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς).  He asked (εἶπεν) what this written biblical text meant (Τί οὖν ἐστιν τὸ γεγραμμένον τοῦτο)?  He then quoted Psalm 118, 22 that the very stone that the builders had rejected (Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες) has become the chief headstone or the cornerstone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of the building.  This citation of Psalm 118:22-23 can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:42, and in Mark, chapter 12:10-11, but in a longer version.  Mark said that Jesus asked them if they had not read the scriptures (οὐδὲ τὴν γραφὴν ταύτην ἀνέγνωτε) especially Psalm 118, that was also part of the Hallel prayer.  Then Jesus quoted a few verses of this psalm about the stone that the builders had rejected (Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες), because they probably thought that it was inferior.  Now, that very stone has become the cornerstone or key head stone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of that building.  Then he added that this was the work of the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη) that was amazing and marvelous to everyone’s eyes (καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν).  Matthew indicated that Jesus asked them (Λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) if they had read the scriptures (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς)?  Then Jesus quoted a few verses of this Psalm 118: 22-23, the same as Mark, with a line more than Luke, about the stone that the builders had rejected (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς), because they probably thought that it was inferior.  Now, that very stone has become the cornerstone or key head stone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of that building.  This was the work of the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη) that was amazing and marvelous to everyone’s eyes (καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν).  The rejected cornerstone was a hint at Jesus’s own rejection by the Jewish leaders that would be a big mistake.  Have you ever misjudged the value of a person?

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Talking in the hill country (Lk 1:65-1:65)

“Fear came over

All their neighbors.

All these things

Were talked about

Throughout

The entire hill country

Of Judea.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πάντας φόβος τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς, καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ὀρεινῇ τῆς Ἰουδαίας διελαλεῖτο πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα,

 

Luke said that the gossip began.  All the neighbors of Zechariah and Elizabeth were afraid, as fear came over them (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πάντας φόβος τοὺς περιοικοῦντας αὐτούς).  They talked about or discussed all these things (διελαλεῖτο πάντα τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα) throughout the entire the hill country of Judea (καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ὀρεινῇ τῆς Ἰουδαίας).  Something amazing had happened to this old couple of Zechariah and Elizabeth with their new born child, John.

 

The corner stone (Mk 12:10-12:11)

“Have you not read

This scripture?

‘The stone

That the builders rejected

Has become

The cornerstone.

This was the Lord’s doing.

It is amazing

In our eyes.’”

 

οὐδὲ τὴν γραφὴν ταύτην ἀνέγνωτε Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες, οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας·

παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη, καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν;

 

This citation of Psalm 118 can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:42, and in Luke, chapter 20:17, in an abbreviated fashion.  Mark said that Jesus asked them if they had not read the scriptures (οὐδὲ τὴν γραφὴν ταύτην ἀνέγνωτε) especially Psalm 118, that was also part of the Hallel prayer.  Then Jesus quoted a few verses of this Psalm 118: 22-23, about the stone that the builders had rejected (Λίθον ὃν ἀπεδοκίμασαν οἱ οἰκοδομοῦντες), because they probably thought that it was inferior.  Now, that very stone has become the cornerstone or key head stone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of that building.  This was the work of the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη) that was amazing and marvelous to everyone’s eyes (καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν).  The rejected cornerstone was a hint at Jesus’s own rejection by the Jewish leaders.

Jesus taught with authority (Mk 1:22-1:22)

“They were astonished

At his teaching.

He taught them

As one having authority,

Not as the Scribes.”

 

καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ· ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων, καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς.

 

There is something similar to this in Luke, chapter 4:32, and Matthew, chapter 7:29, where Jesus was teaching with authority.  The people of this Capernaum synagogue were astonished or amazed at his teaching (καὶ ἐξεπλήσσοντο ἐπὶ τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ), since he taught them as if he had authority (ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων αὐτοὺς ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων), not like the Scribes (καὶ οὐχ ὡς οἱ γραμματεῖς αὐτῶν).  What was this authority that Jesus had?  He was not like one of these Scribes, who were religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish society.  They might have been the forerunners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  Jesus taught on his own authority without referring to tradition.  He was amazing.

Citation of Psalm 118 (Mt 21:42-21:42)

“Jesus said to them.

‘Have you never read

In the scriptures?

‘The stone

That the builders rejected

Has become

The cornerstone.

This was the Lord’s doing,

It is amazing in our eyes’”

 

Λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς, οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας· παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη, καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν;

 

This citation of Psalm 118:22-23 can be found in Mark, chapter 12:10, word for word, and Luke, chapter 20:17, in an abbreviated fashion.  Jesus asked them (Λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) if they had read the scriptures (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς) especially Psalm 118, that was also part of the Hallel prayer.  Then Jesus quoted a few verses of this Psalm 118: 22-23, about the stone that the builders had rejected (Οὐδέποτε ἀνέγνωτε ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς), because they probably thought that it was inferior.  Now, that very stone has become the cornerstone or key head stone (οὗτος ἐγενήθη εἰς κεφαλὴν γωνίας) of that building.  This was the work of the Lord (παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο αὕτη) that was amazing and marvelous to everyone’s eyes (καὶ ἔστιν θαυμαστὴ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν).

Insincere worship (Isa 29:13-29:14)

“Yahweh said.

‘These people draw near

With their mouths.

They honor me

With their lips.

However their hearts

Are far from me.

Their worship of me is

A human commandment

Learned by rote.

So I will again do

Marvelous things

With this people,

I will again do

Shocking things.

I will again do

Amazing things.

The wisdom of their wise

Shall perish.

The discernment of their discerning

Shall be hidden’”

This oracle of Yahweh, via Isaiah, centers on insincere worship. They adore the Lord with their mouths and lips, but their hearts are far away. They only praise the Lord because of human demands, as they recite rote prayers. However, Yahweh, the Lord, was going to do marvelous, amazing, and shocking things for his people. The wisdom of the wise would perish, while the discernment of the discerning was hidden.

The inability to enjoy a wealthy life (Eccl 6:1-6:6)

“There is an evil

That I have seen under the sun.

It lies heavy upon humans.

God gives wealth.

God gives possessions.

God gives honor to people.

Thus they lack nothing of all that they desire.

Yet God does not enable them

To enjoy these things.

But a stranger enjoys them.

This is vanity.

It is a grievous illness.

If a man beget a hundred children,

If a man lives many years,

However many are the days of his years,

But he does not enjoy life’s good things,

If he has no burial,

I say

That a stillborn child is

Better off than he.

‘It comes into vanity.

It goes into darkness.

In darkness

Its name is covered.

Moreover it has not seen the sun

It does not know anything.

Yet it finds rest rather than him.’

Even though he should

Live a thousand years twice over,

Yet enjoy no good,

Do not all go to the one place?”

Qoheleth finds another evil under the sun in his pessimistic mood. What happens to those who have everything that they desire? Somehow they are not able to enjoy all their wealth. Instead a stranger seems to enjoy them. This is another useless vain thing, another grievous illness among us. Even if someone had 100 children and a long life, but cannot enjoy them, what is the point of all this? If he does not even get a burial, this wealthy person with a large family and a long life is no better off than a stillborn child. This is an amazing comparison. He maintains that the stillborn is better off because it lives in darkness with no name, never seeing the sun, or knowing anything, but finds a better rest than this old rich guy with the large family. Even though this person might live 2,000 years, he would not enjoy any good things. After all, the stillborn and this old guy, as well as everyone else, will end up in the same place, dead.