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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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.

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.

Praise for the Divine presence (Sir 43:27-43:33)

“We could say more.

But we could never say enough.

Let the final word be.

‘He is the all.’

Where can we find the strength

To praise him?

He is greater

Than all his works.

Awesome is the Lord.

He is very great.

His power is marvelous.

Glorify the Lord!

Exalt him as much as you can!

He surpasses even that.

When you exalt him,

Summon all your strength.

Do not grow weary!

You cannot praise him enough.

Who has seen him?

Who can describe him?

Who can extol him as he is?

Many things greater

Than these lie hidden.

I have seen

But a few of his works.

The Lord has made all things.

To the godly,

He has given wisdom.”

Sirach assumes the first person plural saying that he or we could say more, but it would never be enough. In fact, Sirach is very close to a pantheistic view when he maintains that the Lord is all things. However, he quickly corrects himself when he says that the Lord is greater than all his works, separating him from his creation. The Lord is awesome, very great, marvelous, and powerful. Where do we get the strength to praise the Lord? We should glorify him and exalt him as much as we can. We should not grow weary because we can never praise God enough. Nobody has seen him or described him. How can we extol him enough? Sirach has related what he has seen, but there are many more hidden things about the Lord, since he is the creator of all things. Luckily, he has given wisdom to the godly, so that they will experience a few of these marvels of the Lord.

The hymn of praise (Sir 39:16-39:21)

“All the works of the Lord

Are very good.

Whatever he commands

Will be done

At the appointed time.

No one can say.

‘What is this?’

‘Why is that?’

At the appointed time,

All such questions

Will be answered.

At his word,

The waters stood in a heap.

The reservoirs of water

Stop in a heap

At the word of his mouth.

At his commands,

His every purpose is fulfilled.

None can limit his saving power.

The works of all

Are before him.

Nothing can be hidden

From his eyes.

From the beginning

To the end of time,

He can see everything.

Nothing is too marvelous for him.

No one can say.

‘What is this?’

‘Why is that?’

Everything has been created

For its own purpose.”

Sirach begins this hymn of praise to the Lord by saying that all his works are very good. The Lord commands everything in his own time. No one should question him with what is this or why is it that way. All the questions will be answered at the appropriate time. He made the waters and the reservoirs of water stand in a heap. No one can limit his saving power since all his commands get followed. He sees everything, since nothing can be hidden from him, since the beginning of time to the end of time. Nothing is too marvelous for him. Therefore no one should question the Lord because everything has a purpose.

Humble submission as a child (Ps 131:1-131:2)

A song of ascents, of David

“Yahweh!

My heart is not lifted up.

My eyes are not raised too high.

I do not occupy myself with things

Too great for me.

I do not occupy myself with things

Too marvelous for me.

But I have calmed my soul.

I have quieted my soul.

I am like a weaned child with its mother.

I am like a weaned child.”

Psalm 131 is another short psalm in this series of pilgrimage songs on the ascent to Jerusalem. However, this one is of David. His heart is not lifted up. Neither are his eyes raised up. He does not care about things that are too great or too marvelous for him. He has calmed and quieted his soul. He is like a child that has just been weaned from its mother, but still likes to be close to his mother.

Yahweh controls the seas (Ps 104:24-104:26)

“Yahweh!

How manifold are your works!

In wisdom,

You have made them all.

The earth is full of your creatures.

Yonder is the great wide sea.

Innumerable creeping things are there.

There are living things,

Both small and great.

There go the ships!

There is Leviathan

That you formed to play sport with it.”

The works of Yahweh are marvelous. Yahweh created all these things out of wisdom. The earth is full of all Yahweh’s creatures. Then the psalmist turned to the seas and how great and wide they are. However, he then talked about the innumerable living things, both great and small in the sea. Even today, we are still just beginning to understand all the living creatures in the seas. Of course, there were the ships that transported goods and people around. However, there also was the great sea monster Leviathan. Interesting enough here it is considered some kind of sport rather than a menace as outlined in Job, chapter 41.