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 traditional canonical Greek bible

The standard collection of twenty-seven books of the New Testament, centers on the good news about Jesus the “Christ,” literally “the anointed one,” and his followers.  The collected canon of biblical books during the first four centuries is in itself an indication of how the value of these texts developed slowly and emerged over time.  These diverse inspired authors of the second half of the first century of the Christian era provide a basic insight into the thought and practices of the primitive Christian communities.  Our shared sacred documents also reveal information about the perceived role of the Holy Spirit in the activities and expectations of the newly forming Christian communities.

The nothingness of all nations (Isa 40:15-40:17)

“Even the nations are

Like a drop from a bucket.

The nations are accounted

Like dust on the scales.

See!

He takes up the isles

Like fine dust.

Lebanon would not provide fuel enough.

Its animals are not enough for a burnt offering.

All the nations are as nothing

Before him.

They are accounted by him

As less than nothing,

Emptiness.”

Second Isaiah has Yahweh compare the value of all the countries and nations. They amount to nothing. They are like a drop in the bucket or dust on a scale. Yahweh considers all the islands like fine dust. Lebanon with all its trees would not be fuel enough for Yahweh. There were not enough animals there to make a burnt offering for him. All the nations are empty nothingness before Yahweh.

The moon (Sir 43:6-43:8)

“It is the moon

That marks the changing seasons.

The moon governs the times.

It is their everlasting sign.

From the moon

Comes the sign

For festal days.

It is a light that wanes

When it completes its course.

The new moon,

As its name suggests,

Renews itself.

The month is named

After the moon.

How marvelous it is

In this change!

It is a beacon

For the hosts on high!

It shines

In the vault of the heavens!”

Sirach points out how important the moon was for the Israelites. First, the moon marked the changing of seasons. Then the festival days were based on the moon. Both Passover and the feast of the Tents were based on a full moon. In fact, calculating the observance of Christian Easter each year is based on the full moon of spring. We even still talk about a harvest moon and a romantic moon. The moon appears to become full and wane because of its position between the sun and the earth. Thus it looks like the new moon renews itself. The Israelite Hebrews had the same word for moon and month, since they used a lunar calendar to keep track of their days. Yet even today, we appreciate the value of a bright glorious moon in the heavenly sky at night.