Septuagesima Week – Saturday
The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. – Matthew 21:42.
On Tuesday morning Jesus returned to the temple, and preached to the people assembled there the Gospel, the good tidings that He, Christ, their Lord and Savior, had now come. Then the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him and said: “By what authority doest Thou these things? And who gave Thee this authority?” (v. 23). Jesus answered and said to them: “I also will ask you one thing, which, if ye tell me, I in likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John: whence was it? From heaven or of men?” (vv. 24-25a).
And they reasoned with themselves, saying: If we shall say, From heaven, He will say unto us, Why did ye not, then, believe him? But if we shall say, Of men, we fear the people, for the people regarded John the Baptist, who had testified that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and the Son of God, as a prophet. And they answered Jesus: “We cannot tell” (v. 27a), whereupon He said to them: “Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (v. 27b). They plainly did not want to believe in Him, and were hardened in their enmity against Him. This very thing He told them in strong terms and in parables, and said: “The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you” (v. 31b). And furthermore He said: “Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the Head of the corner? This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Therefore say I unto you: The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (vv. 42-43). And they sought the more to kill Jesus (v. 46).
Indeed, they, the builders of Israel, were hardened. They rejected Israel’s Messiah, the Savior of the world. But the Stone which the builders rejected, the same became the Head of the corner of God’s eternal temple, the one, holy, Christian Church. “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes” (v. 42b; see also Psalm 118:22-23). This plan of God, giving the world a Savior, “foreordained before the foundation of the world” (I Peter 1:20), is His work; it is His doing; it is marvelous and awesome in our sight. Why? Because no human being deserved this Savior; no one merited this marvelous Gift of Christ Jesus; no one earned this great Treasure of the Lamb of God, “which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Consider all the other blessings in our lives! We also say concerning those blessings: “These blessings are the Lord’s doing; they are marvelous in our eyes?”
PRAYER. – O Lord Jesus, help me to grow in distinguishing more and more between those who are Thy enemies and also my enemies, and those who, by Thy grace and mercy, are Thy friends and also my friends. Through Thy Word, increase my Godly wisdom and my right judgment. Continue to hear me and continue to help me. Amen.
Lord Jesus, Thou the Church’s Head; Thou art her one foundation;
in Thee she trusts, before Thee bows, and waits for Thy salvation;
built on this Rock secure, Thy Church shall endure,
e’en though the world decay, and all things pass away; oh hear, oh hear us, Jesus!
O Lord, let this Thy little flock, Thy name alone confessing;
continue in Thy loving care, true unity possessing;
Thy Sacraments, O Lord, and Thy saving Word;
to us e’er pure retain; grant that they may remain, our only strength and comfort.
Help us to serve Thee evermore, with hearts both pure and lowly;
and may Thy Word, that light divine, shine on in splendor holy;
that we repentance show, in faith ever grow;
the pow’r of sin destroy, and all that doth annoy; oh, make us faithful Christians.
(Hymn 477, st. 1-3; TLH)