Psalm 118:22-23 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the LORD has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes.
Understandably, the application of this verse as predictive prophecy is recognised clearly in the New Testament. Jesus himself quoted it after his Parable of the Tenants of the Vineyard (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10-11; Luke 20:17), and the Apostle Peter quoted it to the the Jewish High Priest and other leaders when he and John were arrested for preaching and healing in the Name of Jesus (Acts 4:11-12). Peter again made reference to it in his First Letter (1 Peter 2:4-8), as did Paul, indirectly in Ephesians 2:20-22. It could have been at the forefront of John’s mind as he wrote the first chapter of his Gospel: “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11).
To what lengths our holy, righteous, all-powerful God was prepared to go in order to save us sinners! Not only did he become a man as one of us, but he came deliberately into a situation where he would be rejected by the very ones who should have welcomed him with open arms! As Isaiah also prophesied: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
It should not surprise us, therefore, that WE are facing more and more opposition and rejection today for proclaiming the Name of Jesus as the only Saviour. As Jesus warned us in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me” (Matthew 5:11). Nothing takes our Sovereign God by surprise as he works out his purposes in his world, so it is comforting to know that “All things, in fact, come to us not by chance but from his fatherly hand” (Heidelberg Catechism Q.27).
The Saviour, who promised us his Holy Spirit, is able to comfort/strengthen/guide us whenever we experience rejection, because he, himself, has experienced it for us. As the Author of Hebrews reminds us “… we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). “‘Man of Sorrows’, what a name for the Son of God who came, ruined sinners to reclaim – Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” (Philip Bliss).
– Bruce Christian