Read: Acts 4:1-21
Consider: When Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin, Peter spoke fearlessly about the source of the power that enabled them to heal the lame man (see Acts 3:1-10 for details of the healing). Why were the religious leaders so outraged that a lame man had been healed? It is clear that it wasn’t the healing that annoyed them, but that it had been done in Jesus’ name. In Acts 4:1-2 we are told the Sadducees were part of this group objecting to what Peter was saying. As they didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead (see Matthew 22:23 and Mark 12:18), their objection was twofold: firstly, that Peter was giving credit for the healing to Jesus who had been crucified by the Roman authorities, and that they were claiming that this same Jesus has risen from the dead. On both counts this would have been seen as an affront to their beliefs. As it says in Acts 4:2 – They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
When defending himself and the other apostles, Peter quotes from Psalm 118:22 where it says: The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Notice that Peter changes the text from ‘the builders’ to ‘you builders’. Peter makes his counter accusation against the Sanhedrin that they have in fact rejected Jesus. Reading what Peter said you are probably wondering what a cornerstone is. When constructing a masonry building the cornerstone is the first stone laid and is important because all other stones will be set with reference to it. In other words, if the cornerstone is incorrectly set, then the whole building will be wrong. Can you see what Peter is saying to the Sanhedrin – the whole foundation (basis) of their faith is wrong because it is not based on Jesus. Having told the Sanhedrin that they have rejected Jesus, he goes on to say that only in Jesus is salvation to be found. This is something that even today the world finds difficult to accept.
The cornerstone is mentioned in several places in the Bible and if you have time, I would commend reading them to get a better picture of what is meant (see Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 28:16); Zechariah 10:4; Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:20 and 1 Peter 2:7). Let me leave you with a few verses from 1 Peter that speak of the building that is built on the cornerstone of Jesus: As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Pray: Father, we thank you that the foundation of our faith is Jesus. We praise you that you are building the church, with Jesus as the cornerstone and those who are in Christ as the living stones. Amen