Matthew 21:42-46 (NIV) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, but they were afraid of the crowd because the people held that he was a prophet.
Jesus was very clear in what He was saying here – so clear, in fact, that the targets of His parable, the chief priests and Pharisees, knew that He was talking about them.
But what must not be missed is that Jesus is here claiming an extraordinary place in God’s economy and plan. He is claiming that He Himself is the fulfillment of Psalm 118:22-23, that He is the stone that the builders, the chief priests and Pharisees, were rejecting; the stone that God will in turn make into the capstone of the New Jerusalem temple that He is building.
Jesus also personalizes the response to His parable. No longer is it about some mythical king and mythical farmers. It is about God and His kingdom. Since these leaders won’t repent, but will in short order effect Jesus’ execution on false charges that they themselves have trumped up, God will take the kingdom away from them, leaving them without His presence, His power, and His blessing. Instead, the kingdom will be placed into the hands of Jesus’ followers, and into the hands of the tax collectors and sinners who have believed and have repented of their sins. Jesus is convinced that this new core of believers will produce the fruit of God’s kingdom.
Jesus knows that the stiff necks of these leaders will be stiffened further by this pronouncement, as verse 46 shows clearly happened, and that they would ultimately be crushed and broken by the very truth that they were plotting to do away with.
Father, we turn a deaf ear to Your word at our own deadly peril, and we fight against Your plan at the cost of our very souls. How much better it is to simply yield ourselves to Your plan, to repent when we are wrong, and to follow Your footsteps wherever they may lead. Help me to continually live my own life along these lines. Amen.