Cornerstone Promises



Then Jesus began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country.  When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard.  But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others.  Have you not read this scripture:

     ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;
         this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?”

When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.


We have learned much about the kingdom and King Jesus.  Jesus abundantly shares the “word of the kingdom,” and we are called to recognize and give our all for his pearl of great price.  Jesus is generous beyond imagination in grace and mercy, and we are called to be awake and wise as we wait for his kingdom’s fulfillment.  We have seen that the kingdom is hidden like a growing seed, and we are welcomed in just as we are, no matter how ordinary and insignificant we might see ourselves.

This week’s parable gives us a darker insight:  not all people want Jesus and his kingdom; rather, they want to rule a kingdom of their own and are willing to hurt and even kill to achieve this.  Jesus tells this story of the vineyard during Holy Week.  He has entered Jerusalem with crowds shouting joyfully with palm branches.  However, the religious leaders have come to Jesus and questioned his authority to preach, heal, and be compassionate and merciful to all.  Jesus refuses to respond to their questioning outright and instead tells this parable.  The beloved son (King Jesus) will be killed.  It looks like the evil that rejects the kingdom will triumph.

But that’s not the end of the story.  God is about to do something that will completely amaze us:  the One who is rejected, tossed aside as worthless, will become the One who is the cornerstone of the kingdom.  Even the death of the King cannot keep the kingdom from coming.


  • Reflect on this week’s scripture.  Are there any words or ideas that especially resonate with you or challenge you? 

  • Jesus quotes verses from Psalm 118.  Read this psalm that promises that good can come from evil.  You might also read Mark 11 to put the parable in context and Isaiah 5:1-2 which gives more background on God and vineyards.

  • This dark parable ends with the light of hope. Reflect on your life. What light has come from your dark times? How might this parable give you hope when you see darkness and impossible situations in our world?


Jesus, God’s Beloved Son,

Thank you for the times you amaze me

by bringing goodness out of impossible situations.

Grow my hope that you will use all the rejected good in the world

as building blocks for your kingdom.