The Cornerstone

So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.

Isaiah 28:16

I grew curious about this metaphor when I ran across it recently in my study of Acts 4.

Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’

Acts 4:11

I don’t want to bore you with details about early construction methods, but I am always gripped by God’s powerful communication, how he uses metaphors like this to resonate on so many levels of our being. We can grasp the idea visually and literally, but its impact reverberates to our core when we become aware of the perfect spiritual truth it supports.

This is an important metaphor to God, as he repeats it deliberately throughout scripture, 13 times to be exact. So join me in pausing to take a closer look.

The cornerstone was the literal foundation on which an entire structure rested. All other stones were set in reference to this one, thus determining the position of the entire structure. The position of the cornerstone joined two walls together at their base.

Based on this description the cornerstone serves three purposes:

  1. It supports all the other stones and holds the structure together.
  2. It is the guide or reference point to ensure proper alignment of the other stones, key to ensuring structural integrity.
  3. Its position as a joint unifies stones from different directions.

The dictionary definition is this:

The cornerstone is the basic part of something on which its existence, success or truth depends.


Jesus is the cornerstone between God and humanity. He is the link that holds us together. Paul makes the point throughout his writings that if we got it wrong about Jesus, our entire faith crumbles:

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

1 Corinthians 15:14


Since he is perfectly aligned with God, Jesus provides a reliable reference point for us to God. God views the entire “structure” of humanity from the vantage point of Christ, the perfect cornerstone and thus sees us as righteous through the grace and saving work of Jesus.


Jesus provides unity. He reunited, restored and redeemed our relationship with God. And, he unifies disparate humanity as we come to him from many different directions and in so many proverbial shapes and sizes. There is no stone he cannot use or will reject.

I thank God today for this beautiful illustration and insight into the power of the Christ as the perfect, essential linchpin between heaven and earth, between God and humans, unifying all who seek God in his righteousness.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

Acts 4:12

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