Luke 20 vs 19
“the stone the builders rejected”
There has been recently much comment on the need for ‘self-isolation’ in the control of infection from Covid-19. Students are now back at university...and hundreds of them are in enforced self-isolation. No mixing of households in private dwellings. All very difficult. Three men who are working on our neighbour’s house were having their lunch together, in the cab of their lorry, shoulder-to-shoulder! Not much isolation there!
There is however, one form of self-isolation at which we are ALL very good. Keeping ourselves separate from God. Looking into Daniel 2 we found Nebuchadnezzar having bad dreams. Why? Well, the king lived in splendid self-isolation. He was named after the Babylonian god of wisdom, Nabu. The chief god of his religion was Marduk, something to do with thunderstorms. But in the end they were only the product of human imagination which served to isolate people from the true “God of Heaven” (Dan.2:28, 36, 44).
The dream which Daniel explained showed that the king could not get away with this self-isolation forever. The “stone cut without human hands” (Dan.2:32) was the re-entry of God into His creation in a big way; smashing and blowing away that sinful self-isolation and setting up a new kingdom which would “endure forever” (Dan.2:44).
Centuries later there was One other who not only talked about Daniel’s “stone” but actually identified Himself with it...Jesus: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed” (Luke 12:10). What does this mean?
It means that the major event in history is that Jesus, the “stone” has ushered in a whole new order of life, God’s kingdom. It is NOT political, NOT geographical, it is spiritual. It tears people away from their love of themselves, away from their self-isolation from God and smashes their addiction to self-rule and sin.
How does this come about? Not by committee decision, not by adhering to a set of rules, NOT EVEN by going to church and doing all those religious things. It is by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ... the crucified, risen from the dead, reigning Person who is King alone over the stone which is growing into a huge mountain and filling the whole earth...forever!
Here is the question which we are left with. Can we read Daniel 2 and continue to self-isolate from God? We perhaps should take it as a warning. The forever kingdom has arrived in Jesus. We are either a part of it or we will be crushed by it. No one can oppose God’s growing kingdom; not Babylon, not the Europe, not your own personal little world. What other option is there? “The time has come,” Jesus said, “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). There is no other way!