The etymology of a building block ( or) Inspiration from Peter, “Paul” & David


The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. Psalm 118:22 (David)

Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.”  Acts 4:11 (Peter)

The building block that was rejected became the cornerstone of a whole new world.  – Noel Paul Stookey

It’s fascinating, is it not, that a line from a Psalm by King David was quoted in a speech by Peter the Apostle to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem who were trying to find something they could pin on him to stop him from preaching Jesus Christ and the resurrection, and then quoted in a song by Noel Paul Stookey that has become a popular camp song? Such is the staying power of the word of God.

Who knows for sure why David first wrote it except by inspiration. He could very well have been referring to himself, but I doubt he was thinking of the Messiah here. Like all prophesies, it meant something in the current culture to which it was addressed before it means something in the future. This was most likely the case with David. But Peter picks it up a thousand years later in his answer to the Pharisees about why he can’t stop talking about Jesus, and notice how he interjects, “the stone you rejected.” He not only quotes David’s Psalm, he interprets it as being about Jesus, who was rejected, and about the Pharisees as being the ones doing the rejecting. That must have smarted. They would have locked Peter up for that except that he had just healed a crippled man who hadn’t walked for 40 years and “everybody in Jerusalem knows about it” (Acts 4:16).

The Apostles undoubtedly spent a good deal of time in Jerusalem while they were waiting for God to send the promised Holy Spirit, poring over the Old Testament scriptures noticing prophetic passages they never realized were prophetic until they had the completed picture of Christ’s death and resurrection. They must have been amazed at how much of the Jewish scriptures had been about Jesus, and they quote them often in their speeches to the Jews. These were incredible signs of affirmation to their faith and should be to our faith today to see this interrelatedness of the scriptures.

And then along comes Noel Paul Stookey, who writes and sings a song about the same thing a couple thousand years after Peter, that interprets it as being the cornerstone “of a whole new world.” That new world would be the church — the real church — all followers of Christ on earth and in heaven and ultimately the new heaven and earth He will create. Pretty awesome.

How did all of this come about? It was all orchestrated by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit through David, Peter and “Paul.” Stuff like this just makes my heart leap. God’s hand on three people over about 3,000 years has got to be plenty compelling to anyone’s faith, or to those who are looking for the faith to believe.

The Building Block

by Noel Paul Stookey


The building block that was rejected

Became the cornerstone of a whole new world

The building block that was rejected

Became the cornerstone of a whole new world

When I am down and unsuspected

With a burden that does not show

I think what time has resurrected

And how the sun can make the water flow


There is a man who has collected

All the sorrow in our eyes

He gives us love as God directed

But is seldom recognized


When all your dreams have been connected

And your vision has been returned

Remember, love, you are protected

By the truth your heart has learned.


The stone the builders rejected

    has become the cornerstone;

the Lord has done this,

    and it is marvelous in our eyes.

The Lord has done it this very day

(Psalm 118:22-24)

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