8. Jesus our Head, Cornerstone, and Way


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Jesus is the one who calls men and women to follow his Way. Louis Comfort Tiffany, detail from 'Christ and the Apostles' (1890), Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass at Navy Pier, Chicago
Jesus is the one who calls men and women to follow his Way. Louis Comfort Tiffany, detail from 'Christ and the Apostles' (1890), Richard H. Driehaus Gallery of Stained Glass at Navy Pier, Chicago

We have looked at titles of Jesus, often formed by verbs of action, like Savior. But many of his titles are based on metaphors, such as Shepherd, that we looked at in Lesson 7. Now we'll examine several further metaphors used as titles to describe who Jesus is.

Jesus is Head

Three New Testament passages give titles of Jesus that include "Head." The first is part of an early hymn to Christ. We'll consider it again in Lesson 10.

"He is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
that in everything he might be preeminent."
 (Colossians 1:18)

Two additional passages speak of Christ as Head.

"The husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior." (Ephesians 5:23)

 "Now I want you to realize that the head of every man[113] is Christ...." (1 Corinthians 11:3)

The question we have is: What did "head" (kephalē) mean in first century Greek?

Head of the Body, the Church

Fig. 2. The Inter-Relationships of Kephale Concepts in Ephesians and Colossians.
Fig. 2. The Inter-Relationships of Kephale Concepts in Ephesians and Colossians.

Kephalē means first, the physical head, particularly in the head-body analogy. But then extends to a figurative use as "being of high status, head." With living beings, kephalē refers to superior rank. (such as in Colossians 2:10).[114]

Several themes circulate around the word kephalē, some of which overlap, as illustrated in Figure 2.

  1. Source, Creator (Colossians 1:16). We derive our idea of "headwaters" from this concept.
  2. Sustainer (Ephesians 4:16; 1:23; Colossians 1:17; 2:19).
  3. Source of Growth (Ephesians 4:15-16; Colossians 2:19).
  4. First in Rank (Colossians 1:18).
  5. Source of Unity. Christ is the beginning -- and the end. All creation finds its right place in him (Ephesians 1:10).
  6. Ruler (Ephesians 1:20-22; Colossians 1:10). Our "headmaster" carries this idea.

In some circles, people assume that "ruler, authority" is the only real meaning of "head." Not so.

In the title Head, the emphasis is on Christ's vital connection to the body. He is its sustainer, source of growth, origin, and authority. We are Christ's body here on earth and serve "in him" and under his direction. The point is that Christ not only has priority over the principalities and powers; he is the supreme Head of the church itself. We'll consider the titles Beginning and Firstborn from the Dead in Lesson 10.

Q1. (Colossians 1:18) How should the assertion that Jesus is the "head of the body, the church" affect the way we conceive of the church? Is he talking about the universal Church or a local congregation, or both? If we believe that Jesus is the head of the church, how should that affect the way we conduct our life and ministry as the church? In what ways does the visible church represent the "head"? How well do we, as the body, follow his leadership?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1629-q1-head-of-the-church/

God our Rock

Jesus had brought up a couple of messianic passages about stones. And several times in 1 Peter and once in 1 Corinthians, we see the title Rock. We'll examine these. It's important to note, however, that the title of Rock was first applied to God in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms. For example:

"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold." (2 Samuel 22:2 = Psalm 18:2)

As we've seen before, in the New Testament, Jesus is given many of the titles of divinity.

Messianic Prophecies Regarding the Stone

The connection between the Rock or Stone in the Old Testament is found in prophecies that were interpreted in Jesus' day as referring to the Messiah. The first uses the vocabulary of masonry construction.

"So this is what the Sovereign LORD says:
'See, I lay a stone[115] in Zion,
a tested stone,[116]
a precious cornerstone[117] for a sure foundation;
the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
I will make justice the measuring line 
and righteousness the plumb line....'" (Isaiah 28:16-17a)

A sure foundation must be constructed with quality materials as well as with accurate tools so that it is totally level and plumb. But the Lord is talking here about a spiritual building, not a physical one. This is clearly a messianic passage prophesying the day of righteousness that the Messiah will usher in, a day of justice and righteousness. Isaiah 28:16 was also interpreted messianically by the Jews, as is clear from its rendering in the Septuagint.

There are also Messianic references in the Rabbinical literature to the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel (Zechariah 4:10) and the stones in Isaiah 8:14, which is particularly germane:

"And he will be a sanctuary;
but for both houses of Israel he will be
a stone[118] that causes men to stumble
and a rock[119] that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap[120] and a snare."[121] (Isaiah 8:14)

A third messianic prophecy is found in one of Daniel's visions.

"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock[122] cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands -- a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces." (Daniel 2:44-45a)

It has clear messianic implications, for it speaks of the Kingdom of God which will be set up in the Last Days.

A fourth messianic prophecy is found in Psalm 118, one of the Hallel songs that pilgrims sang on their way to worship in Jerusalem at Passover, though it was apparently not interpreted messianically in Jesus' time.

"The stone[123] the builders rejected has become the capstone; [124]
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes." (Psalm 118:22-23)

Stone, Cornerstone, Foundation, and Capstone

All four of these are quoted in the New Testament with reference to Jesus. After the Parable of the Tenants in Matthew, Jesus offers this interpretation of Psalm 118:22-23.

"42 Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures:

  "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; [125]
  the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes"?

43 "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. 44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.'" (Matthew 21:42-44)[126]

Jesus takes a passage that wasn't traditionally interpreted messianically with devastating effect. The "builders" are the leaders of Judaism who have become his arch enemies.[127] The word "rejected" is apodokimazō, "reject (after scrutiny), declare useless."[128] The rulers didn't just make a quick judgment error on the spur of the moment. This word indicates that they had a chance to examine the "stone" carefully and then reject it after reflection.

Whether the stone is "head of the corner" or "capstone," the point is that while this strategic stone was rejected by the builders, it ultimately was placed by God in the key position of the entire building.

Jesus' choice of words concerning the destruction of the Messiah's enemies is a sober one. The word translated twice in this verse as "falls" is the common Greek verb piptō. The word translated "broken to pieces" is Greek synthlaō, "crush (together), dash to pieces," to crush in such a way that an object is put in pieces.[129] The word translated "crushed" or "grind to powder" is the Greek verb likmaō.[130] These words, calling on the rock-crushing imagery of Daniel 2:44-45, portend a terrible fate for the Messiah's enemies -- and for the nations of the world that stand against the Kingdom of God.

Peter, speaking to the rulers and elders (the "builders") boldly declares Jesus to be this one whom they rejected.

"He is 'the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone.'" (Acts 4:11)

Paul compares the Church to the construction of a holy temple,

"Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." (Ephesians 2:20)

In another passage on building the church, Paul says,

"No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid,
which is Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 3:11)

Jesus the Living Stone is part of the foundation as well. He is the one who called the apostles, taught them, and commissioned them to pass on his message to us. He is also the Redeemer who brought us salvation. Here he is referred to as the "chief cornerstone" (akrogoniaios), which means "lying at the extreme corner.[131] It is used of Christ in our passage and also in 1 Peter 2:6, a reference to Isaiah 28:16.

Peter uses the imagery of Jesus the Stone and the temple to teach the unity of the church by interweaving three out of the four messianic prophecies we have identified.

"4 As you come to him, the living Stone -- rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him -- 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:

  'See, I lay a stone in Zion,
  a chosen and precious cornerstone,
  and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

  'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone, 8 and,

  'A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.'

They stumble because they disobey the message -- which is also what they were destined for." (1 Peter 2:4-8)

"Capstone" (NIV) is literally "head of the corner" (NRSV, KJV). Though the ESV and NASB translate it "cornerstone," probably in this instance it refers to a keystone that locks a building together from above. "A stone that causes men to stumble" (NIV, NRSV), is also translated "stone of stumbling" (ESV, KJV), and "stumbling stone" (NKJV). "Rock that makes them fall" (NIV, NRSV), can also be "rock of offense" (KJV, ESV).

Now we come to a passage where Paul uses a form of a rabbinical argument to affirm that the pre-existent Christ travelled with the Israelites to meet their needs.[132]

"... They drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." (1 Corinthians 10:4)

As we reflect on the titles of Jesus as Spiritual Rock, Stumbling Stone, Crushing Stone, and Cornerstone, we see different aspects of Jesus' role. As our Spiritual Rock he is our strength, our might, our sustaining fortress in the midst of conflict. As Stumbling Stone Jesus' divinity and absolute authority highlight the reasons people avoid real discipleship; they are too enamored with their own will to surrender to his will. As Crushing Stone, Jesus is the one who will come as conquering King to usher in the Kingdom of God -- and to destroy with violence all the worldly competitors to his supremacy. As Foundation he is the only one on which we can build a life that will endure. As Cornerstone or Capstone, he is the one who holds our lives together and crowns them with glory.

Q2. (1 Peter 2:4-8) In what way are these rock images of Christ attractive to our world? In what way do they repel people? Why? In what ways do you see Jesus as a Rock, Stone, and Foundation in your own life?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1630-q2-rock-stone-foundation/

Jesus the Way, the Door, the Gate

We've looked at Jesus as Head and Rock. Now we turn to another metaphor. We find Jesus calling himself the Way and the Door or Gate, all of which point to him as the sole access we humans have to God.

"Someone asked him, 'Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?' He said to them, 'Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.'" (Luke 13:23-24)

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)

As offensive as it may be to non-believers, Jesus is the Way, the only way, the exclusive way. "Way," of course, refers to a road or pathway.[133]

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

Jesus declares that he himself is the Way, the "road, highway"[134] to the Father's presence, the Father's house -- heaven, if you will.

This shouldn't surprise us. Jesus' characteristic call is, "Follow me!" As we follow him and are obedient to what he teaches us, then he will lead us all the way to the Father's presence.

This phrase, "The Way," is used several places in the Scriptures.

  • Isaiah looks forward to "a highway... [that] will be called the Way of Holiness" (Isaiah 35:8).
  • Paul testifies that he persecuted "the followers of this Way" (Acts 22:4).
  • The writer of Hebrews speaks of "a new and living way" that gives us access into God's very presence (Hebrews 10:19-20).

In a similar way, Jesus is the exclusive "gate" (NIV, NRSV) or "door" (ESV, KJV) into the sheepfold.

"I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.... I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." (John 10:7, 9)

Perhaps Jesus is comparing himself to a gate to protect the sheep, swinging open on hinges to let the sheep through. But there is another possibility, illustrated by a story told about George Adam Smith.

"[Smith] was one day travelling with a guide and came across a shepherd and his sheep. The man showed him the fold into which the sheep were led at night. It consisted of four walls, with a way in. [Smith] said to him, 'That is where they go at night?' 'Yes,' said the shepherd, 'and when they are there, they are perfectly safe.' 'But there is no door,' said [Smith]. 'I am the door,' said the shepherd. '... When the light has gone and all the sheep are inside, I lie in that open space, and no sheep ever goes out but across my body, and no wolf comes in unless he crosses my body; I am the door.'"[135]

As the Apostle Paul explained,

"Through him we both [Jew and Gentile] have access to the Father by one Spirit." (Ephesians 2:18)

Jesus' blood shed for us opens up a "new and living way" to the Father (Hebrews 10:20). Because of Jesus, we have full access to the Father.

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

To say that Jesus is "the Way," the only legitimate "Door" into the fold, is to affirm that he is the path to God, the only path. Soon after Jesus' resurrection, Peter affirmed this exclusivity.

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

This offends our world. Our society wants to believe that there are many paths to God in the way that "all roads lead to Rome." That tolerance is the value above all others. But the Scriptures declare that Jesus is the one and only Son of God. He is ultimate truth. Life comes exclusively through him. He is the Way that leads to God.

We can declare this angrily to our corrupt and adulterous generation. Many do so. But I think it is more productive to cast this in a positive light. Many people feel lost and feel like they need guidance. We can assure them that Jesus is the Path that will lead them to joy in this life -- in spite of struggles -- and to eternal joy in the life to come.

Q3. (John 14:6; 10:7, 9) In light of all the world's religions, how can Jesus be the Way to God, the exclusive door or gateway? Why does this offend the world? Since it is true, how can we most winsomely declare this truth to our generation?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1631-q3-jesus-the-way/

Banner for the Peoples

Another title is related. Jesus is the Banner, the rallying point for all. In a clear messianic prophecy, Isaiah points to Jesse's descendent as "a banner for the peoples."

"In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples;
the nations will rally to him,
and his place of rest will be glorious." (Isaiah 11:10)

"Banner" (NIV), "signal" (NRSV, ESV, NASB), "ensign" (KJV) is nēs. "In the OT, nēs generally means a rallying point or standard which drew people together for some common action or for the communication of important information. This usually happened on a high or conspicuous place within the camp or community.[136]

This title recalls Jesus' prophecies of being "lifted up" and becoming the rallying point for all who believe.

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life." (John 3:14-15)

"'And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.' He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die." (John 12:32-33)

Jesus being lifted up on the cross has indeed become a rallying place, a source of inspiration, and cause for devotion for his followers. And many have become his followers as they meditated on what he did for them on that cross.

Jesus, the Great Physician

The final title we'll consider in this lesson is a metaphor -- that of physician, a healer. Jesus recognized that his enemies would have used this title in a common Jewish proverb to taunt him.

"Surely you will quote this proverb to me: 'Physician, heal yourself! Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.'" (Luke 4:23-24)

Later, when Levi/Matthew the tax collector was called, Jesus was invited to a banquet in the new convert's home, joined by other tax collectors and those known in the town as "sinners." Jesus was criticized for associating with them.

"[Jesus] said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.'" (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31)

Though the title "Great Physician" isn't found in the Bible, it has been applied by Jesus' followers since then, since Jesus is the one who heals us. There's an old African American spiritual that sees Jesus in the prophecy of Jeremiah 8:22 concerning the balm or therapeutic aromatic resin or ointment characteristic of the region of Gilead,

"There is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole,
There is a balm in Gilead, to heal the sin-sick soul."

Jesus is the one who can make us whole! Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Whole!

Q4. (Luke 4:23) How does Jesus as the Great Physician resonate with our broken world? What does it mean to you that Jesus is your Great Physician and Healer?
http://www.joyfulheart.com/forums/topic/1632-q4-great-physician/

Names and Titles of Jesus: A Discipleship Study, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Also in paperback, PDF, and Kindle

Jesus is Supreme. He is the head over the Church and over us also. He is the strong and stable Rock that the Israelites identified with Yahweh in the Wilderness. He is the Tested and Tried Stone that God lays as our Sure Foundation. He is also the Stumbling Stone and ultimately, the Stone that Crushes those who oppose him. Those who sought to be leaders, held onto their positions rather than acknowledge him as the Chief Cornerstone that God had ordained. He is the Living Stone upon which we are built into a living temple.

He is our Way, our Gate, our Door. He is the Banner or Signal that draws us, and he is the Physician who heals us and makes us whole. His name is Jesus, and we love him!

Prayer

Thank you, Jesus, for being our Head, our Rock, our Sure Foundation. We struggle with selfishness and self-rule, rather than submitting willingly to your rule. Forgive us. Let us not stumble over you, but rather live in you. Jesus our Way, lead on and we will follow. In your holy name, we pray with thanks. Amen.

Names and Titles of Jesus

  • Head (Ephesians 4:15)
  • Head of the Body (Colossians 1:18)
  • Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18)
  • Head of Every Man (1 Corinthians 11:13)
  • Stone (Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:44; Luke 20:18)
  • Tested Stone (NIV, NRSV, ESV, Isaiah 28:16)
  • Tried Stone (KJV, Isaiah 28:16)
  • Precious Cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16)
  • Sure Foundation (Isaiah 28:16)
  • Stone that Causes Men to Stumble (NIV, Isaiah 8:14; NIV, NRSV, 1 Peter 2:8)
  • Stone of Stumbling (KJV, Isaiah 8:14; ESV, KJV, 1 Peter 2:8)
  • Stone of Offense (ESV, Isaiah 8:14)
  • Rock of Offense (ESV, KJV, 1 Peter 2:8)
  • Rock that Makes Men/Them Fall (Isaiah 8:14; NIV, NRSV, 1 Peter 2:8)
  • Rock of Stumbling (ESV, Isaiah 8:14)
  • Trap (NIV, NRSV, ESV; Isaiah 8:14; Gin, KJV)
  • Snare (Isaiah 8:14)
  • Rock Cut out of a Mountain (Daniel 2:45)
  • Stone the Builders Rejected (Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7)
  • Capstone (NIV, Psalm 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:7)
  • Cornerstone (ESV, Psalm 118:22; ESV, NRSV, Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20; ESV, 1 Peter 2:7)
  • Chief Cornerstone (NRSV, Psalm 118:22; NIV, KJV, Ephesians 2:20)
  • Head Stone of the Corner (KJV, Psalm 118:22)
  • Head of the Corner (KJV, Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; NRSV, KJV, 1 Peter 2:7)
  • Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11)
  • Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4)
  • Chosen and Precious Cornerstone (NIV, 1 Peter 2:6)
  • Cornerstone Chosen and Precious (NRSV, ESV, 1 Peter 2:6)
  • Chief Cornerstone, Elect, Precious (KJV, 1 Peter 2:6)
  • Spiritual Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4)
  • Way (John 14:6)
  • Gate (NIV, NRSV, John 10:9)
  • Door (ESV, KJV, John 10: 9)
  • Gate for the Sheep (NIV, NRSV, John 10:7)
  • Door of the Sheep (ESV, KJV, John 10:7)
  • Banner for the Peoples (NIV, Isaiah 11:10)
  • Signal to/for the Peoples (NRSV, ESV, Isaiah 11:10)
  • Ensign of the People (KJV, Isaiah 11:10)
  • Physician (NIV, ESV, KJV, Luke 4:23; also NRSV, Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31)
  • Doctor (NRSV, Luke 4:23)

Songs and Hymns

These songs relate to various metaphors relating to Jesus, with titles such as Head, Stone, Cornerstone, Foundation, Stone, Rock, Way, Gate, Door, Banner, Ensign, and Physician.

  • "A Shelter in the Time of Storm" ("Jesus is a rock in a weary land"), words: Vernon J. Charlesworth (1880), music: Ira D. Sankey (1885)
  • "All the Way My Savior Leads Me," words: Fanny Crosby (1875), music: Robert Lowry (1875)
  • "Come, O Come, Emmanuel" ("Ensign of thy people, Desire of nations"), words: 12th century; music: 15th century
  • "Cornerstone" ("On Christ the Solid Rock I stand"), by Edward Mote, Eric Liljero, Jonas Myrin, Reuben Morgan, William Batchelder Bradbury (© 2011 Hillsong Music Publishing)
  • "Firm Foundation," by Nancy Gordon and Jamie Harvill (© 1994, Integrity's Hosanna! Music)
  • "His Banner Over Me is Love" ("I am my Beloved's and he is mine"), unknown author.
  • "His Banner Over Me," by Kevin Prosch (© 1991 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing)
  • "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" ("Let the Healer set me free"), by Martin Smith (© 1994, Curious? Music UK)
  • "I Will Look Up" ("Jesus, Lord of All ... Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer, King of Kings, Mighty Savior"), Chris Brown, Jason Ingram, Mack Brock, Matt Redman, Wade Joye (© 2013 Said And Done Music )
  • "In Christ Alone" ("This Cornerstone, this solid Ground"), by Keith Getty, Stuart Townend (© 2001 Thankyou Music)
  • "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less" ("on Christ the solid rock I stand"), words: Edward Mote (1834), music: Solid Rock: William B. Bradbury (1863)
  • "My Redeemer Lives" ("I'll raise a banner") by Reuben Morgan (© 1998 Hillsong Music Publishing)
  • "Praise the Name of Jesus" ("Hes my Rock ... Fortress ... Deliverer"), by Roy Hicks, Jr. ( 1976, Latter Rain Music)

  • "Shout for Joy" ("Like a banner high, lift up your grateful heart to the Morning Star ... He's the Saving One"), by Jason Ingram, Lincoln Brewster, Paul Baloche (© 2010 Integrity Worship Music)
  • "The Church's One Foundation" (Is Jesus Christ her Lord"), words: Samuel J. Stone (1866), Music: Aurelia, Samuel S. Wesley (1864)
  • "The Way," by Ben Cantelon, Nick Herbert, Tim Hughes (© 2014 Ben Cantelon Designee)
  • "We Want to See Jesus Lifted High" ("A banner that flies across this land"), by Doug Horley (©1993, Thankyou Music)

Exercises

From Appendix 6. Exercises to Help You Internalize the Names of Jesus, select some activities that will help you internalize the truths of this lesson's names, titles, descriptors, and metaphors. This week, how can you creatively pray, meditate, write, worship, consider, draw or paint, compose, picture, and live out these truths in your community?

Actively participating in these ways will help you grow to be like Christ.

Endnotes

[113] Anēr, "male."

[114] Kephalē, BDAG 541-542.

[115] "Lay a stone" (NIV), "laid as a foundation" (ESV), "lay for a foundation stone" (KJV, cf. NRSV) is ʾeben, "stone" and mûsād, "foundation, laying, foundation," from yāsad is "to found, to fix firmly" (TWOT #875d).

[116] "Stone" is ʾeben. "Tested" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "tried" (KJV) is bōḥan, "testing" used as an adjective.

[117] "Precious" is yāqār, from yāqar, "be precious, valuable, costly." "Cornerstone" is pinnâ, "corner." "Cornerstone" in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) translation of Isaiah 28:16 is Greek arkogoniaios, "at the extreme angle, the corner foundation-stone" though some defend the idea of "capstone." BDAG 39-40; Lidell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (abridged, Oxford Press, 1871), p. 28. The question is whether the cornerstone of Scripture is a foundation stone or a stone which crowns the building. Isaiah 28:16 seems to refer to the former and Psalm 118:22 (rōʾsh pinnâ) to the latter. By extension, in the NT, Christ is both the foundation on which the church is built, and he is also the coping stone or keystone which crowns the church" (Victor P. Hamilton, TWOT #1738a).

[118] ʾEben, "stone."

[119] Ṣûr. "Rock stands for boulders or formations of stone and for the material which composes mountains" (John E. Harley, TWOT #1901a).

[120] "Trap" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "gin" (KJV) is paḥ, "bird trap" (see Amos 3:5), from pāḥaḥ, "to ensnare" (TWOT #1759a). "Gin" is a Middle English word, short for "engine," which referred to any of various tools or mechanical devices. It is used today mainly in "cotton gin."

[121] "Snare" is môqēsh, "snare," from yāqāsh, "to lay a snare, set a trap." A fowler (yāqûsh) was the one who trapped birds (TWOT #906c). A snare would be used to catch birds, while a trap was used to catch animals, though both words are used of a bird trap (John E. Hartley and Alice Hickcox, "Snare," ISBE 4:556).

[122] Eben, "stone."

[123] ʾEben, "stone."

[124] Pinnâ, "corner."

[125] "Capstone" (NIV), "cornerstone" (ESV, NRSV), "head of the corner" (KJV). The exact role of the stone in this passage has been disputed. KJV translates the Greek literally, "head of the corner," that is, the cornerstone of a building, one of the first building blocks placed in a building. Others consider it to be the capstone above the door or the porch. Jeremias, p. 274, asserts that according to the agreed testimony of the Syriac translation of Psalm 118.22, Symmachus, Testimony of Solomon, Hipp., Tertullian, Aphraates, Prudentius, and Synagogue poetry, the reference is "the stone which crowns the building, or, more precisely, the key stone of the structure probably set above the porch."

[126] Matthew 21:42 quotes Psalm 118:22-23, while verse 44 refers first to Isaiah 8:14, then to Daniel 2:44-45. Luke is similar. In Mark only 118:22-23 is quoted.

[127] "Builders" is a participle of the Greek verb oikodomeo, "build," construct a building. It is also used in a transcendent sense for building up the Christian church (Matthew 16:18; Romans 15:20; 1 Peter 2:5). Oikodomeo, BDAG 696.

[128] Apodokimazo, BDAG 110.

[129] Sunthlaō, BDAG 972.

[130] Likmaō, BDAG 596.

[131] Akrogoniaios, BDAG 39-40. cornerstone," sometimes interpreted as the "capstone."

[132] The reference to "the spiritual rock that accompanied them" (10:4) alludes to a Jewish legend (cf. Pseudo-Philo, Biblical Antiquities, 10.7; Tosefta Sukkāh 3:11-12) that conceived the idea of a rock which travelled alongside the people during their 40 year journey and supplied them with water as they required it. Paul doesn't endorse this legend, but affirms that Christ travelled with the Israelites to meet their needs (Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians, p. 91).

[133] "Way" is hodos, generally, an established "way" or "course," such as a road or channel of a river. It is often used as "way, road, highway." Figuratively, it is used of the whole way of life from a moral and spiritual viewpoint, "the way, teaching," in the most comprehensive sense (BDAG 692, 3c).

[134] Hodos, BDAG 691, 3a.

[135] Morris, John, p. 507, n. 30, citing G. Campbell Morgan, The Gospel According to John (London and Edinburgh, 1951). In the fuller quote, Smith explains that the shepherd "was not a Christian man, he was not speaking in the language of the New Testament. He was speaking from the Arab shepherd's standpoint."

[136] People would rally together around a nēs for various purposes, one of the most important being the gathering of troops for war. cf. Isaiah 11:12. Marvin R. Wilson, nēs, TWOT #1379a.


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