Lean On Jesus
Chan Gin Kai
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “‘The stone 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.”
The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
We can often view a person, or receive a person’s words in two ways… positively or negatively. This is very much the case with Jesus and his words too. How do we choose to view him and respond to his words?
Jesus quoted Psalm 118 when he described himself as “the stone the builders rejected”. He was rejected by the religious leaders, but he “has become the cornerstone”, the first and most important part of a building. And there are two opposite ways we can respond to this cornerstone. We can fall on Jesus and be broken of our pride and self-will, or we can reject him and be crushed to powder.
The religious leaders chose to reject Jesus. What do we choose?
It seems like a lose-lose situation. Fall on Jesus and be “broken to pieces”, or have the stone fall on us and “be crushed”. We are caught between a rock and a hard place (pardon the pun); neither really sounds appealing.
But look a little deeper, and we will learn how beautiful it can be if we allow Jesus to break our pride and self-will.
The cornerstone that breaks us is also the foundation that the church and our new lives are built on.
In traditional masonry construction, the cornerstone was the most important part of the foundation. It was the first stone that was laid, at the bottom, when constructing a building. From the cornerstone, more stones were laid to extend outwards, and upwards. It set the direction for how the other walls were built, and it bore the weight of all the stones above it.
It is an imagery that is beautiful and reassuring. Jesus is the cornerstone, the foundation that the church is built on. He sets the direction of the church, holds it together, and bears its weight. He is what makes the church strong.
Jesus is not only the cornerstone of the church; he should be the cornerstone of our lives too.
We are assailed by a storm of temptations, shaken by persecutions, and worn down by daily exposure to a world that holds different values from us. We have to weather the downpour of negativity that often surrounds us. We want to be strong, but get disappointed by how quickly we tire; we want to be brave, but see our courage fail. We need a cornerstone that is unshakeable, on whom we can build our lives.
I had often wanted to play the hero because the world is full of “monsters”. I wanted to be a prayer warrior. I wanted to be a man of faith. I wanted to be a fearless preacher of the gospel. I dreamt big because I truly wanted to serve God. It was true there were some momentary flashes of self-aggrandisement, but I had aspired mostly because I am grateful to God and I love the church.
And then I encountered distractions, and faced rejections, and saw how quickly the best-laid plans unravel. Not only did I fail to become the disciple that Christ has called me to be, I found myself changing into the kind of man I’ve vowed never to become. I willed myself to build those dreams again and again, reminding myself that a Christian needs to persevere through all challenges, but saw all my best efforts crumble.
I failed because Jesus was not the cornerstone I had built on. He is whom I try to build FOR, but he was not whom I had built ON. There is a difference. My dreams may be noble, my motives may be pure, but I failed each time because I had not built on him.
I am weak… It took me some time to realise it, and a longer time to admit it. I could not accept that I am weak because I thought that it was wrong to be weak. There is nothing wrong in being weak; it is simply what I am. As long as I refused to accept that I am weak, I could not turn to Jesus for strength. I cannot become a better person through sheer willpower, but I can change when I build my life on Jesus.
We are called to lead righteous lives in a world of pleasures, and entrusted with a mission that daunts the bravest. It is a burden that weighs heavily on our weak shoulders. But Jesus had said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Jesus is our cornerstone; he is strong and he holds everything together. We can lean on him.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.