Who Will Fall on this Stone?


In the Parable of the Vine-growers in Luke 20:1-19, Jesus taught that judgment would fall on the nation of Israel because of their rejection of the Messiah, the Son of God. The crowd's response to Jesus' parable culminated in His explanation that He was the One to whom the Psalmist referred to in Psalm 118:22, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE’ (Luke 20:17). Peter the Apostle says a similar thing:


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 (1 Peter 2:7).


Jesus then went on to give just two options, “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust” (v. 18). We are to be broken or to be crushed by the stone. What could He be meaning? Why would God want us to have a broken spirit? In what ways can a broken spirit be a blessing? Can you think of a time that God visited you in your brokenness? Did the experience make you more open to spiritual things?

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17).

Only in our brokenness will we begin to rely and lean on Christ. Our pride and self-confidence are what will keep the Messiah at arm’s length. He will not force His way into our lives. He desires that we come to Him and have our selfish will broke. C.H. Spurgeon, the great English preacher, once said: "When God wants to do an impossible task, He takes an impossible man and breaks him. We are but men, frail, feeble, and apt to faint." Charles Swindoll comments on Spurgeon's thought in this way:

I am intrigued by the word ‘broken.’ ‘It means, literally, ‘shattered.’ My sacrifice to God, according to Psalm 51:17, is a shattered spirit and a bruised heart. It is not until the pride of our heart is shattered that we will begin to understand the deep things of God.[1]


It is better to be broken and humble before God rather than allow life to break us down because of our painful choices. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (John 1:9). We can fall on the stone in repentance, brokenness, and adoration, or the stone will fall on us, crushing us in judgment. That was the choice before the listening leaders of Israel. Peter the Apostle wrote:


4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you 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. 6For 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” (1 Peter 2:4-6).

When you are presented with the truth of Jesus' words, you, too, must decide. Will you allow Christ's words room in your heart? Will you open the gate of your soul? We will all respond one way or another to the claims of Christ's authority. In chapters 19 and 20 of Luke, we have glimpsed a different Jesus than the one, perhaps, that you have envisioned. We saw His passion as He wept in unrestrained, heaving sobs over Israel. We saw His anger and courage as He cleansed the Temple and challenged the unjust authority there. We saw His tenderness alongside remarkable bravery. What a wonderful Savior we have in our Lord Jesus!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I recognize Your authority as the Great I Am. Open my eyes to know You more. I want Your truth to flood my soul. I know that You have my best interests at heart and that there is nothing that I can hide from You. Give me a fresh understanding of Your Word and Your ways. Transform me through Your words of life. Amen. Keith Thomas

Taken from the 66 free study series in the Book of Luke. Click study 53. The Parable of the Vine-Growers.

[1] Chuck Swindoll, Men of Action, What it Means to Be Broken, Spring 1996.