Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29 (NRSV)
Verse 1O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
Verse 2Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures forever."
Verse 19Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
Verse 20This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
Verse 21I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
Verse 22The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
Verse 23This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Verse 24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Verse 25Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
Verse 26Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord.
Verse 27The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.
Verse 28You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.
Verse 29O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Familiar nuggets of scripture are found in Psalm 118: “O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!” (1, 29); “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (24); or “The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone” (22).
But wait! Now in Mark’s story Jesus quotes from the psalm when he tells the parable of wicked tenants. In the parable, the owner of the vineyard sends a slave to the tenants to collect his share of the produce. They beat the slave and send him home. This pattern of brutality is repeated over and over. Finally, the man sends his beloved son—whom they kill.
Jesus was forecasting how he, the One who deserves our devotion, would be rejected and killed. Remarkably, God did not call that “the last straw;” God made a home for sinners, built on Christ as the cornerstone. God is good. God’s steadfast love endures forever.
Jesus, you are the cornerstone of a whole new world. May your steadfast love endure forever. Amen.