Matthew 21:44
He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."
The Stone of StumblingAlexander MaclarenMatthew 21:44
Parable of the Wicked HusbandmenMarcus Dods Matthew 21:33-44
Goodness and SeverityJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 21:33-46

Foundations are not now laid as in olden times. Foundation stones are now mere ornaments. There is no sense in which buildings now rest on them. Memorial stones are taking the place of foundation stones. Probably the figure of the "cornerstone" is taken from the corner of Mount Moriah, which had to be built up from the valley, in order to make a square area for the temple courts. Dean Plumptre says, "In the primary meaning of the psalm, the illustration seems to have been drawn from one of the stones, quarried, hewn, and marked, away from the site of the temple, which the builders, ignorant of the head architect's plans, had put on one side, as having no place in the building, but which was found afterwards to be that on which the completeness of the structure depended, that on which, as the chief cornerstone, the two walls met, and were bonded together." Take this suggestion, and consider -

I. CHRIST AS THE PREPARED CORNERSTONE. Describe the work done on the limestone block in order to fit it for its place as a foundationstone. The apostle permits us to think of the experiences of our Lord's human life as fitting him to be the Saviour he became. The Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, for his work as the "bringer on of souls." "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things that he suffered." The Cornerstone was being chiselled and, bevelled for its place. Work out this figure.

II. CHRIST AS THE REJECTED CORNERSTONE. When our Lord spoke, the Cornerstone was almost ready; and there were the men who prided themselves on being the builders of God's temple of religion. And they were, then and there, rejecting that "tried Stone, that precious Cornerstone." They would put nothing on it. It was not to their mind. It may lie forever in the quarry for all they care. But happily they were only like overseers, or clerks of works. The Architect himself may order this Stone to be brought, and made the "Head of the corner."

III. CHRIST AS THE HONOURED CORNERSTONE. The Architect himself did interfere, brushed those petty officials aside, had the tried Stone brought out, and on it he has had built the new temple of the ages. That temple is rising into ever richer and nobler proportions, and it was never more manifest than it is today, that the "Cornerstone is Christ." - R.T.

he stone which the builders rejected.
I. It is God's work.

1. Contrary to intentions or acts of the builders.

2. No one else competent to perform it.

II. It is a marvellous work.

1. From extent of agency employed.

2. Divine attributes displayed.

3. Demerit of its objects.

4. Number and extent of its benefits —

(a)wrath removed;

(b)reconciliation and peace;

(c)access to God;


(e)sanctified nature;

(f)eternal life. Learn —

(1)this work challenges our trust;

(2)requires thought;

(3)Demands unceasing praise.

(Preacher's Portfolio.)

I remember, away up in a lonely Highland valley, where beneath a tall black cliff, all weather-worn and cracked and seamed, there lies at the foot, resting on the green sward that creeps round its base, a huge rock that has fallen from the face of the precipice. A shepherd was passing beneath it, and suddenly, when the finger of God's will touched it, and rent it from its bed in the everlasting rock, it came down, leaping and bounding from pinnacle to pinnacle, and it fell; and the man who was beneath it is there now! "It will grind him to powder.'"... Therefore I say to you, since all that stand against Him shall become "as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor," and be swept utterly away, make Him the foundation on which you build, and when the storm sweeps away every refuge of lies you will be safe and serene, builded upon the Rock of Ages.

(Dr. McLaren)

I. The greatest JUDGMENT which can ever befall a people is taking the kingdom of God from them. The kingdom of God was taken by the Jews themselves for some peculiar and temporal blessings which those who enjoyed it had above all other people. It was taken by our Saviour for a clearer manifestation of the will of God to the world, and the consequence of that in the hearts of good men, and all the spiritual blessings which do attend it. So that the taking away the kingdom of God from them must needs be the heaviest judgment which could befall a people, since it implies in it the taking away all the greatest temporal and spiritual blessings. Jews make the kingdom of God to consist(1) in deliverance of them from their enemies;(2) in the flourishing of their state, or that polity which God established among them;(3) in the solemn worship of Him at the temple.All these were taken away. Take the kingdom of God in the sense our Saviour meant — the power of the gospel — and the judgment is yet more evident.

1. It is acknowledged by the Jews themselves that these great calamities have happened to them for some extraordinary sins.

2. The sin ought to be looked on as so much greater by how much heavier and longer this punishment hath been than any inflicted on them before.

3. The Jews have not suffered these calamities for the same sins for which they suffered before.

4. It must be some sin which their fathers committed, and which continues yet unrepented of by them to this day.There were these remarkable forerunners of desolation in the Jewish state which I am afraid we are too much concerned in.

1. A strange degeneracy of all sorts of men from the virtues of their ancestors.

2. A general stupidity and inapprehensiveness of common danger.

3. An atheistical contempt of religion.

4. Spiritual pride.

II. The greatest MERCY that can ever be vouchsafed to a nation is God's giving His kingdom to it.

(Bishop Stilligfleet.)

The Jews were the first builders to whom God gave the privilege to build His Church. Three things the corner-stone is to the builder's work —

1. The structure ranges up to the corner-stone. All else is below, that it may be high; all ministers to it. Abase yourself that Christ may be exalted.

2. The whole fabric holds up the head of the corner to the view of men that it may be admired. Take care that the aspect which your religion wears to every man is not yourself, but Christ.

3. Let Christ, as the stone does the corner, bind everything. He is the one cementing all that is true. Whatever is in Christ, though it be repugnant to your feelings, do not send it away from you.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

The two clauses of the text figuratively point to two different classes of operation — in the one case the stone is represented as passive, lying quiet; in the other, it has got motion. In the one case, it is a self-inflicted, remedial injury; in the other, it is total and judicial.

I. EVERY MAN HAS SOME KIND OF CONNECTION WITH CHRIST. The gospel must influence every man somehow; it is an element in our present civilization. Christ does something to every one of us. He is either the rock on which I build or a stone of stumbling.

II. THE IMMEDIATE ISSUE OF REJECTION OF HIM IS LOSS AND MAIMING — "Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken." The positive harm. No man ever yet passively rejected Christ; there is always a slight struggle with right before living away. So that every man who rejects Christ wounds his own conscience, hardens his own heart, makes himself a worse man. By the natural result of his unbelief his nature " shall be broken." I need not dwell on the negative evil results of unbelief; we fail to possess the great Jove of God by which only we are made what we ought to be. Not only by the act of rejection of Christ do we maim ourselves, but also all attempts of opposition to the gospel as a system stand self-convicted — "Whosoever falls on this stone shall be broken."

III. THE ULTIMATE ISSUE OF UNBELIEF IS IRREMEDIABLE DESTRUCTION WHEN CHRIST BEGINS TO MOVE. The former clause has spoken about the passive operation of unbelief whilst the gospel is being preached; this about the active agency of Christ, "It shall grind him to powder."

(A. McLaren, D. D.)

David, Jesus, John
Bethany, Bethphage, Galilee, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives, Nazareth, Zion
Broken, Crush, Crushed, Dust, Fall, Falleth, Falling, Falls, Grind, Hurt, Pieces, Powder, Scatter, Severely, Stone, Utterly, Whomever, Whomsoever
1. Jesus rides into Jerusalem upon a donkey
12. drives the buyers and sellers out of the temple;
17. curses the fig tree;
23. puts to silence the priests and elders,
28. and rebukes them by the parable of the two sons,
33. and the husbandmen who slew such as were sent to them.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 21:44

     1240   God, the Rock
     5282   crushing

Matthew 21:28-44

     4538   vineyard

Matthew 21:28-45

     7555   Sadducees

Matthew 21:33-44

     2309   Christ, as judge
     6223   rebellion, of Israel

Matthew 21:33-46

     4208   land, divine responsibility
     7135   Israel, people of God
     7552   Pharisees, attitudes to Christ

Matthew 21:42-44

     4366   stones
     5269   cornerstone

The Stone of Stumbling
Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.'--MATT. xxi. 44. As Christ's ministry drew to its close, its severity and its gentleness both increased; its severity to the class to whom it was always severe, and its gentleness to the class from whom it never turned away. Side by side, through all His manifestation of Himself, there were the two aspects: 'He showed Himself froward' (if I may quote the word) to the self-righteous
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Coming of the King to his Palace
'And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2. Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto Me. 3. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4. All this was done, that it might he fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5. Tell ye
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The vineyard and Its Keepers
'Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34. And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A New Kind of King
'All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass.'--MATT. xxi. 4, 5. Our Lord's entrance into Jerusalem is one of the comparatively few events which are recorded in all the four Gospels. Its singular unlikeness to the rest of His life, and its powerful influence in bringing about the Crucifixion, may account for its prominence in the narratives. It took place probably
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

June the Twenty-First Room for the Saplings
"Children crying in the temple, saying Hosanna!" --MATTHEW xxi. 1-16. Children's voices mingling in the sounds of holy praise! A little child can share in the consecrated life. Young hearts can offer love pure as a limpid spring. Their sympathy is as responsive as the most sensitive harp, and yields to the touch of the tenderest joy and grief. No wonder the Lord "called little children unto Him"! They were unto Him as gracious streams, and as flowers of the field. Let the loving Saviour have our
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Christ and the Unstable.
TEXT: MATT. xxi. 10-16. WE have lately seen from several examples that what is properly to be regarded as the suffering of the Saviour, that is, His pain on account of sin, and of the opposition which it offered to His divine work, did not begin merely with the time which, in a stricter sense, we indicate as His period of suffering, but accompanied Him from the beginning of His earthly life, and more especially during His public career. We shall consider this to-day more closely in connection with
Friedrich Schleiermacher—Selected Sermons of Schleiermacher

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xxi. 19, Where Jesus Dried up the Fig-Tree; and on the Words, Luke xxiv. 28, Where He Made A
1. The lesson of the Holy Gospel which has just been read, has given us an alarming warning, lest we have leaves only, and have no fruit. That is, in few words, lest words be present and deeds be wanting. Very terrible! Who does not fear when in this lesson he sees with the eyes of the heart the withered tree, withered at that word being spoken to it, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever"? [2949] Let the fear work amendment, and the amendment bring forth fruit. For without doubt, the
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

A Sermon to Open Neglecters and Nominal Followers of Religion
If the whole of us were thus divided into two camps, and we could say these have made a covenant with God by sacrifice, and those on the other hand are still enemies to God by wicked works, looking at the last class we might still feel it necessary by way of personal application to make a division among them; for although all unbelievers are alike unpardoned and unsaved, yet they are not alike in the circumstances of their case and the outward forms of their sins. Alike in being without Christ, they
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 13: 1867

Another Royal Procession
When our Lord was here on earth, he was a humble man before his foes, a weary man and full of woes, and only now and then did some glimpses of his native royalty burst forth from him; he had now and then a day in which his regal rights were assumed and his royal position was claimed. He is gone from us now as to his actual presence, but he is with us spiritually, and his spiritual presence here is not unlike what his bodily presence was in the days of his flesh. For the most part, the glory of his
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Withered Fig Tree
Flippant persons have spoken of the story before us in a very foolish manner. They have represented it as though our Lord, being hungered, thought only of his necessity, and, expecting to be refreshed by a few green figs went up to the tree in error. Finding no fruit upon the tree, it being a season when he had no right to expect that there would be any, he was vexed, and uttered a malediction against a tree, as though it had been a responsible agent. This view of the case results from the folly
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 35: 1889

Assuredly, this honor paid to our Lord was passing strange; a gleam of sunlight in a day of clouds, a glimpse of summer-tide in a long and dreary winter. He that was, as a rule, "despised and rejected of men", was for the moment surrounded with the acclaim of the crowd. All men saluted him that day with their Hosannas, and the whole city was moved. It was a gala day for the disciples, and a sort of coronation day for their Lord. Why was the scene permitted? What was its meaning? The marvel is, that
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

Sermon for Palm Sunday
How a man ought in all His works to regard God alone, and purely to make Him his end without anything of his own, and shall freely and simply perform all these works for the glory of God only, and not seek his own, nor desire nor expect any reward. Wherewith he may do such works without any self-appropriation or reference to time and number, before or after, and without modes. How the Divine Word speaks and reveals itself in the soul, all in a lofty and subtile sense. Matt. xxi. 10-17.--"And when
Susannah Winkworth—The History and Life of the Reverend Doctor John Tauler

"Because the Carnal Mind is Enmity against God, for it is not Subject to the Law of God, Neither Indeed Can Be. "
Rom. viii. 7.--"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Unbelief is that which condemns the world. It involves in more condemnation than many other sins, not only because more universal, but especially because it shuts up men in their misery, and secludes them from the remedy that is brought to light in the gospel. By unbelief I mean, not only that careless neglect of Jesus Christ offered for salvation, but that which is the
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

PROPHECY. Isaiah iii. 13; liii. "Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
William Paley—Evidences of Christianity

How to Work for God with Success.
Son, go work to-day in my vineyard.--MATT. xxi. 28. Compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.--LUKE xiv. 23. I am to speak of some needful qualifications for successful labor; and I say:-- First, that there are certain laws which govern success in the kingdom of grace as well as in the kingdom of nature, and you must study these laws, and adapt yourself to them. It would be in vain for the husbandman to scatter his seed over the unbroken ground or on pre-occupied soil. You must plough
Catherine Booth—Godliness

Synopsis. --A Clearer Conception of Miracle Approached. --Works of Jesus once Reputed Miraculous not So Reputed Now
IV SYNOPSIS.--A clearer conception of miracle approached.--Works of Jesus once reputed miraculous not so reputed now, since not now transcending, as once, the existing range of knowledge and power.--This transfer of the miraculous to the natural likely to continue.--No hard and fast line between the miraculous and the non-miraculous.--Miracle a provisional word, its application narrowing in the enlarging mastery of the secrets of nature and life. At this point it seems possible to approach a clearer
James Morris Whiton—Miracles and Supernatural Religion

Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
(from Bethany to Jerusalem and Back, Sunday, April 2, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXI. 1-12, 14-17; ^B Mark XI. 1-11; ^C Luke XIX. 29-44; ^D John XII. 12-19. ^c 29 And ^d 12 On the morrow [after the feast in the house of Simon the leper] ^c it came to pass, when he he drew nigh unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, ^a 1 And when they came nigh unto Jerusalem, and came unto Bethphage unto { ^b at} ^a the mount of Olives [The name, Bethphage, is said to mean house of figs, but the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Barren Fig-Tree. Temple Cleansed.
(Road from Bethany and Jerusalem. Monday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXI. 18, 19, 12, 13; ^B Mark XI. 12-18; ^C Luke XIX. 45-48. ^b 12 And ^a 18 Now ^b on the morrow [on the Monday following the triumphal entry], ^a in the morning ^b when they were come out from Bethany, ^a as he returned to the city [Jerusalem], he hungered. [Breakfast with the Jews came late in the forenoon, and these closing days of our Lord's ministry were full of activity that did not have time to tarry at Bethany for it. Our
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Finding the Fig-Tree Withered.
(Road from Bethany to Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXI. 20-22; ^B Mark XI. 19-25; ^C Luke XXI. 37, 38. ^c 37 And every day he was teaching in the temple [he was there Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, but he seems to have spent Wednesday and Thursday in Bethany]; and every night { ^b evening} he went forth out out of the city. ^c and lodged in the mount that is called Olivet. [As Bethany was on the Mount of Olives, this statement leaves us free to suppose that he spent his nights there,
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

In Reply to the Questions as to his Authority, Jesus Gives the Third Great Group of Parables.
(in the Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) Subdivision A. Introduction ^A Matt. XXI. 23-27; ^B Mark XI. 27-33; ^C Luke XX. 1-8. ^c 1 And it came to pass, on one of the days, ^b they [Jesus and the disciples] come again to Jerusalem: ^a 23 And when he was come into the temple, ^b and as he was walking in the temple [The large outer court of the temple, known as the court of the Gentiles, was thronged during the feasts, and was no doubt the part selected by Jesus and his apostles when
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

In Reply to the Questions as to his Authority, Jesus Gives the Third Great Group of Parables.
(in the Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) Subdivision C. Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen. ^A Matt. XXI. 33-46; ^B Mark XII. 1-12; ^C Luke XX. 9-19. ^b 1 And he began to speak unto them ^c the people [not the rulers] ^b in parables. { ^c this parable:} ^a 33 Hear another parable: There was a man that was a householder [this party represents God], who planted a vineyard [this represents the Hebrew nationality], and set a hedge about it, and digged a ^b pit for the ^a winepress in it
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The First Day in Passion-Week - Palm-Sunday - the Royal Entry into Jerusalem
At length the time of the end had come. Jesus was about to make Entry into Jerusalem as King: King of the Jews, as Heir of David's royal line, with all of symbolic, typic, and prophetic import attaching to it. Yet not as Israel after the flesh expected its Messiah was the Son of David to make triumphal entrance, but as deeply and significantly expressive of His Mission and Work, and as of old the rapt seer had beheld afar off the outlined picture of the Messiah-King: not in the proud triumph of war-conquests,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Second Day in Passion-Week - the Barren Fig-Tree - the Cleansing of the Temple - the Hosanna of the Children
How the King of Israel spent the night after the triumphal Entry into His City and Temple, we may venture reverently to infer. His royal banquet would be fellowship with the disciples. We know how often His nights had been spent in lonely prayer, [5077] and surely it is not too bold to associate such thoughts with the first night in Passion week. Thus, also, we can most readily account for that exhaustion and faintness of hunger, which next morning made Him seek fruit on the fig-tree on His way to
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Third Day in Passion-Week - the Events of that Day - the Question of Christ's Authority - the Question of Tribute to Cæsar - The
THE record of this third day is so crowded, the actors introduced on the scene are so many, the occurrences so varied, and the transitions so rapid, that it is even more than usually difficult to arrange all in chronological order. Nor need we wonder at this, when we remember that this was, so to speak, Christ's last working-day - the last, of His public Mission to Israel, so far as its active part was concerned; the last day in the Temple; the last, of teaching and warning to Pharisees and Sadducees;
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

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