Golden Pillar Class Study, teacher Leslie Crain.
Sister Leslie has an Amish quilt on her bed that she bought on a trip. It’s very heavy so they take it off the bed every night. It took a while for her to learn how to fold and lay it on a chair so it would be easier to align right when put on the bed the next morning. She realized there was part of the design in the bottom left hand corner of the quilting that had to be in the right spot so it fell neatly into place. She saw that part of the quilt design was like the cornerstone described in the Bible. As she made the bed, she considered how did her life line up with the cornerstone of the gospel?
In relation to architecture, the cornerstone marks the geographical location by orienting a building in a specific direction. It is the first item set in the foundation. Everything goes north, south, east, and west from that point so the walls are lined up straight. The cornerstone is how everything in the building is squared up. In a spiritual way, we need Jesus, the gospel cornerstone in our life and to treat that cornerstone as precious. It’s a pure cornerstone, not one decorated with man’s thoughts or ideas which add weights beyond God’s design. We’re not to underestimate the importance of the cornerstone, thus losing the power or judgment of God’s plan. The cornerstone is a rock, not a pebble. In the mountains we find areas of flat granite rock that we can stand and walk on. It cannot be moved and has probably been there since the beginning of time. All the building is built from the cornerstone. Walls will stay straight when erected from that point.
I Peter 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Our walk with Christ stays straight if we look to him for our direction. Our experience with the cornerstone begins when we see we need a change or someone testifies to us or we’re impressed to start reading the Bible. As we draw close to those connected to the cornerstone, we learn about our need for repentance and see how Christ is our example. We see in the Bible how Jesus acted, responded, and made decisions, so we learn how to please the Father. Some things we learn before we hear it preached, when God speaks to us. Jesus told people to go and sin no more. He didn’t tell them to go put some clothes on or not do this or that. It was simple – don’t sin anymore, love God, and love your neighbor.
Matthew 22:35-40 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
We see in 1 Corinthians 13 if we don’t do everything with love, it isn’t worth anything. In Matthew Henry’s commentary, he made a list of ways Christ loved his disciples: He spoke kindly to them, concerned himself heartily for them and for their welfare, instructed, counseled, and comforted them, prayed with them and for them, vindicated them when they were accused, took their part when they were run down, and publicly owned them to be dearer to him than his mother, or sister, or brother. He reproved them for what was amiss, and yet compassionately bore with their failings, excused them, made the best of them, and passed by many an oversight. That is our example of how to love our neighbor.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.
Jesus gave clear instructions. We are to love one another. We are to love the one that sits across the church from us as he loved us. If we put the cornerstone first, we will love each other and then treat others like Jesus treated us. He passed by many oversights of the disciples. He washed their feet and became their servant. We must use the cornerstone as our example. We love each other because Christ loved us. We need to cover each other with such a blanket of love. The brotherly love we have for each other sets us apart from others and isn’t found in any other place.
John 13:33-35 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
If we look at the backgrounds and differences of the apostles, we see they were very different. Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen and probably not well educated. Matthew was a Jew who worked for the Roman government collecting taxes from the Jews. He was a publican and they were often not liked. Publicans frequently were dishonest and collected more taxes than the people owed. The fishermen had to pay taxes on every fish they caught. It may have been difficult for the other apostles to like Matthew. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and Jesus told him that he was going to his house for dinner. He didn’t tell Zacchaeus, you’re a cheating tax collector but I’ll go to your house for dinner after you make restitution to the people you cheated. Simon the zealot was part of a group that had violent uprisings and expected the coming Messiah to overthrow Rome using force. Zealots were trained in all kinds of physical warfare. Jesus’ teaching to love your enemies would have been the complete opposite of the what the Zealots embraced. The twelve apostles had to love each other before they could receive the power of the Holy Ghost. They had to learn to get along – to put aside their own feelings and prejudices that aren’t pleasing to God.
In our daily actions, do we put Christ first? Are we treating the other as we would want to be treated and loving them as we want to be loved? When we’re very honest with God, we can be sure the Lord will plainly show us how to love one another and to cover them with love in whatever state they may be in. To be God’s chosen people, the Jews had to be taught how to worship. God gave the Jews laws when they came out of Egypt. They didn’t know how to serve God. They started putting more emphasis on the law than on loving their neighbors. We see this when the Jews spoke against Jesus for healing on the Sabbath and the disciples for harvesting grain on the Sabbath when they were hungry as they walked beside a wheat field (Matthew 12:1-2). It was like they made the law and doing outward things their god. They didn’t do things because they loved God or extend mercy to the other when it was needed. The Pharisee in the temple recited all the ways he was right in his eyes but the publican said, God be merciful to me a sinner. We don’t have to be perplexed, dismayed, put to shame, or silenced. We’re free to speak. All Christ required was for people to not sin anymore, to love God first, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I Peter 2:5-6 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.