1 Peter 2:7
The Dead Sea Scrolls were on exhibit in New York City; included in the exhibition was the oldest written and preserved copy of The Ten Commandments, circa 100 B.C.-67 A.C. It was interesting to see these ancient artifacts written over 2000 years ago in the Aramaic handwriting of ancient scribes. And, although there is still controversy regarding the original authors of the scrolls, it was a privilege to be a modern witness to such ancient documents.
The curators of the exhibit added a giant flat screen television, broadcasting a live feed of people praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem; the only remaining architectural wall of the Temple. Also on display at the exhibit, was a massive stone from the ruins of King Solomon’s /Herod's Temple in Jerusalem. The stone, one of the smaller ones taken from the western garden, was thought to be used in constructing part of the massive bridge that took visitors to and from the original temple. Nonetheless, the stone easily weighed a ton, emitting a regal solidity and hand-chiseled beauty that is rarely found in modern buildings today.
This stone, unlike most museum relics, was purposely left out for visitors to touch; or, to leave folded prayers in similar fashion to visitors praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. At the Western Wall, which is sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall, there are people commissioned and committed to continuous prayer twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. The more I stood there touching the stone, the more I felt a deep reverence in my soul. Not necessarily for the stone, but for the thought that it still existed after 2000 years, and there was a possibility that Jesus may have touched, walked, taught, leaned, or stood next to that stone.
Understanding the reverence Israeli Jews have for Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, it was difficult to believe that Israel would allow anyone to take even a small piece of those massive stones out of Jerusalem for outsiders to gawk at. Then, a guide explained that, it came from a part of the bridge that overlooked, what would have been the west garden area of the temple. He pointed out that unlike the temple stones, this stone had a definite section carved out of it, indicating its original position was in another structure.
As I stood there silently touching the stone, the thought hit me. The stone was allowed to leave Jerusalem, because, it was believed to have no relevance in the creation of the actual temple. Authorities believed, since it was not attached to the four-cornered structure of the sanctified temple, it was not significant. It was simply a part of the bridge that connected the temple to the people. It was not a sanctified stone; it simply gave access. —This stone had accepted the dirty feet of weary travelers; the desperate feet of those who are sickly and laden with disease; and the feet of the poor or lame as they sat on the bridge’s stones begging for alms from more affluent worshipers.
Yes, as I stood there touching that stone, I thought of another stone that was cast aside by authorities; a stone that would have made the perfect cornerstone for the temple. —A stone, just like the One that the authorities rejected for similar reasons. —And then, the spirit of gratitude swept over me.
Jesus Christ, the Living Bridge into the Temple of God was also denounced and rejected from the temple. He was also considered irrelevant because He too, offered access to God. Like the stone on the bridge to Solomon’s Temple, He accepted the affluent, educated, social elite, and the anointed. However, He equally accepted the weary, desperate, sickly, diseased, and poor. Like the stone that connected the bridge’s path to God, He was, and still is, willing to accept us as we are; and, just like that stone —even withstanding our dirty feet. L.
Study Reference: Isaiah 28:16, 1 Peter 2:7
From: "The Cornerstone." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell
photo: Peter Stewart