Psalm 118: The Cornerstone of Redemption and the Messianic Fulfillment

Introduction

Psalm 118, a psalm of praise and thanksgiving attributed to King David, holds a significant place in biblical and historical context. It not only celebrates God’s goodness and faithfulness but also contains profound prophecies and themes related to redemption and Messianic fulfillment. One key symbol that appears in this psalm is the cornerstone, which carries great significance in biblical and historical contexts. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of Psalm 118 and its connection to the cornerstone, as well as its Messianic implications.

The cornerstone, in both biblical and historical contexts, holds immense symbolic value. It is the foundational stone upon which a building is constructed, determining its alignment and stability.The cornerstone represents strength, stability, and the central figure of a structure. The Messiah is referred to as the Chief Cornerstone, but rejected by Israel. One notable example of the cornerstone’s importance in ancient architecture is the Great Pyramid of Giza, where the cornerstone played a crucial role in the construction process.

In the context of Psalm 118, the cornerstone symbolizes the foundation of redemption and salvation. Just as the cornerstone determines the alignment and stability of a building, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is the cornerstone of our faith and the foundation upon which our salvation rests. Through Him, we find strength, stability, and the assurance of eternal life.

Understanding Psalm 118

Psalm 118, believed to have been composed during the post-exilic period, carries historical significance for the people of Israel. It was a time of restoration and rebuilding after their exile, and the psalmist’s words express gratitude for God’s steadfast love and deliverance. The psalm is structured in a way that emphasizes the communal aspect of worship, with the call to praise God and the collective expressions of thanksgiving.

In addition to its historical context, Psalm 118 is part of the “Hallel” collection of psalms, which were sung during the Jewish festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The psalmist’s intention was not only to express personal thanksgiving but also to lead the community in praising and worshiping God for His faithfulness and salvation.

The Significance of the Cornerstone

The cornerstone holds great significance in biblical and historical contexts. It is the foundational stone upon which a building is constructed, and it determines the alignment and stability of the entire structure. In addition to its practical function, the cornerstone also carries symbolic weight. It represents strength, stability, and the central figure of a building.

One example of the cornerstone’s importance can be seen in the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The cornerstone, known as the “pyramidion,” was placed at the top, symbolizing the completion of the structure and the divine connection between heaven and earth. The positioning of the cornerstone ensured the stability and alignment of the pyramid, making it an enduring testament to the architectural prowess of the ancient Egyptians.

In the context of redemption and salvation, the cornerstone represents Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He is the foundation upon which our faith is built, providing strength, stability, and alignment in our lives. Just as the cornerstone ensures the stability of a building, Jesus ensures our spiritual stability and the alignment of our lives with God’s purposes. Without Him as the cornerstone, our faith would crumble, but with Him, we have a sure foundation.

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Psalm 118 as a Messianic Prophecy

Psalm 118 contains several elements that are interpreted as Messianic prophecies. The psalmist speaks of salvation and deliverance, which are associated with the anticipated coming of the Messiah. Scholars view this psalm as a prophecy about the Messiah, who would be the cornerstone. The rejection and exaltation of the cornerstone are key themes that align with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Throughout the Old Testament, there is a consistent anticipation of a Messiah who would deliver the people from their oppressors and establish a kingdom of righteousness. This Messianic hope is particularly evident in the post-exilic period, during which Psalm 118 is believed to have been composed.The Jewish people longed for a deliverer who would restore them to their former glory and lead them in the ways of God.

Psalm 118, therefore, serves as a Messianic prophecy that points to the coming of Jesus Christ. The rejection and exaltation of the cornerstone find their fulfillment in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He is the long-awaited Messiah who brings salvation and deliverance to all who believe in Him.

Furthermore, the Messianic interpretation of Psalm 118 is supported by the New Testament, where Jesus Himself refers to this psalm. In Matthew 21:42-46, Jesus quotes Psalm 118:22-23, which says, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Jesus identifies Himself as the stone that was rejected but has become the cornerstone. Through this reference, Jesus affirms the Messianic nature of Psalm 118 and His role as the fulfillment of its prophecies.

Fulfillment in Jesus Christ

The connection between Psalm 118 and the fulfillment in Jesus Christ is profound. Jesus, regarded as the Messiah, fulfilled the role of the rejected stone that became the chief cornerstone. This fulfillment is evident in Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, where the people recognized Him as the Messiah and quoted verses from Psalm 118.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, the crowds greeted Him with shouts of “Hosanna,” which means “Save us”. The people recognized Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, the one who would bring salvation and deliverance. They quoted verses from Psalm 118, specifically verses 25-26, which say, “Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. This acknowledgment by the people affirmed Jesus’ Messianic role and the fulfillment of the prophecies found in Psalm 118.

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection perfectly align with the prophetic elements found within this psalm. He was initially rejected by the religious leaders and the people, just as the cornerstone was rejected by the builders. However, Jesus’ ultimate exaltation came through His death and resurrection, making Him the chief cornerstone of the Christian faith.

The rejection and exaltation of Jesus as the cornerstone have profound implications for our lives and faith. When we accept Jesus as the cornerstone of our lives, we align ourselves with God’s purposes and experience the stability and strength that come from a relationship with Him. However, rejecting Jesus as the cornerstone means rejecting the foundation of our faith and experiencing the consequences of spiritual instability and separation from God.

Relevance and Application in Christian Faith

Psalm 118 continues to hold great relevance in the Christian faith. It serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and deliverance throughout history. The principles and themes found in Psalm 118 can be applied to contemporary life, offering guidance and encouragement to believers.

One of the key themes in Psalm 118 is the importance of trusting in God’s faithfulness. The psalmist repeatedly emphasizes the steadfast love and salvation of God, even in times of distress and trouble. This message resonates with believers today, reminding them to place their trust in God’s unfailing promises. In times of uncertainty or difficulty, we can find assurance in God’s faithfulness, just as the psalmist did.

Another relevant theme in Psalm 118 is the concept of salvation through Jesus Christ. The psalmist speaks of being saved and delivered by the Lord, pointing to the ultimate salvation that comes through Jesus. In the Christian faith, Jesus is the cornerstone of redemption and the source of eternal life. It is through Him that we find forgiveness, reconciliation with God, and the hope of eternity.

Furthermore, the principles and themes found in Psalm 118 can be applied to various aspects of life. The psalmist’s declaration of victory and blessing serves as a reminder that God is the source of all goodness and that He desires to bless His people. Believers can find encouragement in this, knowing that God is for them and not against them. In times of challenge or adversity, we can hold onto the promises of God and trust in His faithfulness to bring us through.

In conclusion, Psalm 118 is a powerful psalm that highlights the significance of the cornerstone in biblical and historical contexts. It also contains profound prophecies and themes related to redemption and Messianic fulfillment. The psalmist’s expressions of gratitude and trust in God’s salvation resonate with believers today, reminding them of God’s faithfulness throughout history. As we reflect on Psalm 118, let us embrace Jesus as the cornerstone of our faith and find comfort and strength in His promises of redemption and deliverance. May we build our lives upon Him, the solid rock, and experience the stability and blessings that come from a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

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