Mark - Christ, Chief Cornerstone

It is on Christ’s foundation that God’s global church is built. The rejection by the “builders”, or Jews, who were the original custodians of God’s law, runs in contrast with Christ’s clear identity as the one and only cornerstone, the Son of God.

Presentation Overview

  • Background of Mark
  • Christ, Chief Cornerstone
    • Messiah
    • Miracles
    • Ministry Journey
  • Rejected by the Builders
  • Other Stones in the Quarry
    • Devil and his followers –Stumbling blocks
    • Scribes and Pharisees – whitewashed tombstones
    • Herod – Stones for destruction
    • Others (Mostly Jews) – heart of stone
    • Disciples – Living Stones
  • What stones are we made of?

The chief cornerstone is the reference on which the whole building is constructed

Christ, Chief Cornerstone

“Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone;” Mark 12:10 (NASB) Ref: Isa 28:16


Gospel of Mark – Background

  • Shortest of the synoptic gospels written about 64 A.D.
  • Author, John Mark who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their mission trips.
  • Possibly written at the urging of Peter (Mark’s companion in Rome), based on Peter’s first hand experiences with Jesus.
  • Written in Greek directed to the Gentiles. [1]

The Messiah, Son of God

Jesus is acknowledged as Son of God by:

  • Mark (Mark 1:1)
  • Holy Spirit at the baptism (Mark 1:11)
  • God at the transfiguration (Mark 9:7)
  • Peter at his confession (Mark 8:11)
  • Demons (Mark 5:7)
  • Himself before high priest (Mark 14:61), etc.

Interestingly, Christ always addresses himself as Son of Man, possibly, so as not to aggravate religious leaders, possibly also prophetically.

Christ, Chief Cornerstone His Ministry Journey

  • Jesus starts from Nazareth at age 30, goes down to the desert of Judea to be tempted and then moves north to Samaria, Galilee, (first 8 chapters)
  • He visits his home town twice
  • Finally, he goes back to Jerusalem for crucifixion (last 8 chapters)

Christ’s Miracles

Highlights in Mark are:

  • 27 miracles, far more than other gospels.
  • Power over the sea, the dead, the demons, etc.
  • The word “immediately” is used often indicating urgency, spontaneity
  • Teaching is less, focus is on activity.

Rejected by the builders

  • Jesus demonstrates a dynamic display of divine power which is met with great opposition.
  • The major source of opposition is the Jewish religious leaders
  • The opposition runs throughout the gospel.
  • Each time Christ responds in an apt manner hoping to win over stony hearted.

Christ continues to be rejected today –by the Church and the rest of the world.

Yet there are the few true followers among the religious leaders even today, like Jairus and the scribe in His time.


Christ, Chief Cornerstone – Rejected by the Builders

Religious Rejection Christ’s Response
Condemn eating with sinners ch 2 “The well have no need of a physician..”
Condemn eating on sabbath ch 2 Sabbath for man, Lord of Sabbath
Condemn healing on sabbath ch 3 Restored what man destroyed
Casting devil by devil ch 3 House against itself cannot stand
Eating with unwashed hands ch 7 What comes out defiles not what goes in
Ask for sign ch 8 No sign except Jonah-death, resurrection
Plot to kill Christ –  ch 14 Prophecies hatred for disciples
Make temple a business centre ch 10 Father’s house “den of thieves”
Question authority ch 11 Another question – John’s authority
Conspired to kill the heir ch 11 Rejected stone – cornerstone
Question on taxes ch 11 Render to Caesar what belongs to him
Believe in no Resurrection ch 11 New life altogether, new benchmarks
Spread influence like yeast ch 11 Beware of these people

Christ Chief Cornerstone – Accepted by the few

In His time as now, Christ was accepted by the few true seekers from all walks of life

  • The scribe (who asked what was the greatest commandment)
  • The centurian (a Roman)
  • Jarius, the Jew
  • The Samaritan woman – ready to pick crumbs from Jesus’ table
  • The leper
  • The paralytic (historically, the Roman leader, then, the second most powerful in world)
  • Christ’s disciples

Note: From the ministry journey and reach, Jesus reached Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost parts of the world – as He calls us to do so.


  • What caused the intense blindness of religious leaders (then and now)?
  • How are we in danger of partial blindness based on same causes?
  • What attitudes do we see in the sincere followers in Christ’s time that we can emulate?


Other stones in the Quarry

Mark refers to other types of stones as well – characterizing different people. There are:

  • Satan and his followers –stumbling blocks, millstones around the neck; Lk 17:2, Mk 9:42
  • Scribes and Pharisees – whitewashed tombstones – Matt 23:27, Mk 7:15
  • Herod – Stones of destruction – Luke 18:41-44, Mk 13:2
  • Others (mostly Jews) – heart of stone – Ezek 11:19
  • Disciples – Living Stones – 1 Peter 2:5

Satan, his Followers –stumbling blocks

If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. Mk 9:42, Lk 17:2

Whitewashed Tombstones – Jewish Leaders

Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them. Mark 7:15.

“…you are like whitewashed tombstones”. Matthew 23:27


Herod – Stones for Destruction

And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.“ Mark 13:2, Luke 19:41-44

Herod – Stones for Destruction

Soldiers set the fire to Herod’s Temple.  To recover the gold that melted between the stones, they pried every block apart and literally left not one stone on another [2] as Jesus had prophesied. Stones of the Temple built by Herod weighed between few tons to 160,000 pounds. They were heaved 50 feet over the Western support wall onto the street below, during the destruction of the Temple by the Romans on August 10, 70 AD. [2]

Hearts of Stone (Jews mainly)

  • After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. Mark 3:5
  • But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. Mark 10:5

Note: Jesus even chides his disciples for having hardened hearts (6:51,52;8:17) but later they become living stones

Disciples – Living Stones

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2

What stones are we composed of? Discussion

  • In what ways can we behave like whitewashed tombstone, stones of destruction or have a heart of stone even as Christians?
  • What steps can we take to increase our composition to be living stones?
  • As Christ’s living stones, what can we expect living as His disciple?



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