Here it is. Here is where Paul has been leading to. Some of the Jews who were more focused on their own efforts of achieving righteousness (the law) have missed the blessings of the Messiah whereas the Gentiles who had no place to stand before God after hearing the gospel message responded to the offer of righteousness.
There is a key place in all our lives. Some say the capstone, the place above the door. Some say the cornerstone, the first stone in a building. Whatever it is, it is of huge importance.
“What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone. As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 9 v 30-33)
Again Paul quotes from Isaiah, in 2 places:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic” (Isaiah 28:16)
“He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.” (Isaiah 8:14)
Perhaps only 15 years after Paul wrote this letter the Romans entered the city of Jerusalem, flattened it and then led the religious leaders bound in chains into foreign nations. They came under God’s judgment. The stone had fallen on them just as Paul had said, and Jesus also (Matthew 21:42).
It is far better to make Jesus the cornerstone of your life.
What Isaiah says poses such a challenging question to our churches and the people within them! Is Jesus occupying the place of huge importance? Is he in the decision making part? If he is not Lord then you may stumble over him and worst still you may be crushed by Him. Churches have closed because they rejected the Living Stone.