The abstruse stone tumbled down the Kidron Valley, while a slight cheer could be heard emanating from the crowd. Despite the levity, a certain kind of sadness lingered in the air, a semblance of despondency that surrounded the Temple Mount. It had really been a magnificent stone, no matter how awkward and conspicuous it was.
The supervisors at the construction site had become enraged at receiving such a stone from the carvers. It was so obviously flawed to them, so apparently misshapen, that they had become offended.
“What manner of man would be so brazen to send such a stone to the holy site?”
Indeed, the site was so holy that the stones weren’t even shaped there. The massive stones were all cut and finished at the quarry, as no sound of axe or iron tool was allowed inside the temple. So, it was no wonder that the men were offended at its presence.
In their disdain, the supervisors overseeing the site commanded the stone to be thrown into the Kidron Valley. The Kidron Valley was a deep valley beside the Temple Mount that had become a sort of dumping ground for the construction site, containing broken stones, parts of donkey carts, and assorted rubble. There were a few dissenters, but by and large, the workers were more than happy to comply with the decree and ergo put the entire embarrassing matter behind them.
Work continued at the construction site, while the nation of Israel prepared for the opening of the grand structure. There would be prayers, and praises, and shouts of hosannas in the streets. No longer would they come to a tent to worship; they would have a temple to worship their God.
As construction neared completion, and as the time of the opening approached, work seemed to reach a fevered pace. Suddenly, a fury of anxiety enveloped the worksite, as one of the workers ran up to the head foreman.
“Sir, we’re missing a stone.”
At first, the supervisor seemed unshaken. “A missing stone? Where? Show me.”
The beleaguered worker responded. “It is the cornerstone.”
A look of horror overcame the supervisor. The cornerstone is a special stone that is laid at the front of a building in the corner, usually during a special opening ceremony. It is considered to be the most important stone, and a building cannot be completed without it.
The workers were beside themselves. How could the carvers have forgotten the cornerstone?
Just when hope seemed to fail them, and when all seemed lost, one of the workers remembered the stone that was discarded into the Kidron Valley.
The workers hastily retrieved the stone from the valley, while the supervisors realized the mistake they had made. They had discarded the most rare and beautiful stone of all.
The tale of the rejected stone - the rock of offense - has been told and retold throughout the land of Israel for many generations. Indeed, the saying is well known, even to this day.
"See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall."
1 Peter 2:6-9