Paul tells Timothy to “remember Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:8). Specifically, Timothy is told to remember the resurrection of Christ and the Messianic fulfillment of Christ.
In keeping with that command, this week is the great remembrance of Christ and His work. There is nothing that Jesus did or does that surpasses what was accomplished on the Friday and Sunday in which He was crucified and rejected.
But that doesn’t mean that all people will accept Christ and believe the resurrection or their need for reconciliation to God. Some will reject Him. In fact, most will reject Him. There is that possibility today, even as it was in the day of Christ. Jesus acknowledged that He could be rejected by quoting Psalm 118:22 in his conflict with the religious leaders and people during the Passion week (Luke 20:18): “The stone which the builders rejected…”
The image from Psalm 118 is that of masons selecting stones for the construction of a building. After careful examination, they rejected one particular stone. They considered it, measured and evaluated and tested it and found it wanting. So they placed it in the discard pile. Jesus’ point?
You can reject Christ.
But as Jesus notes, that’s not the final evaluation. The last word is not the one made by men about Christ, but Christ about men, which is why Jesus continues by saying,
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone.’ (v. 18)
Yes, Jesus was rejected, but He still became the cornerstone — the keystone or capstone. Despite His rejection, He was the stone which held together the building of God’s people (see also Eph. 2:20-22). He is supreme, despite their faulty valuation of Him.
But Jesus is not finished correcting the Pharisees. There is one more consideration. Not only is He the cornerstone, but also,
“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” (v. 19)
That is, Jesus is also the Judge of men, and those who reject Him will be evaluated by Him and found deficient and destroyed. Quoting from the same passage (was he thinking of this interaction?), Peter adds that Christ is,
“A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. (1 Pt. 2:8).
Those who reject Christ do this not from wisdom but out of disobedience and the outcome is that they are eternally doomed.
Yes, you can reject Christ. But to do so is certain damnation.