Psalm 118:22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. (NASB)
Luke 20:17 – But Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone’? (NASB)
Jesus is the stone referred to in Psalms 118:22 and Luke 20:17. The verse in Psalms is a prophecy that tells how Israel would reject Jesus – the Messiah. Jesus then used this verse from Psalms 118:22 when talking to the chief priests and scribes in Luke 20:17.
Jesus had just finished telling the parable of the tenants to the leaders of the Jewish people. In the parable, the tenants (or farmers of the land) kill the son of the land owner. Jesus then asks, “What should happen to these tenants?” He answers his own question. He explains the tenants will be killed and the farm land will be given to others. After he finishes the parable, the chief priests and scribes of the Jews became upset because they realized the parable referred to them and Jesus. Jesus as the son of God represented the son of the land owner. The tenants represented the nation of Israel. When the Jewish leaders heard this parable, they were upset and said, “may this never be!” In response, Jesus then asks the question found in Luke 20:17. In Luke 20:18 it states that the chief priests and scribes “knew he had spoken the parable against them.” If the chief priests and scribes knew that they were the builders that rejected the stone, then we can infer that the stone is Jesus because the chief priests and scribes had rejected his teachings and opposed his preaching.
Also, Jesus became the chief corner stone. After Israel’s rejection of Jesus and after his death, Jesus was resurrected and became the head of the church. Jesus is seen in this chief position over the church in a few pictures in the New Testament. Jesus is referred to as “the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18). In another picture, the church is referred to as “living stones … built up as a spiritual house” (1 Pet 2:5-7). It makes sense to refer to Jesus as the chief corner stone since he is the head of the church. Just like a building is built on a main corner stone or foundation, the church is built on the foundation of Jesus as the redeemer of all mankind.