Old cornerstone new building
Listen to this daily worship
Matthew 3:16-4:11 (NIVUK)
 16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’
 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’
4 Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the temple. 6 ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written:
‘“He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’
7 Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’
10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”’
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Here in this reading Matthew makes it plain if we want to resist temptation and build our lives as a temple, as a living offering of worship to God, then we will build our lives centred around God’s word. The psalmist writes “Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). Here is the cornerstone, the foundation, on which, if we build, we will be able to resist all the many temptations that come our way in life.
The temptation narrative in Matthew’s Gospel opens our minds up to think about what it is that is essential in life. The temptation of Jesus makes it plain that life is more than food, fame and power. We are spiritual beings made for the glory of God.
Stones, and a rebuilt temple in human form feature a lot in Jesus’s resurrection victory. Did you notice in yesterday’s reading (Psalm 118:22) there was a reference to the stone the builders rejected becoming the cornerstone.
Old Cornerstone New Building
Shaper of stone
Master of wood and nails
Builder of humanity
Come create within us
A sacred space worthy
Of worship to you
A temple not made with human hands
Take the hidden Word
You have placed in our hearts
And through your Spirit shape our common life
That we who come into your presence
May truly eat bread not derived from temptation stones
But from the nail pierced hands of the Word made flesh
Come Holy Spirit, unite our hearts in fellowship and love
that the doors of our hearts may welcome all who come
In search of refuge and forgiveness.