The Once-Rejected Cornerstone: Christmas Devotions for Teenagers

We are loved by a God who always keeps his promises. The Old Testament is rich with promises concerning our coming Messiah, and from the opening lines of Matthew, we begin to see those promises perfectly fulfilled, starting with the most intimate details of Jesus’ birth. Back in 2019, we invited you and your teenagers to join us for a 16-day Christmas devotional series centering around Messianic prophecies. This year we will round out that series with eight more posts, so you’ll have one for every day of the Christmas season. 

We pray your heart will be encouraged and your faith strengthened as you and your teenagers meditate together on the game-changing truth that our God says what he means and means what he says. O Come Let Us Adore Him!

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23

Have you ever felt rejected? My sophomore year of high school, I was left off of the roster for the state championship football game. I had worked hard all season but the coach decided to field an upperclassman in my place. The feeling of rejection crushed me.

Psalm 118 is a comforting reminder that God’s love is secure and that He will hold you fast, even in the face of the worst rejection. Verses 22 and 23 tell of builders rejecting a very important part of the construction process — the cornerstone. In ancient times, the cornerstone was essential because it united the different aspects of a structure and held it together. (Picture the outer piece of a Jenga tower, where if you take that piece away then the whole tower falls apart.)

This picture foreshadows something beyond bad construction practice. Jesus would be the stone the builders reject. Throughout his life he would experience rejection from the people he came to save. During his earthly ministry, Jesus would identify himself as the cornerstone of His church (Matt. 21:42; Eph. 2:19-22), the singular piece that would hold everything else together.

Just as Psalm 118:23 foretells, “This is the Lord’s doing.” God promised to save his people from the sickness of sin (Gen. 3:15). And salvation came through the life, death, and victorious resurrection of Jesus. God raised Jesus, replacing sadness with joy and defeating sin and death. The Christmas season reminds us that God always keeps His promises. The salvation purchased by Jesus offers rest for the weary and acceptance for the rejected, but that isn’t what we often experience is it?

This season can be exhausting. For me, it always began with final exams which led into Christmas parties and ended with a dose of family drama. Often, our expectations are disappointed. Maybe that friend doesn’t show up to your party. Or your grades are lower than expected. I learned that where exhaustion and misplaced-expectations existed, rejection lurked close by. Perhaps you can relate?

If you relate, then hear the promise of the gospel held out in Psalm 118. The good news of Jesus is that the true cornerstone was rejected so that you would never be rejected. In Christ, God brings you near so that you can rejoice in His victory song. Jesus holds all things together. You don’t have to.

The remedy to rejection is the gospel. This season reminds us to marvel at God’s plan for salvation, which meant sending the Savior as a baby, to live and die so that you could become a son or daughter of the King of Heaven. Because of Jesus you are accepted, loved, and adopted in to God’s family. When Jesus is the cornerstone, you are secure and brought near. You don’t have to have it all together, and you can rest in God’s love, knowing that He will hold you fast.

Questions for Reflection

  1. Have you ever felt rejected? How did it make you feel?
  2. How does Jesus as the cornerstone, who was rejected in your place, offer you rest?
  3. Is there anything in your life that you need to hand over to Jesus?

Closing Prayer

Father, we thank you for the salvation You purchased for me in Jesus. Remind me, Holy Spirit, that when I feel alone that You are near and that I don’t have to hold everything together because Jesus holds me fast.

Click here for a downloadable pdf to print and share with your teenager.

Click here for the entire series as it is posted.

Connor serves as the Youth Minister at Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, AL, where he lives with his wife, Shelley, and two sons. He is passionate about seeing students grow to know, love, and follow Jesus in the local church. He holds an M.Div from Beeson Divinity School. In his free time, you can find him enjoying a good book or baking a fresh loaf of bread.

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