When Joseph Ives first journeyed through the Grand Canyon, he was astonished by the magnitude and scope of the canyon. Yet he couldn’t conceive that anyone would want to visit such a desolate and isolated place. He wrote:
The region is, of course, altogether valueless. It can be approached only from the south, and after entering it there is nothing to do but leave. Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality. It seems intended by nature that the Colorado river, along the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed.
Little did Ives know that one day over five million people would visit the Grand Canyon each year to hike the trails and gaze upon the canyon’s majestic beauty. Today, the same territory Ives considered “valueless” is a national landmark we enjoy, cherish, and protect.
Ives’s quote about the Grand Canyon reminds me of Jesus. Peter quoted Psalm 118 when he wrote, “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’” (1 Peter 2:7, NIV). In New Testament times, the cornerstone was the most important stone in the building. Builders lay the cornerstone first, then used it to determine if all other lines in the building were straight by comparing them to the cornerstone.
How ironic it would be for builders to reject a stone as unusable, only to later realize it was the most important stone in the building! Yet this is what many people of Jesus’ day did. The Jewish religious leaders rejected him, not realizing he was the one they had been searching for all along. Roman rulers saw him as expendable, willing to sacrifice a single man’s life in order to keep the illusion of peace. But those who believed recognized that Jesus is the cornerstone—the foundation of our faith and one on whom we must depend.
Today, some people can’t understand why we place such value on the words of a man who was crucified almost two thousand years ago. Yet when we look through the eyes of faith, we realize that Jesus is a priceless treasure. When we build our lives on him, everything else falls into place. What are you basing your life upon? Let Jesus be your cornerstone.