The religious leaders of Israel rejected Jesus and His claim that He was the Messiah. They accused Him of blasphemy and desired to stone Him according to the law, “because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” (John 10:33) When they could not immediately kill Him, “the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death.” (Mark 14:1) They brought Him before Pilate, the governor of Judea, and he found no fault in Him saying, “nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.” (Luke 23:14) However, because of the fear of the people, Pilate pardoned Barabbas, a murderer, and handed Jesus over to be crucified. Jesus was crucified at the third hour (9am). At approximately the ninth hour (3pm) Jesus cried out with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit.
In Matthew 21 Jesus told a parable about a landowner who owned a vineyard and leased it to vinedressers. At harvest the landowner sent his servants to receive his produce. The vinedressers killed his servants. The landowner then sent his son believing they would respect him. But they killed him as well. Jesus related this to the religious leaders of Israel. They had rejected over many years the prophets of God and now they were about to kill His Son.
In killing God’s Son the religious leaders of Israel fulfilled the predestined plan of God. They were rejecting the very stone that would become the chief cornerstone. When Peter addressed the rulers and elders of Israel, he explained that Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead…He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the very cornerstone. (Acts 4:10,11) Israel’s rejection was prophesied and it opened the door of salvation for the Gentiles. Paul addressed the issue this way, “But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.” (Rom 11:1) “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Rom 10:12,13)
This is the day of which Psalm 118 speaks; when Jesus Christ was crucified and then rose from the dead, becoming the chief cornerstone. “This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)