Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”[b]
7 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,”[c]
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”[d]
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The recipients of the letter are feeling disenfranchised and set aside. As they have accepted that Jesus is the Messiah, they have been further pushed to the fringes of society. Peter assures them that their experience parallels that of Jesus. However, the reality of who Jesus is assures that just like he was ultimately significant, so they too will find their significance in their relationship with Jesus. The ultimate reality of the spiritual perspective sees them as unified and centered on Jesus. Whilst Jesus holds his followers together, ultimately he proves that those who reject Jesus and his followers are insecure.
Even though we may feel insecure and ostracized, our true identity is that we are secure and cared for. In contrast, even though unbelievers may seem ‘together’ and hold power, ultimately they will fall and be crushed. Since Jesus is the source of our true identity and security, we should long to be fed by him in ways that are truly nourishing. If this strength and togetherness is to be our real experience, we must pursue Jesus to help us realize it.
You were despised and rejected, Jesus. You were cast aside like broken rubble. However, the plan of the Father was to raise you to the key position in the Kingdom that he built. Help me to realize the significance that I share by the connection to you. I want to pursue you with constancy so that I may be secure and find my place in the building that lasts eternally.
- Describe what the description of Jesus as a stone teaches us about him.
- Why would persecuted outsiders in Asia Minor need to see Jesus this way?
- What identity do faithful believers have as a church?
- How does your church perceive itself?
- How do you see yourself as a stone in a building centered on Christ?