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?
Jesus is our foundation. He is our cornerstone. He is what our house is made of and protects us in the storm. The metaphor of Jesus being the stone is important because it shows how essential He is. Without Him, nothing of value can be built. Nothing will last without Him as the living stones our spiritual house is built with.
I assume that the persecuted believers would be encouraged with this understanding of Jesus because it gives them an eternal perspective that may have been lost due to the affliction they were experiencing. As the body of Christ, we have been given an identity that cannot be shaken. We are the chosen people of God, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s special possession whom He has given mercy. We praise the Living God! We have been rescued from the darkness and into His marvelous light!
I think that my church has this identity but individually struggles with the concerns of daily life that want us to believe other than what we have been declared in Christ.
As I think about myself as a stone in a building centered on Christ, it gives me great joy to see myself as a part of God’s ultimate plan. He uses me, but He does not need me. I am not the one centered, as my old self would have believed. My life has infinitely greater meaning because He is the one with the glory and I am the one who is gathered with the other members of the body to be His beloved.
A stone is solid, strong, something which is reliable to build upon and trust in when pressures comes. Jesus is the foundation of who we are. Our faith is built upon Jesus.
They were feeling the pressures of society and the internal pressures of their fears and doubts. Reminded that their lives are built on something which will stand to anything would be very heartening.
As the church believers are the temple of God rooted in Christ. The cornerstone is that which determines and supports all else of structural integrity within a building. Because of Christ we are built into temple not made by human hands. We each have a role to play through the exercising of the spiritual gifts which God has given to us upon our conversion.
It’s hard to take in that this choice stone, precious in the sight of God, was rejected by man. It reminds me of when I talk with people about the Lord, and they say they believe in God, if they do, they should believe the revelation God the Creator has given through His Son. It’s so important that people know Jesus WAS sent by the one true God, that He is God’s final word to mankind, That the New Testament is the accurate account..
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone,” Jesus prays, “but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)
It is amazing and comforting to know that Jesus, God in the flesh had a similar lifestyle to me…I’m also rejected by people (for His sake), but by His grace am enjoying continual acceptance with the Father. Of course Jesus didn’t always enjoy continual acceptance with the Father and God’s favor did not always rest on Him, but because that wasn’t always the case, because He gave that up, and became my sin and endured God’s wrath, that’s how I can be His and have God’s everlasting love forever in my grasp.