As you come to Him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him, you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Peter’s short letter is a treasure chest of spiritual jewels. How amazing that it was written by a relatively uneducated ex-fisherman!
The first thing this says to me is that it was the Holy Spirit, not Peter’s level of intelligence, that gave him understanding of the truths about the God-man he had lived and walked with for three and a half years. Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all truth. What an encouragement for ordinary believers that we can receive revealed truth from God without the need for superior education or intelligence!
Theologians do not have the monopoly on understanding God’s word – in fact sometimes their ability to reason, rather than the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, leads them and us into confusion.
From the day of Pentecost onwards, Peter recognised Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures. His quote from Isaiah 28:16 comes in the middle of a prophecy against Ephraim – the northern kingdom of Israel which was in perpetual rebellion against God. Like the nations of which David wrote in Psalm 2, Ephraim had thrown off God’s yoke. They refused to obey Him, choosing idols in His place and living the ungodly lives of the pagans around them.
God’s word to the nations who rejected His rule (Psa. 2) was the same word to His own people who had similarly scoffed at Him and gone their own way:
To the nations David wrote:
He rebukes them in His anger and terrifies them in His wrath, saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain’ (Psalm 2:5-6).
To His own people God said:
‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic’ (Isaiah 28:16).
And so, Peter quoted:
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’ (1 Peter 2: 6).
God has only one answer for rebellious nations, rebellious children and His own obedient children – Jesus, the Messiah. He is the cornerstone of His temple built of living stones.
“In ancient building practices, the cornerstone was the principal stone placed at the corner of the edifice. The cornerstone was usually one of the largest, the most solid and the most carefully constructed of any in the edifice. Jesus described Himself as the Cornerstone that the church would be built upon, a unified body of believers, both Jew and Gentile.” http://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-Christ-cornerstone.html
To believers, Jesus is the precious stone that holds the temple together. Everything we do as Christ’s body is based on Him.
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. . . (1 Peter 2: 7a).
No so to the unbeliever. To them He is the stone over which they stumble and who will crush them on the Day of Judgement. To the believer, He is the Rock on which they can depend. He holds everything together and, through Him we are built into a temple in which God dwells through His Spirit. To the unbeliever He is the terrifying Rock of Judgment.
But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for (1 Peter 2: 7b-8).
Our union with Jesus as individuals guarantees our place in the temple of God, the place He has chosen for His dwelling forever. No longer does He live in a temple built of stone. That was only a picture of His intention to make His people His permanent home. His temple, built of living stones, is the place where He is the centre and where He is honoured and worshipped perpetually by those who love Him.
Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth,’ for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. ‘They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and will be their God. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ (Revelation 21:1-4).
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.