“So as you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but chosen and priceless in God’s sight, you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in scripture, ‘Look, I lay in Zion a stone, a chosen and priceless cornerstone, and whoever believes in him will never be put to shame.’ So you who believe see his value, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and a stumbling-stone and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do” (1 Peter 2:4-8 NET).
When we build a house we often cover the exterior with bricks. Bricks are relatively easy to make and therefore inexpensive. Because they are all alike, they fit together well using some type of mortar to tie them together. When it all dries you end up with a strong wall which will last many years. Even in developing countries, people can make their own bricks using clay, some type of form, and leaving it to set and harden in the sunlight.
As I travel throughout Scotland and the Lake District of England, I often see a different type of wall. These walls, whether part of buildings or used as fences, are made out of stones. From what I understand, as fields were being cleared to be of more use to farmers, the rocks were dug out and used to form the boundary walls. Usually there is no mortar – they are just dry stone walls, yet they build into a very strong wall, sometimes six or seven feet high (around 2 meters).
Often in these areas the houses and other buildings are also made out of stones. Sometimes these buildings have been standing for around a thousand years or longer. How can buildings last that long? The key to having a strong stone building is to have good cornerstones. The cornerstones sit on each of the corners. Many times these are big stones which give stability to the building. But they must also have edges that form a ninety degree angle. In this way the walls are square and true. This type of building can withstand years of storms and weathering.
In our text, Jesus is identified as a living stone. He is a stone which was rejected by men but chosen by God as being the perfect cornerstone. Isn’t this exactly what happened? God sent Jesus to be the Messiah, yet those around him rejected him to the point of having him executed. Yet this stone that had been rejected has become the cornerstone of God’s spiritual “house”. For those who reject Jesus, he becomes a stumbling-stone to trip over. It is only Jesus who can be the perfect cornerstone to make God’s house perfect.
Notice, as well, that as Christians we are also living stones. We are not to be bricks, all cut out of the exact same mould to have exactly the same functions. We are stones. Each one of us is unique and each one works together with other Christians to help form God’s perfect spiritual house. Because we are unique, by each of us using our abilities and gifts we build up the body and glorify Jesus (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Let us each strive to work together as we grow into the people God desires, never forgetting that we grow by feeding on God’s word (1 Peter 2:1-3).
Readings for next week
24 November – Jude
25 November – Revelation 1-2
26 November – Revelation 3-5
27 November – Revelation 6-8
28 November – Revelation 9-11