LET THE PICTURE SPEAK
Lord, You are the Rock of my salvation.
Read 1 PETER 2:4–10
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
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.
a 1 Peter 2:5 Or into a temple of the Spirit
b 1 Peter 2:6 Isaiah 28:16
c 1 Peter 2:7 Psalm 118:22
d 1 Peter 2:8 Isaiah 8:14
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Songs of exile echo in our hearts even if we are not on Babylon’s rivers. Ponder the songs you sing when you remember “the good old days in Zion” (Psa. 137:1, The Message).
Words are very important to Peter. When the Spirit falls during Pentecost, it is Peter’s role to explain to all the wondering observers in Jerusalem what is happening (Acts 2:14–36). Through that same Holy Spirit, a transformed Peter speaks powerfully of Jesus, his resurrection and the people’s need to respond to the offer of salvation. Later during his ministry, he is the one to describe and interpret the surprising act of God in calling Cornelius and his fellow Gentiles to be followers too (Acts 11:4–18). No wonder he affirms so strongly that the word of God is indestructible (1 Pet. 1:24,25).
Sometimes a picture brings home truth beyond words. Here the image of the cornerstone upholding the foundation of a house, from which we, the other stones, take our position has come to have special meaning for us, spilling into our church songs. It illustrates that lives built on Jesus, the cornerstone, are secure. It reminds us of Jesus’ parable about the wise man building his house on the rock (Matt. 7:24–27) as we long for certainty and stability in a very fluid culture of ideas which has few common reference points.
Peter’s readers have this hunger for stability and authenticity, too. After centuries of exile, they are without a land to call their own: no king, no temple, no priesthood, and no recent prophets. Has their God perhaps even stopped speaking to them? Now, however, in this cornerstone they have Prophet, Priest, and King. They can be reassured that they are a chosen people, but this time around all are incorporated into the royal priesthood of this holy nation. We Gentiles qualify as “fellow citizens” with God’s Hebrew people (Eph. 2:19–22). Give thanks that God is building his worldwide church into one holy building, with Jesus as the cornerstone.
Read verses 9 and 10 again, thinking about the comfort these words would bring to ﬁrst-century exiles and refugees. Do they speak to you, too, in your “exile”?
Lord, we Gentiles are so very thankful for Your decision to include us in Your plan of redemption. We will praise You forever for it.