1 Peter 2:1-10
The Cornerstone, Living stones and A stumbling block
Are you hungry? Do you desire more of God’s Word to sustain you? Do you want to know more about your role in the body of Christ and how that fits in with the Church? This lesson is for you!
Start by reading 1 Peter 2:1-3. It begins with the word “Therefore” or “So”, depending on your translation. Remember what that means? We need to remember what we’ve read in the verses just before this one.
Because of all that we read in Chapter 1 (Remember, when this letter was written by Peter, it wasn’t broken into chapters in verses. It flowed like a real letter because it was a real letter!) we must do the following… Chapter 1 is mostly about the salvation that was given to us and the living hope we have because of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Peter also calls us to be holy and to love each other in Chapter 1. SO, because of that, here’s what we should do!
Because of our salvation, our living hope, our holiness, our love for our brothers, we must put away all sin. Peter lists out a few, but the point is that our sin (any sin!) should grieve us, just as it grieves the heart of God. When we see the depths of our sin, when we truly believe the good news of what Jesus has done for us and we decide to follow Christ with our lives, something in us must change. No longer can we be satisfied with sin remaining in our lives. Jesus brings it all to the surface in the sanctification process. As soon as we become aware of sin, we must confess it and repent from it. We “put it away”, never to be resurrected again because we are living sacrifices. What we want is no longer important. Our lives are dead so that He can live through us.
As believers, we should be craving the pure spiritual milk that is God’s Word, just as a newborn baby is hungry for his mother’s milk! Lord, give us a hunger for your word! And once we drink that milk, we realize that there is meat to be eaten! We eat more and are satisfied and then we are hungry again, so we eat more again! We have tasted and seen that the Lord is good and we just cannot get enough! If you’re wondering why this doesn’t apply to you, why you don’t feel this way, let me issue you a challenge. Ask God to make you hungry for more of Him. John 14:13-14 tells us that Jesus will do anything we ask in His name. So in the name of Jesus, ask him to make you hungry for His Word! He will definitely do it!
Now read 1 Peter 2:4-8 to go a little deeper with old Peter. Here we see that Peter refers to Jesus as the cornerstone, but Peter’s first reference to Jesus as Cornerstone is in Acts 4:1-13. Peter and John had been preaching the resurrection of Jesus to the people and were thrown in jail for it. At their hearing the next day, Peter let them all know the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He quoted Psalm 118:22, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” He was also referencing the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 28:16, which says “”Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation…” When the people saw their boldness, (and the fact that they were uneducated, common men), they realized they had been with Jesus! Peter lets them all know that Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, the one stone that the whole church is built upon.
The definition of a cornerstone is “a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies.” Jesus is the starting place of the church! He is the one living stone that every other living stone was laid upon. Picture a tall building made of stone. At the bottom corner is one special stone, the cornerstone, on which the entire building was erected.
Believers are living stones!
Under the old covenant (before Jesus), the physical temple is where the presence of God resided. That old temple points us to the new temple, under the new covenant. Since the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the old temple building is no longer needed because believers are now the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19)
Ephesians 3:19-22 – As believers, we are each living stones that are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Each of us has a relationship with God, but we cannot neglect the importance of all of the stones together. We were made for community, for relationships. It takes all of us to be living stones together.
Now imagine what the building would look like if some of those stones were missing! We were created for relationships. Our first and most important relationship is with Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. But we were also created for relationships with each other. We need each other because together, as living stones, we create the temple of God!
A STUMBLING BLOCK
Peter could’ve left us with an encouraging message about our role as living stones, having received the living hope offered to us by Jesus. Instead he chose to include a few verses in his letter to clarify the difference between those who are alive in Christ and those who don’t believe. The Gospel is a stumbling block to those who don’t believe! Check out 1 Corinthians 1:18-25.
Not only is Jesus Christ the Cornerstone of the Church, but the message he brings is a stumbling block to those who do not believe. Unbelievers stumble over the gospel because they do not obey the word. The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. God knew this would happen. In fact, He has always known it would happen. God knew that there would be people that would stumble over this news of Jesus. But He loves us so much that he gives us a choice and allows us to live with our decision.
EVERYTHING IS NEW
Read 1 Peter 1:9-10
Do you remember who this letter is written to? Believers! (Both Jewish and Gentile) Peter reminds us that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession! No longer is the nation of Israel God’s chosen people, the holy nation – now that title belongs to all believers everywhere! We are a royal priesthood with access to the throne room at all times. We are a people for his own possession, adopted as sons! Why? So that we can proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light! He is so worthy of our praise! Once we were not a people (we didn’t exist as a “nation” of believers in Jesus before his death on the cross!) but now we are! Once we had not received mercy – we were bound in a system of required sacrifices and offerings to redeem us – but now we have received mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus has taken all of the old and made it new. He has built it all upon himself, because of himself and for himself!
If you have chosen to follow Jesus with your life, ask Him to give you a hunger for His Word, to place you in the spot made just for you in the new temple made of living stones and remember that you are a part of his chosen race, his royal priesthood. You are His child, created in Him for good works and to fulfill your special role in the body of Christ. He will do it. These are His precious promises!