The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone

1 PETER 2:1-9

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

REFLECTION

  • Peter begins with a comparison to newborn infants. Why does he do this? How are we to be like newborn infants?
  • His next image goes from babies to stones. Who is the first stone Peter talks of, and then how are we stones?
  • Even if there is confusion about what Peter is telling us we are, there is the impression that it is special. What sort of words does he use that highlight our place in God’s plan?
  • All of God’s people are included in his call. The “priests” are no longer a select few. What are ways that you can “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you” in the places God has already put you in life?

ARISE & SHINE

The people who received this letter faced persecution for their faith or had those sorts of trials in the near future. They were sure to feel rejected. But there is great consolation to know that Christ himself was rejected. We are to identify with him and Peter tells us that like Jesus, we won’t be put to shame. For those who believe we are built into something marvelous, a new spiritual house, and the Spirit of God dwells in us. The Spirit will brings us strength and peace in hard times, and the Spirit leads us out to do the work of Jesus Christ in the world.

Before the foundation of the world

1 PETER 1:10-25

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

REFLECTION

  • What has been something you have eagerly anticipated? What made it something you were looking forward to so much?
  • What does Peter say is the thing that the angels longed to see? Does that change or add to your understanding?
  • Peter is connecting the words of prophets of the Old Testaments to the work of Jesus Christ. Is it at times hard to connect the Old and New Testaments? Why or why not?
  • This connection is all part of a plan that started when? And in what way are we connected to this plan?
  • Finding our hope and faith in God leads us to do what? What is Peter’s charge to the reader?

ARISE & SHINE

In this passage we see that the Old Testament is connected to the New Testament. We also see that it all comes together and is fulfilled in Jesus. This was not a surprise for the prophets spoke of it—even if they didn’t know it at the time. And even before the prophets, even before the world was made, this has always been the plan of God.

Peter then wants the church to know that we are a part of this! Before the foundations of the world we, too, were chosen in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4). This magnificent, cosmic, eternal plan that is fulfilled in Jesus is also a plan so intimate and personal that it has a place for us. Know that his plan is not through yet, so place your hope in the one who has the power to see his plans out to the end.

To those who are elect exiles

1 PETER 1:1-9

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

REFLECTION

  • From just the first (long) sentence, what is Peter telling you about the recipients of this letter?
  • Peter talks of a “living hope.” What do you think of that phrase? How is our hope better described as a living hope?
  • What is described as more precious than gold? What tests and refines this precious thing?
  • Our living hope and our faith rest in Jesus Christ. Peter says the church has shown that they love Jesus, even though they haven’t seen him. How difficult is it to love like this? What are ways we can love Jesus ourselves, even though we do not see him?

ARISE & SHINE

The openings of New Testament letters can be difficult to read as they are full of dense and long sentences. But if we are patient, we can see how rich they are. We see that we have much cause for rejoicing, knowing we are kept and guarded by God. He has prepared an inheritance—unchanging nor diminishing in any way—for us that is kept safely in Heaven.

Patience is again needed as we live in anticipation of all God has done. We may face trials and persecutions, but Peter reminds us that the only way forward is to remember who we are in Jesus, and whatever we may face today our tomorrows are securely in God’s hands.