“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, NIV
More and more, we hear voices of believers that say they do not need the church in their lives any more. For them, it is enough simply to know Jesus, and to live in a relationship with him. This is, of course, the very foundation of our new life in Christ! But the Lord expects more than our own personal dedication to him. It is not possible to read the New Testament as an “I-book”. There are just too many commands in the Bible underlining our responsibility towards one another, making the Bible a “we-book”.
The truth that Peter highlights today is that Jesus Christ is the only solid foundation on which to build our eternal lives. In 1 Peter 2:6-8, he quotes from Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14. In the Old Testament, the believers began to expect the intervention of God in the form of the Messiah. He would be a descendant of King David, and they believed that he would burst on the scene of history with might and power. He would free the nation of Israel from all bondage, and return it to the days of glory last seen in the days of David and Solomon. He would be a strong political leader, so they thought. But our Lord Jesus Christ did not come in the mould of people’s expectations. He was rejected by his own people. But he was chosen by God, and sent as the suffering Servant. God had given him the position of glory, he became the cornerstone, the foundation on which God built his kingdom.
We are reminded of Jesus calling to us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” We are invited to build our lives upon this Stone, the strong foundation of Christ. But when we find our cornerstone in Christ, we will find that we were not called to be in his service on our own. Peter uses the metaphor of believers being the living stones, being built together into a spiritual house. We were made to love God. And we are called to love one another. Verse 5 of 1 Peter 2 is written in the passive form – we are called to let ourselves be built into the spiritual house. God is doing the building work. We are called to be available, willing and obedient. With this image of living stones, we are made to be interdependent of one another. A house is more than one stone. We need one another, we contribute to each other’s lives through our time, gifts, support and motivation. Jesus prayed that the world would know him as Lord, when they see our love towards one another and see our unity in Christ. This bears the testimony that he is Lord in this world.
The church is God’s spiritual house in this world. May it also be ours!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are the Stone on which my life is built. Thank you that you have given me a place in your spiritual house. Thank you for the love and support of my brothers and sisters in Christ, my spiritual family who cares for me. Help me to love them and serve them in a way that will honour you. Amen