By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: 1 Peter 1-3
Key Scripture Verses: 1 Peter 2:4-8 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“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. For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and a precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ 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.’ And, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.”
Simon, the Disciple that Jesus renamed “Peter,” is writing to the Christian “exiles” and “scattered” Christians who have been dispersed because of ridicule and persecution. This was how Christianity was being spread throughout the civilized world. These Christians had to be strong enough to stand up to people who misunderstood them—this included their own families, Jews, Romans, those who could not understand or accept this radical belief system that they had adopted. His letter is to encourage them to remain steadfast in their mission to spread the gospel and in their faith. Even though they would be rejected by others, they were to stand strong—strong as rocks or stones—to be foundations of faith. They would be a support to other Christians, but they would confuse those who did not believe and become “stumbling blocks” to them.
Peter told the people to be “holy,” just as Jesus was “holy” and that they represented Jesus to the world and should be Christ-like in all of their behavior.
He takes the analogy of the rock further by saying that each stone, each of them, was important in building a “spiritual house.” In building a “spiritual house,” he meant that each of them was important in the community of Christians or the “body of Christ.”
Jesus was the foundational “rock” or “stone” for all Christians. Peter, was the “rock” that Jesus said he would build his church on. The Christian believers are “stones” to support each other. So, it makes sense that we are meant to collectively support one another in Christian community.
Christians are meant to trust in Christ and to support one another in Christian love and community for the larger purpose of God’s divine plan. We are not meant to go it alone.
This analogy of spiritual foundation and the body of Christ built upon the cornerstone—Jesus himself—is much like the analogy Paul made in describing the community of believers as a physical body made up of many limbs and organs which are all different but have an important part in how the body functions (Ephesians 4:15-16). This is to say that we all have our individual parts in our Christian community and all are important to God’s overall plan. We are to work together in cooperation to spread the gospel, to do God’s will, and to support one another in faith.
Christians are a family—we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We will inherit the Kingdom of God as siblings of Jesus himself. May we remember to include each other in our worship and fellowship and to support one another in faith.