Living Stones and the Chief Stone (1 Peter 2:1-8)
A Metaphor of Stones
As the builders gather around a pile of stones, they begin to examine each one to determine which of them ought to be included in the building. In each case there is likely disagreement, as one builder might think it’s best to use a particular type of stone, and another builder believers another type of stone would be more adequate for the job. But as the builders gather around, there is one stone about which they are all in complete agreement. There is complete solidarity among the builders that this stone must be rejected. But as the Master of master builders comes along, he chooses that particular stone that they rejected, and makes clear that the stone which they thought unworthy of the building would actually be the very corner stone. The corner stone is that which sets the structure and direction of the entire building, and it must be absolutely perfect or the entire building will be off. This chief corner stone is Jesus Christ, the living stone that gives life to all other stones in the building.
– What are some of the reasons that Jesus is precious in the sight of God? Why is He qualified to be the chief corner stone on which all the other stones depend?
Rejected, Stumbling, or Living
There are three ways of seeing Christ: He is either the rejected stone, the stumbling stone, or the chief living stone. For those for whom Jesus is the rejected stone, He is irrelevant to their lives, uninteresting, unhelpful, and out of step with the direction they are going. While there might be a wave of doubt when they hear of Jesus’ life and death, they ultimately come to the conclusion that there is no place for Him in their lives. For those for whom Jesus is the stumbling stone, He is an offense. They do not want to accept that their souls need to be saved from something, and desire instead continue believing that they are the master of their own destinies. The very idea that one claiming to be the Messiah would go to a cross and die is offensive to them, and even the mention of His name around them chills the conversation. But for those for whom Jesus is the chief living corner stone, He is the stone from which they draw their very life’s breath. It is from Him that they take their cue, as He both dictates where they go and also shapes them to make sure they fit just right into the building. He is the life that causes all the other stones in the building to be alive.
– As a Christian for whom Jesus is the chief living corner stone, in what ways has your manner of seeing Christ changed from the time you were unconverted? Was He at that time a rejected stone to you or a stumbling stone? What specific areas in your life have changed because of now seeing Him for who He is?
A Strange Parallel
A stone is valuable to a builder because it is rigid, stable, permanent, inflexible, impermeable, heat resistant, etc. A person is valuable to the Lord because he has a will, personality, intelligence, rationality, emotion, capacity to love, the ability to communicate, etc. If you take a solid stone and a living person and combine the best qualities of each, you would have something like a living, breathing, loving, thinking, choosing, stable, faithful, talking, rigid, impermeable, heat-resistant, pulsating person! And this is what the Christian has become and is becoming through salvation. God has made Christians living rocks and is at work building His house with them.
The Sovereign Placement
God is the one at work placing the living stones sovereignly in His house. Ultimately, He is the one doing all the work of sovereignly appointing those who are to be a part of His building. God is building a habitation for Himself in which the very walls are as alive as anything else. Each stone lives and each one is a story, has a story, and tells the story of Jesus and His love.
The Satisfying Purpose
The goal of all He is doing to His building is the offering of spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to Him. For Christians it is possible to please God, because it is Him who is at work in them. He gives us grace to believe, and then loves it when we believe. He calls us to come to His Son, and then blesses us for coming. He gives us a sacrifice to offer, and then rewards us for offering it.
– Why is God pleased to see in us the grace, belief, faith, sacrifice, and everything else that He gives us? If it all comes from Him, why does He still delight to see it in us?