Reader: “Cry out for this nourishment,”
Response: “now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.”
Scripture: I Peter 2:1-10
So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”
“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
Once again some context will help us better grasp Peter’s message in this passage. Peter is writing from Rome around 60 AD to Christians in what is modern day Turkey. Apparently there were both Gentile and Jewish believers as reflected in this letter. Persecution against Christians was rising. The reference to “newborn babies” was not a dig at his readers, but rather a simple truth that appropriate nourishment is essential for growth of any new living being. Since Christianity is relatively new at this point in history, Peter is urging them to keep moving forward in their faith since they are not that “old” in the faith―and at the same time urging us to do the same! I believe he is appealing to his Jewish Christians by his use of Old Testament references to God’s temple, holy priests, spiritual sacrifices, living stones, and people chosen by God. He is underscoring for them, God’s Chosen People in the First Testament now include believing Gentiles, a major adjustment for Jewish Christians. Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone of the new temple which includes both Jew and Gentile. The temple of God is not now housed in a building, but in the bodies of believers in Jesus Christ. This was never more apparent than when we have had to abandon meeting in congregations in our church buildings due to COVID―19. Our bodies are God’s temple, his church, and, as Peter writes in the first two sentences, our lives should reflect a holy church, not our old life. He concludes this pericope by reminding the people they are: a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, people owned by God―he paid the price for their purchase. And then Peter, perhaps under John’s influence, reminds the people they have been called out of darkness into the wonderful light of Christ, urging his readers to share the light. Peter is clearly writing to us holy priests as well!
Music: “Jesus Is the Cornerstone” Larnelle Harris An oldie from the past!
Our Father in heaven, I thank thee that thou hast led me into the light. I thank thee for sending the Savior to call me from death to life. I confess that I was dead in sin before I heard his call, but when I heard him, like Lazarus, I arose. But, O my Father, the grave clothes bind me still. Old habits that I cannot throw off, old customs that are so much a part of my life that I am helpless to live the new life that Christ calls me to live. Give me strength, O Father, to break the bonds; give me courage to live a new life in thee; give me faith, to believe that with thy help I cannot fail. And this I ask in the Savior’s name who has taught me to come to thee.
―Prayer from Taiwan, Oxford Book of Prayer, p.117