Reader: “And you are living stones”
Response: “that God is building into his spiritual temple.”
Scripture: I Peter 2:4-10
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: “These are God’s words to us.”
Response: “Thank you Lord.”
Going back a bit in the Jewish history in the First Testament will help give us a greater grasp on the passage you just read. You’ll recall the very specific directions God gave to Moses in setting up the Tabernacle during the years of desert wandering. Exact details were given as regards to the priestly garb. There was no doubt as to which people would be eligible to become priests, only those men from the tribe of Levi who were also from the family of Aaron were eligible. They functioned as mediators between YHWH and the people.
Moving ahead 400 years to the time of the early kings, David was again given a very detailed plan as to the building of the great Temple in Jerusalem under the leadership of King Solomon. The Temple in Jerusalem was tremendously important as it was the place where God met his people in worship. The Ark of the Covenant dwelt in the Holy of Holies, the earthly abode of YHWH. Centuries later with the arrival of the Messiah, the Jews heard these startling words, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” “When Jesus said ‘this temple,’ he meant his own body.” (John 2:19,21)
We come now to our passage with Peter helping people grasp the fulfillment of Jesus’ words as well as showing them their new role in relation to the true Temple. Though rejected by his own, Jesus became the chief cornerstone of the spiritual Temple, one not made with hands. God declares through Peter that believers in Christ are living stones being built into this spiritual Temple of God. Not only are we living stones currently, we are also holy priests . . . and we are not Jewish, not Levites, nor from the line of Aaron! How is this possible? Our status is real because of the mediation of Jesus Christ. Our priestly worship accesses the Father through our High Priest, who lives forever. In addition we carry on the priestly ministry of Christ, the singular Light to our darkened world. Once we were part of that lost people, orphans wandering in hopelessness, but now we have been adopted as God’s own children. What is more, we are actually heirs in God’s family and living stones in his holy, invisible Temple which exists right now in your very heart.
Here is a clip from Episode 8 of “The Chosen” in which Jesus meets the woman at the well to help her see where the true Temple is located. It’s a little over 8 minutes in length and worth every second. Don’t skip this clip!
Music: “Cornerstone” Shawn Kirchner Loma Linda Academy
My God, I feel it is heaven to please thee, and to be what thou wouldst have me be. O that I were holy as thou art holy, pure as Christ is pure, perfect as thy Spirit is perfect!
These, I feel, are the best commands in thy Book, and shall I break them? Must I break them? Am I under such a necessity as long as I live here? Woe, woe is me that I am a sinner, that I grieve this blessed God, who is infinite in goodness and grace! O, if he would punish me for my sins, it would not wound my heart so deep to offend him; but though I sin continually, he continually repeats his kindness to me. At times I feel I could bear any suffering, but how can I dishonor this glorious God? What shall I do to glorify and worship this best of beings? But, alas, I cannot live and not sin. O may angels glorify him incessantly, and, if possible, prostrate themselves lower before the blessed king of heaven! I long to bear a part with them in ceaseless praise; but when I have done all I can to eternity I shall not be able to offer more than a small fraction of the homage that the glorious God deserves. Give me a heart full of divine, heavenly love. ―The Valley of Vision, p.128