Wednesday, April 25, 2012

1 Peter 2:6-8: Jesus Christ the Cornerstone

“For this is contained in Scripture: "BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED." This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone," and, "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE "; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.” Peter expands what he says in verse 4 regarding Jesus Christ being a choice and precious “living” stone. His basis is Old Testament scriptures. Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.” Psalms 118:22, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.” Isaiah 8:13-14, “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, and He shall be your dread. "Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, and a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” There is a dichotomy in view here. On one side we have the believers and their viewpoint of Christ. On the other side you have the unbelievers and their viewpoint of Christ. And those two viewpoints are in opposition to each other. The believer’s viewpoint of Jesus Christ: A choice stone/tested stone; we are to mirror God’s view of His Son as a choice stone. It was God’s plan to choose His Son to carry out His plan of redemption for mankind. A precious stone/costly stone; this also mirrors God’s view of His Son as someone of great value to Him. Jesus is God’s one and only Son. And His plan was to offer Him as a sacrifice for our sins. His was of great value to God our Father, He should be considered precious to us as well. The cornerstone/part of a foundation; the church is built upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ. Our Christian life is to be built upon Him too. Any church or Christian life built upon anything else is just shifting sand and will not stand up to time or the pressures of life. People who are being tested need to be reminded of the firm foundation we have in Christ. Jesus tells the parable of the two foundations in Matthew 7:24-29: 24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house ; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell -and great was its fall." 28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.” Notice for the believer how this choice, precious cornerstone is laid as part of the foundation. It is said in our passage that we will not be disappointed. This can be translated as confounded. But it also means to be embarrassed by being deceived about something you hoped for. But we get further insight in the passage in Isaiah 28:16. There it says the stone is laid firmly and that we will not be disturbed. Well first of all, when our faith is in Christ we can depend on Him. He has done and will do everything He says He will do. He is immutable, meaning He will never change. We can depend on Him at all times. But I see something else here, eternal security. Our faith is assured and our eternal destiny is assured. We are blessed beyond measure from our association with Jesus. The unbeliever’s viewpoint of Jesus Christ: A rejected stone; The builders who rejected the stone is a reference to the religious leaders of the Jewish people who rejected Jesus as their Messiah. The rejected stone is a reference to the crucified Jesus Christ. Acts 4:8-11, “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead -by this name this man stands here before you in good health. "He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone”.” John mentions this rejection in John 1:11-12, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name”. These verses also show the contrast in the world of just 2 types of people: Those who received Jesus Christ and those who do not. Just think, a perfectly carved stone that was carefully laid as the keystone of the foundation was rejected by the builders who carelessly cast Him aside. A stumbling stone; What is a stumbling stone? It is a rock that trips you up and causes you to stumble and fall down on your way somewhere. You didn’t see it coming. The Jewish rejection of the crucified Christ is something they stumbled over. They were looking for something else on their way through life. Their rejection caused them to fall. In the very same way, today, people stumble over Jesus Christ when they reject Him as the only way to eternal life and heaven. They also are looking for something or someone else as they go through life. But they are looking in the wrong place and they have stumbled and fallen down. 1 Corinthians 1:18-24, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE." Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” A rock of offense; Jesus claim to be God was offensive to the Jews even to the people of His hometown. Mark 6:1-4, “Jesus went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples followed Him. When the Sabbath came, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him. Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." We as believers in Jesus Christ are not to offend anyone. This will not hinder the giving of the Gospel to unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” We must remember to conduct ourselves in a way that people will not stumble or be offended by us, but that we point them to Jesus Christ. Then they have the decision to make. We pray they will not stumble! Notice Peter says that they are disobedient to the word and to this doom they were appointed. Jesus Christ is the Word; read John Chapter one. So being disobedient to the word is akin to rejected Jesus Christ. And in what way are they appointed to this doom? Does God determine who is saved and who goes to hell? Can you think of a verse that supports your reasoning? Take a look at John Chapter 3.