Read 1 Peter 2:4-8 (see also Isa. 28:16; Ps. 118:22; Isa. 8:14, 15). What crucial truth is Peter referring to here? What is he saying to us about how we should act in response to Jesus?
After telling his readers to seek spiritual nourishment, Peter immediately directs their attention to Jesus Christ, the Living Stone, most likely a reference to the Jerusalem temple. In 1 Peter 2:4-8, he cites three Old Testament passages that highlight the significance of cornerstones, which represent the role of Jesus in His church. Peter is not alone in linking these verses to Jesus. Jesus Himself uses Psalm 118:22 at the conclusion of one of His parables (Matt. 21:42). Peter does likewise in Acts 4:11, in his speech to the Jewish leadership. And Paul uses Isaiah 28:16 in Romans 9:33.
Peter’s point is that even though Jesus was rejected and crucified, He was chosen by God to become the cornerstone of God’s spiritual house. Christians, then, are living stones that are built into this spiritual house. By using the terminology of the cornerstone and building blocks, Peter is presenting an image of the church. The church is founded upon Jesus but is made up of those who follow Him.
Notice that becoming a Christian means that you become part of a Christian community, or local church. Just as a brick is to be built into a larger structure, so also Christians are not called to be followers of Jesus in isolation from others. A Christian who does not worship and work with other Christians to further the kingdom of God is a contradiction in terms. Christians are baptized into Christ, and by being baptized into Christ, they are baptized into His church.
Peter also talks about the function of the church. It is to form a “holy priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:5) that offers “spiritual sacrifices.” In the Hebrew Bible, the priests mediate between God and His people. The words of Peter and others in the New Testament often use the language of temple and priesthood to present the church as the living temple of God and His people as its priests. He is pointing to the Old Testament system of worship in order to reveal truths about how Christians should live and act today.
Read 1 Peter 2:5 again. What does it mean to “offer up spiritual sacrifices”? How do Christians, as part of a community at worship, do that?
“Notice that becoming a Christian means that you become part of a Christian community, or local church. Just as a brick is to be built into a larger structure, so also Christians are not called to be followers of Jesus in isolation from others. A Christian who does not worship and work with other Christians to further the kingdom of God is a contradiction in terms.” This lesson is reassuring us about the power in unity because by God’s grace when we come together as christians, we build a community that is stronger than everything else. Therefore we have to be our brother’s keeper in terms of encouraging each other, supporting one another to do more and work cooperatively to give it our best in God’s ministry while winning souls for Christ.