Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Living Stone and the Living Stones

            There was a day Simon, son of Jonah, was given a new name by Jesus – that name was Peter. In Greek peter means rock, stone or even pebble. I’m sure the other apostles laughed, at least inwardly, as they tried to imagine Peter being a rock, especially a rock of faith that anything could be built upon. The name – we might say “Rocky” today – did seem to be an ill fit. But Peter was growing…

            Around 30 years later, Peter writes to Christians living scattered throughout, not the Holy Land, but Asia Minor (modern Turkey today). Who could have imagined that the little band of disciples would become part of a world wide spiritual movement that would change the earth forever? (Jesus, of course, it the answer to that question!) Listen to Peter’s amazing words: “As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV)   

            Peter identifies Jesus as the living stone! When Peter told people to have faith, he pointed them, not to himself, but to Jesus. Peter is very straightforward concerning the primacy of Jesus and the derivative nature of our standing as stones. If Peter were saying this today he might say that all Christians are simply chips off the old block! Because Jesus is the living stone, we are also living stones.

            Peter points out that the status believers have as “elect exiles” is a mirror image of Jesus’ status as the Stone “rejected by humans but chosen by God!” God is not calling us to live in a way different from how Jesus lived, rather we are called to live in solidarity with Jesus. Jesus was focused on living his live in a way that honored God and served people, and he would not be distracted from that course by Satan’s schemes, worldly distractions or even religious devotion. Jesus’ faith is indeed a mighty rock that all people who follow Jesus stand upon today.

            Peter’s name change turned out to be, not a joke, but a precious gift. The same is true for us as well. We are living stones because Jesus is the Living Stone! And Jesus is building us into a spiritual house – a temple if you will – where God will dwell. Peter accepted the name that Jesus gave him and then he lived in such a manner as to grow into it. We should follow him in that path.

- Kenny Payne    

No comments: