My Bible study girls are the best!
Maybe not The Best Dressed. Because…Tuesday nights at 6:30. Maybe not The Best in Show. But the best in showing up! And though you might not vote them The Best All Around, they’re the best all around me!
Thanks, girls! You, indeed, are the best!
Lately, we’ve been digging into 1 Peter. And by digging in I mean studying with gritted teeth, held breath, and eyes wide open. Because 1 Peter isn’t for sissies. It’s for the brave. The bold. Because Peter’s words are challenging and convicting. (It’s also not optional. So, there’s that.)
There is so much punch in Peter’s first book that I couldn’t possibly cover it all in this one post. (You are welcome. And you are welcome to go dig into the whole book!) Because we’re only about half-way through, I want to share my biggest takeaway thus far.
6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”[a]8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”1 PETER 2:6-8 ESV
Jesus was the cornerstone. That rock at the foundation, in the corner, that holds together the entire structure. Jesus is the foundation of the church. But some will reject Him. They will stumble over Him. They cannot accept Him to be Who He said He was. To them, Jesus is a stumbling stone. Offensive.
Peter goes on to encourage these believers to live as holy people. To keep their conduct honorable, so that God would be glorified.
To honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. And honor the emperor.1 PETER 2:17
Did you just swallow hard? Yep. Me, too.
Jesus, a man from Nazareth, was the Christ. (Can anything good come out of Nazareth?) The Messiah. The One the Jewish people had been promised, and anticipated for so long. But many could not accept Him. They rejected Him and stumbled over Him. And that’s on them.
But, in verse 5, Peter tells us that we, too, are living stones, and together we are building a spiritual house, the new temple. Our conduct, our words and deeds are to bring God glory. Why? So that others might find their way to Him. Through us. And become living stones, too.
Some people stumble over Jesus. They just cannot believe Him to be Who He said He was. They reject Him straight out.
But, others. And my heart exploded. Not with joy or pride. With deep regret.
Others stumble over us.
Others stumble over us.
People have stumbled over me. My actions have not always honored everyone. I have not always loved fellow believers well. I have, at times, made decisions with no reverence for God. And I have spoken against and slandered my share of emperors. I have been a stumbling stone.
Some reject Jesus on account of Jesus. Some reject the Jesus in us. They are accountable for that.
But we should not make it more difficult for people to come to Jesus. With our heart and our will surrendered to the Spirit who lives in us, we are to live in ways pleasing to God. So that others do not reject Jesus because of our conduct. What I hear Peter saying is live as stepping stones, not stumbling stones.
My dear friends, we live in a world of broken people in need of wholeness offered only by Jesus. And I am choosing to be a stepping stone to Him.