1 Peter 2: 4-5 – “ 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.” – NLT
April has come and gone. It didn’t seem like it was even here. Easter services just were not the same, and even though we worshiped at a distance and online it was not the same spiritual movement of God that we were used to. To quote a friend, “I am tired of looking at a screen all the time”. Me too. I am sure that if you are reading this then you are also tired of looking at screens and wondering when life will get back to normal, or whatever normal was. I know that we are likely facing an extension of our time away from our usual worship and it is looking more and more like we will spend the month of May attempting to “stay away” from each other.
I have some hope for you today. In 1 Peter, Peter is attempting to communicate with the early church. These new believers in Christ were navigating a strange new world. They were not following the pagan gods of the Romans and they were not following the religious leaders of Judaism. They were believing that Jesus was the Son of God and that he had just defeated sin and death by rising from the grave. They believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and Peter is attempting to answer their first and likely greatest question, “now what”?
Peter used words and phrases that they would relate to. He told them that they were foreigners and aliens in this new land. They would have to understand that the world around them did not look like it did before and that they were outcasts and that they would oftentimes face persecution for their belief in Jesus.
Peter had to remind them that even as Jesus was rejected, so too they would be rejected. The stone of Christ would be the foundation of the church and yet it would cause many to stumble. Peter also tells us today that we are living stones within the temple of God. We are to be living examples, the very embodiment of the risen Christ. We are “holy priests” in this world that not only does not know Jesus, but likely will persecute us.
When we reflect on this it can leave us feeling defeated. The mountain that God is asking us to climb seems too large and insurmountable. When we think of how great our challenges are, we can feel defeated and afraid. It is in these moments in which we find God doing only what God can do.
We find a giant defeated by a boy with a slingshot. We find a man who can survive in the midst of lions. We can find a faithful group of friends who withstand the intensely hot furnace. We find God in human form taking upon himself our sin and shame, leading to his death, only to find that he is not dead and is very much alive. None of these things would ever seem possible and yet here we are.
God is still God today! He is the same God who did all of those things you read about. Where can you find that kind of hope today for you and your situation? Where is God calling you to stand in believing in him and to stop listening to your fears? You are living holy priests, the living stones of this message of God to the world. How are you letting your faith penetrate your circumstances and set a fire within your soul that can never be extinguished?