Summary: How we, as living stones, should live with Jesus as our Chief Cornerstone.
To Whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
In today’s language, the term “stoned” refers to being under the influence of drugs, usually illegal or abused drugs, especially marijuana. Back in the 1930’s, the term “being stoned” was used to describe the state of drunkenness. As drug use, and marijuana smoking, became popular during the 1960’s, the term being stoned was associated with the state being high; inebriated on drugs, the same as alcohol use. For whatever reasons, most likely those who drank alcohol wanting to separate themselves from those who used drugs, stopped using stoned to describe drunkenness and very soon stoned only applied only to those who use drugs.
In today’s reading, Peter referred to Jesus as a living stone and referenced Isaiah 18:16 in his writing; “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste”. God likened Jesus to the cornerstone of a building, and in doing so told us that everything the church is to be is based upon, aligned with, and comes from His Son, Jesus.
A cornerstone is the first stone, or brick, set in the construction of a masonry building. It is very important as all other stones will be set in reference to the cornerstone, and therefore determines the position of the entire structure. If the cornerstone is not set right, then the building will not be square with the rest of the property or have the proper positioning. Therefore the placing of this stone had to be done with the utmost of skill. Other names for the cornerstone are setting stone and foundation stone.
In doing this, we are being told there is nothing more important in the church, or in the believer’s life, than Jesus Christ. From Him we have our beginning; our beliefs, strength, and even our very faith begins with Christ. We are given our direction; we are put on the path God wants us on and He leads us to our destination. And we have our foundation; we stand on the solid Word of God and the truth that is given to us by God. With this nothing will be truer, nothing will be firmer, and nothing will be straighter in our lives!
The reading today let us know that the Cornerstone God chose and placed would be rejected; and we know this was the case. The Jewish hierarchy did not believe in Jesus as the Savior. They rejected His teaching and His testimony of Himself. They all saw the signs the Scriptures foretold of the coming Savior and ignored it, chose not to believe God was in their presence. They rejected the Chief Cornerstone and would not allow Him in their lives, and in doing so they rejected God. They were unbelievers and as we have been told the Cornerstone, Christ, would be stumbling stone and a rock of offense. The Jewish leaders were offended by Jesus and His chastising in their beliefs and how they worshipped God. They were confused and confounded with the truth He brought. They would not believe in the Living Stone, Christ.
The believers have also been identified as living stones as well. Following the illustration given, with Christ as our cornerstone, we are placed in the line based upon the alignment of Christ Himself and we know the alignment of Christ is perfect! Not only do we know the cornerstone, but we also know it was God Himself who placed us where we are in relation to the cornerstone. There should be no doubt in the believer’s mind that they are not exactly where God wants or needs them. With our cornerstone, or foundation stone, set in place and the believer placed in line by God, we know we have a solid base from which to work. With our placement by God, our direction given by God, our strength and knowledge given to us by God, and a solid and unshakable foundation to work from, and with all this in place we should not fail in any task given to us.