Summary: Why do people get upset over the mention of the name Jesus or Christian? The reason is found in our text today. Peter explains that for some people Jesus is a stepping stone and to others He is a stumbling stone.
GLOW – Rock and Role Ministry
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, you’re familiar w/ the mandatory announcements – sometimes you’ll hear some funny comments – like these actual comments:
• Welcome aboard Southwest flight 245. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and
pull tight. If you don’t know how to operate one, you really shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.
• Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry – unfortunately, none of
them are on this flight!
• In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab
the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling w/ you, secure your mask before
assisting w/ theirs. If you are traveling w/ more than one small child… pick your favorite.
• (After a hard landing) ”Ladies/gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Remain in your seats w/ your seat belts
fastened while the Captain taxis what’s left of our plane to the gate!”
• “We’d like to thank you for flying w/ us today. The next time you get the insane urge to blast thru the skies
in a pressurized tube, we hope you’ll think of US Airways.”
• In the event of an emergency water landing, your seat bottom can be used for a flotation device. In such an
event, please paddle to shore and feel free to keep the seat bottom w/ our compliments.”
After hearing these statements it is interesting that an American Airlines pilot was fired b/c he asked the Christians on the plane to identify themselves so anyone interested in talking to them could do so. Some passengers were offended and he lost his job.
Why do people get upset over the mention of the name Jesus or Christian? The reason is found in our text today. Peter explains that for some people Jesus is a stepping stone and to others He is a stumbling stone.
I GOD’S ROCK
Peter is writing about spiritual growth and begins this section by writing, “As you come to him (Jesus), the Living Stone…”
Peter employs a participle when he communicates the idea that you don’t simply come to Jesus over and over again.” He identifies Jesus as a living stone. Isn’t that an oxymoron?
An oxymoron is a combination of two seemingly contradictory words, such as: jumbo shrimp; freezer burn; pretty ugly; athletic scholarship; living stone.
A stone isn’t alive! But just as Jesus is a wounded healer; a meek master who gives us a light yoke, there is a width and depth to His character that’s impossible to fully comprehend. Peter goes on to describe the rock-like character of Jesus by providing three powerful word pictures:
A Jesus – the CORNERSTONE
Through the prophet Isaiah, God promised to choose and lay a precious cornerstone in Zion. Zion is a word for the temple area of Jerusalem.
cornerstone (lithos) means rock and (akrogoniaios) which means the best cornerstone.
A cornerstone provided the foundation for a building. It was the first stone to be placed and all the other stones related to it. If the cornerstone was not perfectly square and perfectly laid, the entire building would be flawed.
In Matthew 16:17, Jesus was talking to Peter about the foundation of the church. Peter had just confessed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. After which Jesus said, I tell you that you are Peter (petros – pebble) and upon this rock (petra – stratum) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Now some people assume Jesus was talking about Peter being the foundation of the church. Millions of people believe Peter was the first pope based on these words. But it’s clear when you study the words, Jesus was not calling Peter the foundation. He was making a contrast. Jesus had given Simon the nickname of Peter, which means “rock.”
We would probably have called him Rocky. But that word petros means a small rock. It is the kind of rock you pick up and throw at a dog. You wouldn’t use a pebble for a foundation. Jesus used another word, petra to describe the foundation of the church. It was a word that meant a stratum of rock. I think if you had been there that day you would have seen Jesus point His finger to Peter when He said, “You are Peter.” Then He’d have pointed at Himself and said, “and upon this rock, I will build my church.”
I Cor. 3:11
It’s amazing to consider the construction genius of ancient builders. They didn’t have computers and heavy equipment. A few years ago, as a project for PBS, some builders decided to try to duplicate the building of an Egyptian pyramid, using only the methods available 3,000 years ago.