Summary: Christians are not exempted from sufferings. But, how could we react properly and different from the people in this world who are not believers?
“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. For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders reject-ed has become the cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for” (1 Peter 2:4-8, NIV).
A frog fell inside a hole on the ground. Did it just remain inside and die? No. It kept on jumping. Every time it jumped, a portion of the soil on the side of the hole slid down. Because it jumped repeatedly, great amount of soil was piled at the bottom of the hole and it became thicker and thicker until it be-came a higher platform for the frog to jump out of the hole.
So this time, let’s learn some “Right Reactions To Suffering” better than a frog, as we deal with our text (1 Peter 2:4-8 NIV), particularly verse 5.
So, how should a believer react in the right way to his/her suffering?
Again, let’s remind ourselves that Peter addressed 1 Peter both to the Jewish and non-Jewish Christians, who were then scattered throughout Asia Minor and were suffering local persecutions. And later the persecutions even became intense and widespread.
Now, in our text, in the early portion, and as we discussed before, Peter pointed out that the suffering Christians then continued to come to Jesus – continued to commune with Him through His words. Why? Not only they “tasted” or experienced the goodness of the Lord, but God graciously opened their spiritual eyes to behold Jesus, as God the Father sees Him: Precious!
And because He is Precious, they tend to keep coming to Him, to keep coming to His Word, to behold more how Precious He is.
Now, in the next verse, we could find at least two things how we could react properly to our trials or sufferings.
First, BELIEVE WHAT GOD THINKS OF YOU.
In verse 5, we read: “…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.”
Notice again the opening words, “…you also, like living stones…”
That was not just the opinion or idea of Peter, but God’s Spirit “carried along” Peter’s will to declare it, as if God Himself was declaring that Jesus is the living Stone, the persecuted Christians then were also “like living stones.”
Though they were considered an outcasts of society, looked down, persecuted by men, Peter was implying that they should not allow their persecutors to define who they really are. In the last part of verse 6, Peter quoted the Old Testament passage:
“…and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
As they believed or trusted Jesus, they should not be ashamed how men would regard or treat them. They ought to value more how God regarded them – like living stones, thus, they were also precious in God’s sight.
Notice the first part of verse 7, “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious…” Of course, this stone – referring to Jesus – is really precious for the believers. But, we could have also another meaning in that passage. If you have the King James Version, you’ll read that part in verse 7, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious…” And you will note the words, “he is…” are in italicized – meaning, those words are absent in the original Greek manuscript. Thus, we could read it this way: “Unto you therefore which believe precious…”
In fact, it is rendered in the New American Standard Version: “This precious value, then, is for you who believe;…”
In the paraphrase translation of the Bible in Basic English, it reads: “And the value is for you who have faith;…”
Peter pointed out to the persecuted Christians that they were like living stones, precious also in the sight of God, like His Son, and they ought to value more how God regarded them than how their persecutors regarded them or what they think of them. Their sufferings or how demeaning the treatment they suffered from others did not lessen their value before God.
The tendency of people is to value what others would think of them, or how others would regard them. Of course, we find also those who would just do their own thing or do just anything without any regard of other people’s thought or feeling.