Wednesday, August 2, 2023

            We have many different names and titles for Jesus in the Bible.  We often call Him Savior, Lord, Christ, the Good Shepherd, the Bread of Life and the Light of the World just to name a few.  Peter identified a name for Christ as well.  And remember, Peter knew Christ intimately and devotedly.  He had been with Jesus basically from the start of the Lord’s earthly ministry of teaching, healing and miracles.  Jesus even gave Peter a new name.  He had been Simon since birth but Jesus called him “the rock” or Peter.  And the name stuck.  This fisherman-turned-disciple would become a rock that the Lord would use to launch the gospel. 
            Peter gave Jesus a powerful name.  In his own words, he wrote, “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 rejected 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” (I Peter 2:6-8).  Peter called Jesus “the stone” or “the cornerstone.”  In assigning this name to the Lord, he quoted from both Isaiah and the Psalms. If Peter was “the rock,” then Jesus is “the stone.”  It is interesting that the Lord and one of His core disciples share some similarities in name and title.
            A “stone” is a fascinating word or title to be associated with Jesus.  In the first century, a stone had a variety of utility purposes.  It could grind another substance.  It could be used for building.  It could mark property, boundaries and territory.  It could be a weapon in the right hands (just ask David or Goliath).  A stone represented a secure and sturdy foundation for building (see Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:24-27).  Peter might have been encouraging his readers to see Christ as the One, and the only One, worthy of building a life upon.  Christ alone is our security and support.  He is sturdy when life is unpredictable and even changing constantly.  As Peter wrote, those “who trust in Him will never be put to shame” (I Peter 2:6b).  No one ever regrets coming to faith in Christ.  He does not disappoint us or frustrate us.  He sets us free from the things that entangle us.
            Peter went a step further and called Jesus “the cornerstone.”  That is a step up from “stone.”  In Peter’s day, a cornerstone was the most important stone in any structure or building.  As the cornerstone, Jesus is the central figure and influence in our lives.  He is Lord.  He is God.  He is on the throne.  In construction, the cornerstone was where two walls met or bonded together.  The walls rested securely and confidently on the cornerstone. Likewise, we rest on Christ.  We are firm, fixed and sturdy when we rest our full weight and trust upon Him rather than the changing tides of daily life.  Some people suggest that Peter may have borrowed from a tradition concerning the building of the original Temple in Jerusalem.  There was a bit of history that said the builders had once rejected a particular shape of stone only later to discover that they needed a stone that specific shape and size to finish the building.  In the rush that many have to run away from the Lord, they may just as quickly discover that Jesus is the One they need and there is no substitute for Him.    
            As a stone, Jesus is our foundation.  As the cornerstone, Jesus is the One who finishes our faith or completes it.  Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the perfecter of our faith.  As we fix our eyes on Him, He completes and perfects our faith in Him.  Yet, as Peter wrote, many rejected Jesus in the first century.  And still today, many reject Jesus and walk away from Him.  They “stumble” because of Him.  When we reject Christ, that act of rejection becomes our ruin or collapse.  To turn from Christ or to walk away from Him leads to the most dire and ruinous consequences that we can imagine.
            Peter helps us to see, simply put, that we can meet Christ as Savior or Judge.  We can embrace Him as the foundation of life or stumble because of our rejection of Him.  It is impossible to honor God today without embracing, welcoming and receiving His Son into your life.  Without Christ, we will “fall.”  We will fall in daily life and we will fall in eternity.  We have no one to plead our case or to be our advocate.  When we read these words from one of Jesus’ core disciples, we begin to think about our walk with Christ each day and how closely we lean into Him.  A good question to ask is what would God like for us to do or to accomplish each day?  A good truth to remember is that God is faithfully working out and writing out His purposes in and through us.  And one day, He will bring those purposes to a conclusion and welcome us into His glorious presence and Kingdom.  Have a great Wednesday!  Remember you can worship any time at YouTube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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