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1 Peter 2: Jesus is the cornerstone

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Monday Psalm 118:22-26 (NRSV)
The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O LORD!
O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one
who comes in the name of the LORD.
We bless you from the house of the LORD.

The builders mentioned in this psalm thought that a particular stone was not good enough to use anywhere in the construction, not even on the back side of the building or in the hidden places. The stone didn’t fit with their ideas. But even though they rejected it, the stone became the most important one of all, the one around which the whole building was constructed.

Sometimes people reject ideas or people that they later discover have great value.

When have you rejected something that you later discovered was worthwhile?

Tuesday 1 Peter 2:4-9 (NRSV)
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,” and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Jesus repeatedly told his disciples he would be rejected (i.e., Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22 and 17:25). Jesus also referred to Psalm 118 and its idea of the stone that was rejected becoming the cornerstone (in Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10 and Luke 20:17).

In the above passage, Peter writes that Jesus is the fulfillment of Psalm 118:22, that Jesus is stone the builders rejected that become the cornerstone.

Today, like in Peter’s day, some people reject Jesus as the Messiah.

Where is Jesus in the construction of your life?

On a smaller scale, people who believe Jesus is the Messiah sometimes reject some of Jesus’ teachings and refuse to use them when building their lives.

What teachings of Jesus have you used when building your life?

What teachings of Jesus do you find difficult to accept or difficult to apply in your daily life?

Wednesday Psalm 118:22-24 (NRSV)
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

It is good for us to quote verse 24 about any day: “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice in be glad in it!” It’s worth remembering that verse when appearances might make us forget that God is with us.

The psalmist says, however, that the day he is specifically thinking of -- the day worth rejoicing over and being glad -- is the day that the stone becomes the chief cornerstone. For Christians, that might be Good Friday or Easter.

On Good Friday, Jesus died on the cross. How easy is it for you to remember on days like Good Friday that “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”?

On Easter, Jesus rose from the grave and was seen (alive!) by his followers. How easy is it for you to remember, on days like Easter that “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”?

Thursday Acts 4:8-12 (NRSV)
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

Peter healed a lame man, then proclaimed that it happened through the name of Jesus. Jesus, he said, is the cornerstone, and there is salvation in no one else.

Who do you know that needs to be healed?

Who do you know that needs to hear Peter’s proclamation about Jesus that “there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved”?

Friday Psalm 118:22-26 (NRSV)
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Save us, we beseech you, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech you, give us success!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD.
We bless you from the house of the LORD.

John 12:12-15 (NRSV)
The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord— the King of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

“Save us!” the cry from Psalm 118, in Hebrew is “Hosianna,” what the crowd shouted when they met Jesus with palm leaves. Notice how the rest of their cries also echo Psalm 118.

The Palm Sunday procession didn’t look much like Jesus was being rejected. The crowds were praising him and honoring him. But five days later Jesus was dying on a cross. Similarly, when Jesus was dying, it didn’t look much like Jesus was arriving triumphantly and victoriously as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9-10 and quoted above by John.

When have you been surprised by how things turned out?

Saturday Isaiah 53:3-5 (NRSV)
He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account. Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

Many people believe this prophecy is about Jesus. What do you think about it?

What does this passage tell you about people who are rejected by others?

What will you do different this week as a result of this Bible Study?