Rejecting the Cornerstone

1 Peter 27 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Matthew 21:33–46 (ESV)

33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. 34 When the season for fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants to get his fruit. 35 And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them. 37 Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.’ 39 And they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.”
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

“ ‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. 44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were seeking to arrest him, they feared the crowds, because they held him to be a prophet.

Parallel Texts: Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19

Understanding and Applying the Word

The key to understanding this parable is knowing who Jesus is addressing through it. The passage gives us this information. In verse 45, we are told that the chief priests and the Pharisees perceived that Jesus was speaking about them. This is no surprise as he has been in a constant face-off with them since he entered Jerusalem for Passover week.

The parable tells us that the religious leaders and the religious system that they represented had failed the people. The leaders, who had been assigned by God to take care of his vineyard (i.e. the people of Israel), had failed to respond to the Lord’s servants that he had sent (referring to the prophets of the Old Testament). Lastly, the Lord had sent his own Son, Jesus, but the religious leaders would not listen to him either. Instead, they were planning to put Jesus to death, which they will do in just a few more days. What the religious leaders did not realize is that they were rejecting the very cornerstone of God’s salvation plans.

As a result, the religious leaders were rejected by God, as well as the system that they represented. God was moving to replace these things with something different. This new thing would prove to be the Church, made up of Jew and Gentile and no longer tied to the temple, the sacrificial system, or the priesthood. Instead, Jesus would be the great high priest who offered the once-for-all sacrifice of himself for all who believe. Big changes were coming because of Christ!

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Love to the End

 

theend

Reading the Word

1 Peter 4:7–11 (ESV)

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Understanding the Word

The end of all things is at hand.  How many times have you heard that in your lifetime? It seems like an odd statement from Peter. However, in truth, the end has been at hand since Christ left this earth and promised to return. We wait expectantly for that day, which could happen at any moment.

Applying the Word

What would you do if you knew the end was near? Spend your last moments fulfilling as much pleasure as you could? Spend as much time with loved ones as possible?

God’s word tells us what our focus should be: love. We should love one another earnestly through serving one another and using the things God has blessed us with for the benefit of others. Sadly, not many of us think this way. Instead we seek to put ourselves first in every situation.

Well, Peter tells us that the end is near. Soon we will stand before our God and Savior. Let us seek to honor him by loving one another until the time is complete.

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The Cornerstone

1 Peter 27 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

1 Peter 2:1–8 (ESV)

1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” 7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

Understanding the Word

Peter urges his readers to continue to grow in their salvation through the “pure spiritual milk” of God’s word. As they do, the result will be the putting away of their sinful ways (e.g. malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander).

The word of God, and specifically the gospel, leads us to Jesus Christ, the chosen and precious cornerstone of God’s redemptive plans.

Applying the Word

It is incredible to think that God loved sinful mankind enough to send his Son into the world for our redemption. When Jesus came, he was largely rejected and was eventually crucified on a cross. Yet, this was the plan of God all along. Jesus had to die for our salvation. The stone that was rejected was the cornerstone of God’s redemptive plans.

It is also incredible to think that God takes the sinful people that would require his Son’s death and uses them for his glory. He takes us and makes us into a holy priesthood that we might offer acceptable sacrifices to a holy God through Jesus Christ. Sinners who were once far from God and hopelessly separated are now redeemed and pleasing to him. What amazing grace!

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