As Peter concludes his paragraph on Jesus Christ as the Living Stone, he argues his case by quoting two further Old Testament texts. New Testament leaders ‘proved’ their point by citing Scriptures, namely specific Old Testament texts which the Holy Spirit had inspired centuries before in the crafting of the books of Law, History, Poetry & Prophecy.
Peter was a ‘black-and-white’ thinker. One was either a believer or an unbeliever. The stone was either rejected or precious. An individual either disobeyed or obeyed the message of the gospel.
Unbelief and doubt may come in various forms, but in essence it is a choice. Jesus dealt with this in the heart of one of His close followers when He said to Thomas, “Stop doubting and believe!” (John 20:27b)
Let’s take a brief look at these O.T. texts cited by Peter as he crafts this paragraph.
“Now to you to believe….this stone (namely JESUS CHRIST) is precious.”
Believers have discovered the inestimable value of the one “who died for them and rose again.” Though others may blaspheme His name, treat it with the utmost disrespect, Jesus Christ is THE name of their Saviour, their Lord, their Rescuer. Though once they too misused His name, they now hold it in the highest regard.
“But to those who do not believe…” This defines the balance of earth’s citizens. Believers in Christ and unbelievers. The dividing line is not gender or culture or language but faith and the lack of it. Do you believe? As the hymnwriter once penned, “Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?”
What is true of those “who do not believe?”
“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone.”
The building project required stone. The builders saw no use for one particular stone and tried to build the building without it. But that was the very stone they needed. They REJECTED it, yet the building REQUIRED it. These ‘builders’ didn’t follow God’s plan, just as many try to build their lives using ‘mixed’ materials.
To further confirm his argument Peter cites another text –
“and ‘A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for.”
Now that’s a hard saying!!! This stone is tripped over by many. Instead of building upon it, they trip over it. What is the root of their stumbling? Ignorance? No! DISOBEDIENCE. Who is responsible for their disobedience? They are yet their disobedience fulfills the destiny God has designed for them. I won’t attempt to extricate the mystery here but Scripture keeps in tension man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty.
What we are left with are choices! Will we believe in Jesus Christ? Will we accept him or reject him? As Pilate well asked, at the trial on Good Friday morning, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called the Christ?” Though Pilate asked the right question, it appears history proves he answered his own question incorrectly!