My guest blogger today is my friend Connie Edwards Wohlford, who was an online friend and then a conference friend - or vice versa! I feel like I've known her so long that I'm not sure just how we first met! We share words in person, on social media, and in a compilation, Heart Reno. And, I just recently had the pleasure of visiting with her at the Enrich Conference, where she won the First Place writing award at the conference contest! You'll see Connie receiving her award from Katy Kauffman in the picture to the right.
I know you'll enjoy her writing, just like I do. Please enjoy her post below and take a look at her website for more great nuggets of godly wisdom and encouragement.
The Stones Are Alive
1 Peter 2:4-5
One by one they placed a stone onto the grave of Oskar Schindler. Who were these people and why were they doing this? It was a solemn moment and there were few dry eyes as we watched this take place on the big screen in movie theaters across the globe.
Those small rocks were released from the hands of Jews who were rescued or descendants of those rescued from the torment or death of Hitler’s Third Reich. Those small rocks were saying to the departed Gentile hero, “My memory of you is solid as rock. You will never be forgotten.”
If you saw the movie, Schindler’s List, I’m sure you remember the scene.
A rock or stone can symbolize many things. It can be used destructively in a riot or as a means of execution as with Steven, an early follow of Jesus (Acts 7:54-60). In Peter’s letter to some First Century followers of Jesus he sees stones as building materials.
Rejected, but chosen … and precious. Who is Peter describing?
He had just affirmed the recipients of his letter, saying they have “tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3b), professing that these people have partaken of the kindness of Jesus. Now he wants them, and us, to understand more deeply what it means to follow Christ.
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5 NKJV).
From being like a new born babe and then maturing into having the ability to put away the traits of a dark heart—that is a sinful past—(v.2), now the Christ follower becomes like a stone—a living stone—like Jesus.
Peter knew about stones. When Jesus called him out to be His disciple, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas,” which is translated, a stone (John 1:42 NKJV).
Later, when Jesus asked of His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter spoke up and answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16).
Jesus affirmed Peter in that moment and confirmed Peter’s revelation statement. The Lord said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah (meaning son of Jonah), for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:17-18 NKJV).
Jesus is not saying that Peter is the rock on which the church is built, but that his faith, which Peter resolutely expressed, is the foundation stone of the church Jesus is building. Jesus himself is the chief cornerstone and He is the very foundation of His church, the body of Christ.
Peter declares Jesus the living stone on which God’s spiritual house is being built and that as we continuously come to Jesus we recognize Him as the stone that was rejected and crucified by men (Psalm 118:22). He also points out that Jesus was chosen by God and is precious to the Father.
The imagery of a stone or rock is significant in the Bible as well as in Jewish traditions. In Matthew 7:24-29, we’re instructed to build on rock, not sand, and Jesus is referred to as the Rock of our Salvation in Psalm 89:26.
Jesus is the solid foundation stone and, like Peter, our solid rock belief in Him makes us useful as His living building blocks.
Paul wrote a beautiful metaphor of God building His church: “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:14 NKJV).
Stone upon stone, we are living, breathing members of God’s eternal construction project. It is our honor and blessing, as Christ followers, to be living stones. We are building materials in the the spiritual house which Jesus is raising up. And not only that, we are a holy priesthood offering up spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God (v.4). Let’s take a look at that in my next post.
Your comments are welcome; join the conversation!
Former public-school teacher and award-winning author, Connie Wohlford is passionate to see individuals deepen their intimacy with God and develop a Biblical worldview. She has written several Bible studies, six Christian children’s books, a devotional, and has been published in Christian magazines. She also enjoys speaking for civic and church events. Connie and husband, Guy, make their home in the Virginia mountains.
Connect with Connie: https://twitter.com/wohlford_connie