“As you come to Him” (3 of 4)
1 Peter 2:1-5 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. ESV
For the sake of brevity I’m repeating what I have mentioned in my previous review.
In our previous posts we took note that there are two parties involved in this “coming”. There are those who do the coming because Peter says: “As you come” so we’ll need to consider “Those who come”. Now, quite often when we speak of “coming” we’re referring to coming to a place or to a thing or even to an idea but in this instance we see that Peter is speaking of people coming to a person because he says: “As you come to him”. There’s a second party involved in this coming and that is the one to whom we come.
Peter is talking about people coming to a person. So, we’ll also need to consider “The one to whom we come”. He tells us more about the person to whom we come as he continues in verse 4 by saying that He is “a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious”. He then goes on to tell us more about the people who come to Him and the result of their coming to Him in verse 5 where he says: “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”.
We’ll leave our consideration of what Peter says about those who come and what happens when they come until next time.
It’s my intention to consider the four aspects of Peter’s thought beginning the first aspect:
1. The nature of this coming
2. The One to whom we come
3. Man’s evaluation of Him
4. God’s estimation of Him
Today, we’re going to concentrate on what Peter says about:
Man’s evaluation of Him
Despite Peter’s description of Him that clearly shows the superiority of the temple that is built upon Jesus and the superiority of the covenant that centres upon Him we see that Peter says that He was “rejected by men”. That’s in keeping with Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah. Think, for instance of Isaiah 53v3 where we read:
“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not”.
No doubt Peter particularly had the words of Psalm 118v22 in mind:
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”.
There, the picture is of builders sorting through stones and examining them to decide which ones are suitable for use in their building and which ones are to be discarded. Their evaluation of Jesus the Messiah is such that they toss Him onto the “reject” pile. They don’t consider Him suitable for their purposes. He doesn’t fit into what they’re trying to build. In their human wisdom they reject Him as being unfit for their building project.
Of course, this rejection of the Messiah wasn’t just the stuff of prophecy. When Jesus came into the world that rejection was fulfilled in reality. So, we read in John 1v11:
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him”.
Jesus Himself had an acute awareness of His being rejected by men as we see from Mark 8v31 where we read:
“And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again”.
You see, He knew that He was to be rejected and that rejection would culminate in His being killed. That’s exactly the point He made in the parable of the tenants and the vineyard wasn’t it?
We referred earlier to Acts 4v10-11 where Peter was addressing the Sanhedrin and he emphasised the same fact after the event. He referred to “Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified” and then went on to say:
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders”.
Their rejection of Him reached its climax in their having Him put to death. That’s a measure of the magnitude of the rejection that Jesus endured.
Of course, the crucifixion of Jesus was a one off, never to be repeated action but we mustn’t think that that means that man’s rejection of Jesus has ended. When Peter says in our text that the one to whom we come was “rejected by men” the word “rejected” is in the present tense so the idea is of a past action with ongoing results.
The fact is that Jesus not only was rejected by men – He continues to be rejected by men.
We know that from experience don’t we? When we present the gospel of Jesus Christ to people the vast majority simply don’t want to know. They reject Him as the foundation stone to build their lives on. They have their own building projects and He is discarded as being of no use to them.
Now, those who are born again and have tasted that the Lord is good are those who do “come to Him”. We must remember that in doing so we come to one who is “rejected by men”. We’re not followers of Mr Popular. We’re siding with the one who is “rejected by men”. So, as we “come to Him” we mustn’t be surprised if we are confronted with opposition and rejection by men for us too. That’s what Peter’s immediate readers were suffering for their faith in Christ.
If man’s evaluation of Him was the whole story it would be a very depressing message. But, throughout the letter Peter been emphasising that despite opposition and suffering, believers in Christ have every reason for rejoicing and a sure hope for eternity. So, as Peter continues, we find a very different and much more encouraging perspective when we see:
Next post we will consider the last of our four aspects: Point 4. God’s estimation of Him
Dr. Steve Orr
Dr Orr has served the Body of Christ in the United Kingdom for many years and in various capacities (preaching, teaching, etc.,). Steve is a regular contributor to the pages of Christ My Covenant. His insights into the Word of God will serve you in your personal study of God’s Word. Learn of Christ!