Lesson 12—Chief Cornerstone or Stumbling Stone?
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:6-8
Lesson Goal: To learn that the One who was rejected by so many offers life to all.
In today’s passage, Peter turns his attention to three Old Testament passages, quoting these texts with application to the truth that he writes. In verses 6-8 he quotes Isaiah 28:16, which refers to Messiah as the Cornerstone “who is believed upon without disappointment” (verse 6), then Psalm 118:22-23 which refers to the stone rejected by the builders that became the Cornerstone (verse 7), and finally from Isaiah 8:14, which warns that those who reject the stone will stumble over it and be offended by it (verse 8a).
(Verse 6) We learned in verse five that Jesus Christ is the foundation stone that determines the placement of all living stones. To help us understand today’s passage, we must remember that in ancient construction, the cornerstone was first situated on the foundation and then all the other stones were aligned to it; thus, as part of the house (building) of God, we need to keep focus aligned to the cornerstone.
Peter points us to Isaiah 28:16, to which the Apostle Paul also made reference in Romans 9:33. Both Peter and Paul saw Isaiah 28:16 as an important messianic statement that promised when Christ came, He would be the cornerstone of God’s now spiritual house, which is made up of believers (see Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; and Ephesians 2:19-22).
Read Acts 4:8-12.
➢ Who is the speaker or preacher in this passage?
➢ How does this passage directly relate to 1 Peter 2:6?
Isaiah’s prophecy of the stone was clearly messianic, and the Lord did not hesitate to relate it and similar prophecies to Himself. He was, and is, the Stone. He is the sure foundation. Israel as a whole failed to see it. Both Paul and Peter understood Isaiah’s words as it related to the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
“elect” (verse 6)—Christ is uniquely fitted for His task; and thus, He is God’s Chosen One, the Messiah.
“precious” (verse 6)—The Greek word translated precious means “unequaled in value,” “costly,” or “irreplaceable.” Christ is the irreplaceable stone. He is the Cornerstone, the most important stone in any building.
“cornerstone”—To illustrate the importance of this cornerstone, the word “chief” proceeds it. The description of this stone is that it is the one that literally sets all the other stones in place. Without this chief cornerstone, all other stones would be out of place and off their proper angles to support the building.
“To ensure the perfect precision of God’s spiritual house, the ‘chief cornerstone’ had to be flawless” (MacArthur). Only Jesus Christ could be the Chief Cornerstone.
“And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” As a result of believing in Jesus, by laying their lives upon Him or by building upon Him, true believers experience something wonderful. The words rendered, “put to shame,” or “will not be disappointed,” mean those true believers, who have sincerely believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, will never know disappointment by Him. See Romans 10:10-13, Jeremiah 17:7-8, and Ephesians 1:13.
➢ How did Jesus Christ’s flawlessness deal with all of our flaws?
➢ How are we able to be placed in God’s spiritual house?
By their (the Jews) examination, they rejected the one who became the very cornerstone. Their rejection was based on their own preconceived ideas of what the Messiah should be (see Matthew 13:54-57; Luke 4:20-30; 6:6-11).
(Verse 8) “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”—with the preaching of repentance and faith came the message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ (see Romans 9:31-33). The entire expression of “a stone of stumbling” comes from the Greek word lithos, which indicates a loose stone lying in one’s path. So the truth of the message is that “the Stone upon which the Jews, along with all unbelievers, could have based glorious new lives in Christ, became instead a stone lying in their path” (Phillips). The “rock of offense” was the bedrock petra they could be crushed against after they fell over the other stone. “In Peter’s symbolism, the Jews threw away the true cornerstone, then wound up falling over it to finally be crushed in judgment by the same rock (Luke 20:17-18) (MacArthur).
Questions for Life Focus
In using Peter’s symbolism of “a stone of stumbling,” have you ever been a stone of stumbling to someone? Explain.
What are some preconceived ideas people have today that lead them to reject Jesus Christ?
Who is the cornerstone of your life?