Hold on a little more

But Jesus is the cornerstone of his house

1 Peter 2:4-10 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. … And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. … You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

Genesis 18:18-19 All the nations of the earth will be blessed through Abraham. I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. (See Galatians 3:8-9, Acts 3:25.)

Genesis 22:18 [After saving Abraham’s son by supplying a substitute sacrifice, God said] Through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

It’s fun to feel loyalty to a particular country or tradition. Our family will probably always root for Brazil in the World Cup. We’ve been there; we have the t-shirts. The Brazilian flag evokes for us layers of experience from living in Brazil for twenty years. Our children grew up there. Brazil is part of our hearts.

But we’ll get in trouble if we place Brazil in the center of our affections. That sacred space belongs only to God. And our heavenly Father has no favorites (not even Brazilians!). He cares equally for each of his children, as Peter already reminded us (1:17).

Now, in just a few words, Peter references the whole history of God with the Jewish people, descendants of Abraham whom he called his special possession (the Old Testament cites this name at least fifteen times), called for a special purpose: to bless all the nations of the world.

But Peter turns that history on its head by saying believers in Jesus are now God’s special possession, chosen with the same purpose as Abraham and his descendants: to bless the nations. Because God loves the world (John 3:16), Jesus became the once-for-all-time sacrifice for all people. Through Jesus, God revealed his goodness and his love, not for any one type of people but for everyone.

And Peter tells us Jesus is the cornerstone of a new temple, not the one in Jerusalem. And believers in Jesus are living stones, together being built into the place where God dwells by his Spirit. A cornerstone is the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones are set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.

So, when people claim to be believers in Jesus yet elevate themselves over others, they are taking God’s name in vain. They have lost their connection to the cornerstone.

We must not dishonor the name and goodness of Christ by confusing earthly loyalties with the Gospel. Or think Jesus is all about us. He calls us to bless those different from us. And show them God’s goodness.

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb … (Revelation 7:9).

Take a minute to savor the text of this song, as with me you examine your own heart, and pray today for the victims’ families in Buffalo, the ongoing tragedy of Ukraine, and people in your own city suffering violence of all kinds–some of it perpetrated, unconscionably, in the name of Jesus.

2 thoughts on “Hold on a little more

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