1 Peter 2:4–5 (MEV): Coming to Him as to a living stone who is rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house as a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Peter presents Jesus in a metaphor using a series of stones. Beginning here, the worth of Jesus is going to be portrayed solidly (pun intended.) It will be in relation to some Old Testament passages he has in mind.
1 Peter 2:6–8 (MEV): For also it is contained in the Scripture, “Look! I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes in Him shall never be put to shame.”
Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious. But to those who are disobedient, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they are disobedient to the word, to which also they were appointed.
This is cited from Isaiah.
Isaiah 28:16 (MEV): Therefore, thus says the Lord God: See, I lay in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, firmly placed; he who believes shall not act hastily.
Jesus is the living stone.
I lay in Zion a stone. Zion is the mountain where Jesus stands in Revelation 14 with the 144,000. But we must understand the importance of the usage of Zion. The contrast is not addressed directly by Peter. It is an underlying tension for sure.
Hebrews 12:22–24 (MEV): But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven; to God, the Judge of all; and to the spirits of the righteous ones made perfect; and to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant; and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than that of Abel.
Coming to Mount Zion is in contrast of coming to another mountain, Sinai.
Galatians 4:24–26 (MEV): These things are an allegory, for these are the two covenants. The one is from Mount Sinai, which gives birth to bondage; she is Hagar. Now this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and represents the present Jerusalem, and is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem which is above is free, which is our mother.
A stone lain in Zion must be living. It is this Living Stone, Jesus. He is the unmoving and unchanging Mediator of a new covenant. This is in sharp contrast to the other mountain of the old covenant, Sinai. That is the mountain which gave birth to bondage. The Living Stone in Zion sets us free by sprinkled blood. (Remember How Peter used that term previously.)
Jesus is the tested Stone. He is the One Who did as God asked all the way to the cross, enduring its shame for the joy set before Him.
Jesus is the corner stone.
No builder erects a structure without a cornerstone. It’s the same thought as the Hebrews passage alludes to, the church of the firstborn. The firstborn is Jesus He is the Creator of all. Without Him nothing exists. Every living creature owes fealty to Him just for drawing breath.
John 1:2–4 (MEV): In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind.
He is worthy. He is precious.
Jesus is the rejected stone.
This idea comes from this passage.
Psalm 118:22 (MEV): The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
The psalmist is saying that a stone purposed for a particular purpose can become unwanted. In this case, the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as their King. The Jewish people were chosen as God’s heritage. They were the ones purposes in the old covenant to make salvation known to the whole world. In that essence, these were the builders of the kingdom of God.
God chose Him for that purpose of being the foundation for salvation. Jesus was firmly placed as attested to us in the Scriptures. He is unmovable and He could not be conquered by rejection. In this case, death. This is a continuing theme from the first chapter.
Jesus is the stumbling stone.
Peter also cites this passage.
Isaiah 8:4 (MEV) He shall become a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Take the time to consider the truths of the Bible, that is to study its claims and test them. God says He will be found by those who seek Him. In that sense, the Stone lain becomes a sanctuary for those who take the time to seek Him.
But for the hasty, and the others who have ulterior motives, Jesus becomes a rock of offense. It is precisely because of Who He is that exposes such nefarious evil for what it is.
Though the people these Scriptures are taking to task were also appointed to the same word all are. They were to consider the revelation of the Jewish Scriptures carefully, and expected to know Jesus when He came. In so doing, to believe in His mercies and be saved.
Mature by coming to Jesus.
He is the Living Stone of New Jerusalem, the firmly placed Cornerstone. For us who desire the pure milk of the word and to be like Him, He is a sanctuary. He is a place of rest from work.
To the builders, the ones working to make something for themselves, He is hastily rejected.