1 Peter 2:4-10 – May 7, 2023
I had an amazing time in Egypt! Our wonderful and knowledgeable tour guide often called our group together during our time in Egypt, saying “My people!” in his resonant baritone voice. Often, at museums, libraries and archaeological sites where there were many other tour groups, our group of 19 soon learned to listen for our guide calling out, “My people!”
I can just imagine the apostle Peter considering the same thing. He wrote this letter to a group of scattered Jewish believers in the Messiah Jesus (our Lord Jesus Christ) all throughout Asia Minor. Peter does not say exactly “My people!” to his scattered believing friends, but that is very much his intent.
Listen to verses 9 and 10: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
The situation of these scattered believers, sprinkled far apart throughout the area north of Palestine, was a sadly common one. No matter where these first-century believers lived, very often they were persecuted. They faced becoming social outcasts simply for believing in and obeying Jesus Christ as Lord.
As I have said in past weeks, the current situation of many believers in Jesus, in large parts of North Africa and the Middle East, is also one fraught with dangers and persecution. Believers can lose their jobs, lose their families, even become social outcasts simply by letting it be publicly known that they believe in Jesus Christ as Lord. This is a very serious thing, indeed. And, not relegated to way back when, in the first or second century.
The apostle tried to encourage the hearts of these scattered Jewish believers! He starts off the letter by thanking God for such great salvation! He encourages his believing friends to continue to live holy lives, as is pleasing to God. In other words, we all ought to pattern ourselves upon our Lord Jesus, the cornerstone of our faith.
Do you know what a cornerstone is there for? Why a cornerstone is placed on a building? The cornerstone is often a fancy stone, with carving or words placed (or carved) on it. The cornerstone is “the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation. All other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.”  The cornerstone has very great importance to the rest of the whole building!
Peter knew quite a lot about stones. He had received a new name from the itinerant Rabbi Jesus during the three years the disciples followed Him around Palestine. Formerly Simon, now called Peter, or “the Rock.” I would imagine that Peter considered himself as a follower of our Lord Jesus to be a part of that heavenly Temple, that spiritual building, a Rock positioned, set in place following the Cornerstone called Christ.
Can you see how Peter meant those words about our Lord Jesus, Him being a Cornerstone, to be an encouragement and comfort for these scattered believers? I can just see these timid believers, gathering in houses on the first day of the week, blessed by the words of this letter that was copied and circulated throughout Asia Minor!
And the capper for this part of the letter is that these believers are God’s people. “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” I can only imagine how encouraging that was to these dear persecuted followers of Jesus!
Not only are they – we – silent stones, placed in the building of the heavenly Temple built by our Lord Jesus. But, they – we – are also God’s people. All of us are! We have been chosen, on purpose. Not just leftovers, not just the remainders, but God’s special chosen people! God’s special possession! Praise God, can you believe it? Plus, you and I are not simply static stones in the foundation of a building. No! We are much more than that!
How does it feel to be one of a royal priesthood? A holy nation? In fact, God’s special possession? Because, we are! We all as believers are something to be celebrated, for sure!
A key part of this Bible reading is the enormous difference that is not due to anything that you or I did. We did not work for it. “It is what God did for us! We didn’t become the people of God by trying hard. God chose people, all people, as God’s people. God chose us. We didn’t become holy because of something we did right. We became holy because God forgives us and chose us as special treasures. It is our responsibility, then, to live a life that honors what God did for us. It is a “God thing” that we are chosen! 
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I will be highlighting mental health on the third Sunday of May, May 21st. Whether we as believers face suffering and rejection from others or deal with suffering and mental illness from within, we can all be encouraged by these good words of great hope! Jesus Christ is our Foundation and Cornerstone, and we are all – every believer, throughout the world – are called to be God’s people! God’s chosen ones.
The apostle knew that these scattered believers needed to be encouraged! Sometimes, we need to be encouraged, too. “Peter was keen to energise these small bands of believers, to empower them to change the world one community at a time. And to do that, Peter knew, as Jesus knew, that our identity needs a rock-solid foundation.” 
We can go out into the world with confidence. We know who we are! We are God’s people, built on our strong Foundation, Jesus Christ. We can go forth with hope, with joy, with confidence, because we are indeed God’s people. Alleluia, amen!
(Suggestion: visit me at my other blogs: matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers. #PursuePEACE – and A Year of Being Kind . Thanks!
 Wikipedia, Cornerstone – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone