I've been thinking and praying a lot about the eternal, spiritual temple that Peter tells us about in 1 Peter chapter two, starting in verse four...
Peter was speaking under the unction of the Holy Spirit here, but there is no doubt that this "building project" was something that Jesus spoke about in private as He and Peter sat by the fire together. It's like getting the chance to be a "fly on the wall" while Jesus shared the secrets of the Kingdom with His closest earthly friend and successor. This passage is, undoubtedly, Peter sharing one of the "private lessons" on the Kingdom of Heaven that He received from the King Himself.Living Stones for God’s House4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. 5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.[a] Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6 As the Scriptures say,“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,[b]chosen for great honor,and anyone who trusts in himwill never be disgraced.”[c]7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him.[d] But for those who reject him,“The stone that the builders rejectedhas now become the cornerstone.”[e]8 And,“He is the stone that makes people stumble,the rock that makes them fall.”[f]They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[g] 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.10 “Once you had no identity as a people;now you are God’s people.Once you received no mercy;now you have received God’s mercy.”[h]
Peter quotes the prophets and scripture several times in this passage. He tells us that Jesus is the Cornerstone of a spiritual "temple" that David (the planner of God's earthly temple in Jerusalem) prophesied about along with Ezekiel, Isaiah and many of the other prophets. This living temple has been God's building project since the Garden of Eden. It has been on His heart since the beginning of time and He is still skillfully creating it out of people like you and I.
Jesus is the first stone of that temple that God placed in human history. Like looking through eclipse glasses, Noah, Abraham's Covenant and even the earthly temple Solomon built was just a shadow of what God was really up to behind the scenes. Everything prior to Jesus was God laying the spiritual groundwork for His living, beautiful and eternal temple that could not be torn down or destroyed. The law, Tabernacle and temple were all like blueprints, communicating the Father's intentions in building this temple that could never be defiled. This Temple is also called the Church or the Kingdom interchangeably and Jesus is the living Cornerstone of that building project.
Peter goes on to say in verse five that we are "living stones" placed carefully by God, finding our orientation and purpose in Christ alone. The Cornerstone was laid when Jesus was murdered and then cheated death 3 days later in Jerusalem. That was the culmination of God's redemption plan and until that time, God's spiritual temple was more of a tabernacle. Until Jesus was literally (and figuratively) laid in the ground as the chief stone that every other "living stone" would find it's orientation from.
The picture Peter draws out for us is that each generation of disciples becomes and addition or new wing of God's eternal temple that He has had planned since the beginning of time. Even now, you and I are chosen by God to hold our place in space and time, saved by grace to be a testament to what God's love and power can do!
This purpose became clear to us when we recognized Jesus as our Cornerstone, aligning ourselves (with the persistent help of the Holy Spirit), to God's will for us as sons and daughters. This gives us our new identity and family along with every other living stone. We have become "priests" and "living stones" in God's eternal temple along with the redeemed of EVERY generation from Adam until now.
What an amazing God we love and serve!!