THE POWER OF METAPHOR
Scripture is incredibly rich in the way the Holy Spirit inspired writers to describe God—His people, creation, and the Church. Jesus and His new Kingdom were quite disruptive to the thoughts and expectations of the Jewish people who were awaiting a warrior King to vindicate the Israelites once and for all against the oppressive rule of the Roman Government. Like any other apprentices, those who would follow Jesus would need direction and understanding in this new Kingdom that Jesus was ushering in.
Jesus regularly taught in parables. These were stories that would use mutual understanding of thoughts, places, practices, and ideas to relate the intangibles about life in the Kingdom of God. Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, would use similar tools, such as metaphors or similes, to describe concepts important to becoming an Apprentice of Jesus. A metaphor is a direct comparison of two things. In the passage today, Peter is going to use three metaphors:
- Jesus is the Cornerstone.
- Jesus Followers are like “living stones” used to build a “spiritual temple”.
- Jesus is also a “stone” that can cause others to stumble when they don’t obey God’s Word.
Metaphors are incredibly helpful. Peter is not saying we are all actual stones. (Although for many of us, this season of staying at home has us in danger of the “Quarantine 15” that leaves us looking like anything but a stone! HA!) This metaphor of a “stone” is an important teaching that has implications for the rest of the unfolding redemption of the world. God is building His Kingdom. Like any good building, it requires “stones” that are used to build the structure. When using stones, the Cornerstone is the most important foundational stone of the entire building. Jesus, the Son of God, is the key to creation and redemption of the whole world! But Jesus would also be a “stumbling block” for those who thought they had everything figured out. The Pharisees had a system of religion that was based upon strict adherence to customs that were far away from the heart of God. They enjoyed being the experts on all things related to religion. Jesus’ teachings would be so frustrating for the religious leaders of his time as well as the rule of Rome, that their resentment would ultimately lead to Jesus’ crucifixion.
While you read the passage today, look at the metaphors that Peter uses in describing God and Apprentices of Jesus. How does this change your thinking? What observations can you make about yourself, God, and His unfolding Kingdom in light of these metaphors?
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it outloud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
4 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.1 Peter 2:4-8 (NLT)
5 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. 6 As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”
“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
We are praying for you!