1 Peterby David Burge
A friend of mine told me that Jesus did not expect to be crucified. Rather, my friend thinks, Jesus accidentally pushed the religious leaders too far and died against His will.
But this is not what the Gospels teach, nor what the rest of Scripture teaches, even as far back as the book of Genesis. God's enemies never take Him by surprise. We know the opposition we face never surprises God, either (see Genesis 3:15).
Each verse in today's reading cites a different Old Testament text. The string of quotations begins with the phrase, ″For in Scripture it says″ (1 Peter 2:6). Peter does not think of Scripture as an old, dusty history book, but as the ever-living Word of God, relevant for the here and now (see 1 Peter 1:23). God still speaks through words He inspired many centuries earlier-in Peter's day, and so, too, in ours. When you read any part of Scripture, such as the Psalms or 1 Peter, do you realise God is addressing you in your ″now″?
What, then, are the ancient-yet-fresh Scriptures saying to us now? God is describing two types of people in relation to Jesus, who is God's ″chosen and precious cornerstone″ (2:6). The first type of person is ″the one who trusts in him″ and who ″will never be put to shame″ (v. 6). The one who acknowledges the Lord Jesus will be spared the destructive judgment coming to the arrogant who do not accept God's Word (see Isaiah 28:14-22).
The second type of person God addresses is ″those who do not believe″ (1 Peter 2:7). Peter uses Psalm 118:22 to warn them about the terrible mistake of misjudging God's servants and plans. The world's rejection of Jesus is no reason to distrust God's Word, but to trust it all the more, because it even foretells His rejection (1 Peter 2:8).
God's people in Isaiah's day, Peter's day, and our day, are reminded that though the world offers us an alternative that seems to be stronger or more blessed than Jesus, we must not be fooled. Our Lord, the suffering servant and man of sorrows, is Immanuel, the glorious Son of God with us.
Since we are God's chosen and elect people, our trust in Jesus was foreordained, as we saw in 1 Peter 1:1-3. But the rejection of Jesus was also foreordained-″which is also what they were destined for″ (2:8). Peter realised that Judas Iscariot, for example, was destined to betray Jesus (Acts 1:20), as well as ″both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel″ (4:27-28 ESV; see Romans 9:22).
Nothing takes God by surprise-including the evil plan to kill the Lamb of God and to harm or mock His children. Trust in God is always well-placed, even when living for Him really hurts.
How might you be tempted to forsake Jesus for the comforts that come from the world, or because of the world's pressures? What can you do to resist?
Reflect on Jesus as the ″chosen and precious cornerstone″ (1 Peter 2:6). What does it mean, and how will it impact the way you live today?