Living stones 1 A lifeless and a lively stone

The idea of a lifeless stone symbolising the life-giving work of the Lord Jesus is unusual.  Jonathan Cope brings a three-part series in the Christadelphian Magazine in which we see Jesus as the chief corner stone, the foundation of the living temple.

Just occasionally in the word of God, we read statements which, on the surface, appear to describe something which is impossible – or, at the very least contradictory. Jesus taught that those who lose their lives will find them (Matthew 10:39). Paul said that only when he was weak was he in a position of true strength (2 Corinthians 12:10). Of course, we know that there are no contradictions in God’s inspired word, and so can easily comprehend the vital message that these apparent anomalies are presenting to us. Jesus was showing that if we reject the things that this world offers (“losing our lives”), then everlasting life will be ours, when he comes again. Paul wrote to the ecclesia at Corinth stating that if disciples refuse to trust in their own abilities, becoming “weak”, then the blessings of incorruptibility and everlasting strength will be theirs, by grace.

There are many other examples of these figures of speech: we might term them ‘Biblical oxymorons’ – phrases that describe situations or things which on face value may be impossible yet which are spiritually perfectly true, and of immense importance.

A living stone … lively stones

In 1 Peter 2 the apostle describes the challenges which disciples face, in his day and ours. Like believers in the first century we are called to lay aside all malice and, as a baby desires milk, we should long for the comfort and nourishment which comes from God’s word. In this context, we read these words about the Lord Jesus, and those who seek to follow him:

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4,5)

Peter’s name means ‘rock’. He was also called Cephas by the Master (John 1:42), which has a similar meaning. He received a blessing from Jesus following his declaration that the Lord was the son of the living God, and was told that upon this awesome truth – this ‘rock-like’ statement – the ecclesia would be founded (Matthew 16:17,18). How appropriate then, that this very apostle should speak of Jesus as a “living stone”, and state that we must all be “lively stones”.

On the surface, it is hard to imagine anything less living than a stone! Other inanimate objects exist, but they are often made from other things which were once alive. A book is made of paper, which comes from trees. A lifeless item is produced by taking that which is alive and using it to manufacture something else. The same might be said of many items of clothing. Whether made of cotton, wool or leather, they came from things which were once living. Yet this could never be said of a stone. A stone is dead; it has never lived, and it never will. Yet Jesus is portrayed as a living stone, and we are called to emulate his example.

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Continued with Living stones 2 Attributes

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Related

  1. Phillip Medhurst presents 223/392 the James Tissot Jesus c 1896 The Corner Stone Matthew 21:42-46 
  2. ​The stone that the builders refuse
  3. A New Foundation ~ — Christian poetry ~ by deborah ann
  4. A Stone of Stumbling
  5. Living Stones, a Holy Priesthood
  6. Living, Precious Stones for New Jerusalem
  7. some words about the word, and the Living Word – a.k.a. Jesus
  8. Mary and the call to be temples of God
  9. Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad in It
  10. My Living Stone
  11. Living Stones – 8/28/16
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