The Bible, on the other hand, talks about rocks quite a bit. Rocks, and dirt. And mud. And all kinds of things like that. It makes sense that they do: the Old Testament was first written in Hebrew, and Hebrew has a lot of words for rocks and dirt. If your culture came about in a rocky desert area, your language would too. So there’s a lot of dirt and rock language in the Bible.
People in the Bible often thought about rocks. In fact, the scripture I read for today, 1 Peter 2:4-10, was written by a guy who’s name is a pun based on the word ROCK. The whole passage today deals with rocks, and Peter’s thoughts about them:
4 Now you are coming to him as to a living stone. Even though this stone was rejected by humans, from God’s perspective it is chosen, valuable. 5 You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple. You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Thus it is written in scripture, Look! I am laying a cornerstone in Zion, chosen, valuable. The person who believes in him will never be shamed.[a] 7 So God honors you who believe. For those who refuse to believe, though, the stone the builders tossed aside has become the capstone. 8 This is a stone that makes people stumble and a rock that makes them fall. Because they refuse to believe in the word, they stumble. Indeed, this is the end to which they were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. 10 Once you weren’t a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you hadn’t received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
There’s quite a bit to unpack here, but here’s the broad strokes.
Peter calls Jesus the living rock, and then calls us living rocks too. Wait, what? How… how does that make sense? Rocks aren’t alive! The fact that they are rocks necessitates the idea that they are not living. There are living things, and there are dead things, and then there are things that are non-living. That’s what rocks are.
And yet, Peter describes both Jesus and Us as living rocks.
Think about that. If we were rocks–non-living things–but are now living rocks, what does that mean? It means that, in Peter’s mind, faith in Jesus can even make non-living things alive. Christ can bring things to life that would otherwise be non-living. There is another dimension to existence because of Christ. Something we couldn’t possibly imagine experiencing has been brought to us by God incarnate.
Pretty deep for a dude named after a rock.
Jesus liked outcasts. That was who he was most comfortable with. That’s who he did most of his ministry with. That’s who he ate with, and had the nicest things to say about. Rejects, misfits, all those cast aside, that’s who he threw his lot in with. As a result, though, that’s who the non-outcasts lumped him in with, and it cost him his life. In preaching truth, touching the unclean, redefining the law, and in general being a pain in the brain to the powerful, Jesus earned himself the title of not only outcast, but outlaw, and was executed as a traitor and a heretic.
Peter, witness to these events, summarized it using scriptures from his childhood: “The stone cast aside has become the capstone.” What was thrown out has now become central to the foundation of the universe. Being like Christ is essential to Peter, and without understanding who Christ was and what Christ did, one can’t help but stumble.
Peter is the king of PEOPLE WHO STUMBLED A LOT.
He may have been the first pope, but this guy got it wrong all the time. He’s not excluding himself in this statement. Understanding Jesus is hard, even for those closest to him. There’s a reason that there’s so much mystery involved in following Jesus.
So there we have it. We are given access to a new dimension of being because of Christ. Who was once outcast is now the central piece to understanding the universe.
In other words, rocks.