Building a New Temple

The Dome of the Rock sits on the site where the Jewish Temple once stood and where some religious leaders expect a new temple to some day be built.
Photo by Dave Lowe

4Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him.

5And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are God’s holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.  6As the Scriptures express it,

“I am placing a stone in Jerusalem, a chosen cornerstone, and anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed.”

(1 Peter 2:4-6, NLT)


In this passage, Peter uses imagery of the temple, which would have been very familiar to his audience.

In the Old Testament, the temple was a place – a building made with stones, where God was worshiped.

Here Peter says that you, as Christians, are being built into a new temple, with Jesus as the cornerstone.

In masonry, the cornerstone is the most important stone in the building of a structure. The cornerstone is foundational. All other stones are set in reference to the cornerstone.

Peter is saying that God is building a new temple that’s not a physical temple, but a spiritual temple. It’s not made with physical stones but instead, it consists of spiritual stones made up of people. Jesus is the foundational stone and those who follow Jesus are the stones God is using to build this new spiritual temple.

The implications of what Peter is sharing are huge.  Instead of going to a place to worship God, you can worship God all the time, with your life, since you are the temple and God is with you all the time.

Additionally, in the Old Testament, the priest was integral to the act of worship. The priest administered the sacrifices on behalf of the worshiper.

Now that Christ has come, you are the priest. A mediator is no longer necessary.

Verse 5 says that we offer spiritual sacrifices that please him.

What are those sacrifices?

Our lives are the sacrifices. Go, therefore, and worship the Lord with your life!

Reflection

In your view, what does it mean to worship God and what is the way in which a person worships God?

Does your religious tradition utilize a priest? If so, what is your response to Peter’s assertion that you, as a follower of Christ, are a holy priest who offers spiritual sacrifices to God?

In what ways can you offer up your life to God as a spiritual sacrifice?

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