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Bible Commentaries

Wells of Living Water Commentary
1 Peter 2



Other Authors
Verses 4-8

Christ the Living Stone

1 Peter 2:4-8


One of the striking beauties of the Word of God, is the commonplace similitudes which abound in its writings. It is marvelous how the Holy Spirit can speak of the Lord Jesus Christ under the symbolism of most commonplace things, without in the least abusing the glory or the dignity of His Divine person.

One of these symbolisms is the stone, not a stone, merely, but a stone vivified, living, moving, having being, possessed of personality. To us, a stone seems to be the coldest, deadest proposition imaginable. But before we get through with this sermon we trust that we shall see how aptly the stone speaks to us of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Scripture tells of our coming unto Christ as unto a Living Stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious. It also speaks of us as "living stones," built into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood.

Again, our Scripture describes Christ as a Chief Corner Stone, and as precious; as a Stone made the Head of the corner, and also a Stone of stumbling, and a Rock of offence.

We are to come unto this Living Stone. How do we come? We come that we may build. We have read, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." Any other foundation is no more than the sands. We step on to the Rock of Ages and find our feet secure.

"He took me out of the pit,

And from the miry clay;

He set my feet on a Rock

Establishing my way,

He put a song in my mouth

My God to glorify,

And He'll take me some day

To His home on high."

God has said that we are builders, and Christ is the Rock on which we build. What then are we building? If we are building gold, silver, precious stones; wood, hay, stubble, the day will declare it.

"We are building day by day,

As the moments pass away,

A temple that the world cannot see;

Every victory won by grace,

Will be sure to find a place

In that building for eternity."

The Rock on which we build, the Living Stone, will never fall. The important thing, however, which should be our chief concern is, "Take heed how ye build."

We are reminded of the story of the man who built his house upon the sands, and the winds blew and the floods came and it fell, and great was the fall thereof. Are we building secure, not only against present day trials and testings; not only against the storms of the world, the flesh and the devil, which beset us; but, are we building secure against the day of the judgment of the believer's works, when we must all stand before the Lord to receive the things done in the body, whether we have done good or bad? How much better was the building of the wise man. He built upon the rock, and when the rain descended, and the winds blew, and the floods came, his house fell not, for it was builded upon the Rock.

And still better is the one who not only builds on the Rock, but who builds a building of the "precious stone" quality.


The Lord Jesus Christ was despised and rejected of men. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. He came into the world, and the world knew Him not. Here is something inexplicable. It is natural for men to seek their own. We read "Safety First," at almost every turn of the road. Yet, here is one place where man utterly fails to see his own good, "A Living Stone disallowed indeed of men": This statement is passing strange: but it is as true as it is strange. Men of the world do not come unto Him. He is cast aside as a worthless stone. He is disallowed of men. Christ is the Stone which the builders rejected. They would neither use Him as their foundation, as their chief corner stone, nor as their head stone. There is no place for Christ in the lives of men.

"Our Lord is now rejected,

And by the world disowned,

By the many still rejected,

And by the few enthroned."

The Lord is as much "disallowed of men" today, as He was in the day of His birth, when there was no room for Him in the inn. He came at that time to His own, and His own received Him not; He was in the world and the world knew Him not. There was no place for Christ in His home city, Nazareth; there was place for Him in His Father's House; there was no place for Him on the whole wide earth; so men took Him and nailed Him to a tree.

The world still holds the same attitude toward the Son of God. His will is not wanted, His way is not desired, and His words are not accepted.

Christ the Living Stone is disallowed indeed of men, because He does not fit in to their plan of architecture; He is not even to be considered. The contrast between Christ the Foundation, the Chief Corner Stone, the Head of the Corner, and the rest of the building would be too great. There is no symmetry, no harmony, no rhythm there, so Christ is disallowed. This is the reason that so few have any room for Jesus.

"Have you any room for Jesus,

He who bore your load of sin?

As He knocks and asks admission,

Sinner, will you let Him in?

"Room for Jesus, King of Glory!

Hasten now, His Word obey!

Swing the heart's door widely open!

Bid Him enter while you may!

"Room for pleasure, room for business;

But for Christ the crucified

Not a place that He can enter

In the heart for which He died!"


When Jesus was born, He grew up before the Father as a tender plant, as a root out of dry ground. He was precious to the Father.

Men may reject the Saviour and disallow Him as the Living Stone, but not so the Father. Christ is chosen of God, and precious. Away back in the days of His birth, when there was no room in the inn, when men had no thought, no care for the Son of God; even then the Father acclaimed Him, and spoke from Heaven by His angel to the watching shepherds, saying, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." While the infant Christ lay with no bed but a manger, a multitude of the Heavenly host broke loose, "Praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

At the time when the Jews were seeking to kill Him, and only a few Greeks desired Him, the Father broke loose from above and sounded His note of praise. The Son had said, "Father, glorify Thy Name," and the Father answered, reverberating Heaven with His praise, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."

At the time when Christ's body lay in the tomb, when all the world had despised Him, and had slain Him; then the Father raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, giving Him a seat at His own right hand.

At the very time that the Israelites were stoning Stephen because of his faithful testimony to Christ, and in their killing of Stephen were reeking forth their hatred of the Son of God, Stephen saw Christ standing at the right hand of God.

Christ is both chosen of the Father and precious. Not only did He grow up before the Father as a tender plant, but He obtained from the Father by virtue of His death, a new love, and a new preciousness. Christ said, "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life," for the sheep.


Christ is more than the foundation. He is the Chief Corner Stone, elect and precious. We now come particularly to the thought of Jesus Christ in His supremacy, both in the individual life and in the church. The corner stone usually bears the mark of distinction in the dedication of a great building. On it is engraved the name which the building is to bear.

The Lord Jesus is one with His brethren in the great building and He shares with the saints every responsibility, but He is also the Chief Corner Stone. He is Chief; He is the Firstborn among many brethren; He wears the crown, and the diadems are His. In all things He holds pre-eminence.

The great general may be one with his army and share with them every conflict in the battle, every danger, every discomfort; but he remains, withal, the great chieftain. His commands are final, and must be obeyed. He is not only one with his men, but he is their chief.

Where is he who is not glad to add his voice to that great multitude who crown Christ Lord of all? John the Baptist was not slow to say that he was unworthy to stoop down and loose the sandals from the feet of Christ. Many were they in the olden days who came and fell at His feet. The rich young ruler fell there; the Syrophenician, the man of Gadara, Mary Magdalene, all took their places, at the feet of Jesus. Mary, the sister of Martha, found no greater joy than to sit at His feet, and hear His words.

Are we not ready to join with them and crown Him chief? We will not say unto men, Rabbi, Rabbi; but we will say, "Great Master," unto Christ. We are willing to obey His command, to do His will, and to follow in His footsteps.


The Lord Jesus is now raised from the symbolism of the rough and rugged stone, which is the foundation upon which we build. He is now heralded by the believer, as precious. To him the Living Stone takes the quality of diamond, and jewel most rare,

1. Christ the Living Stone is precious to the believer because He lends them security. They know in whom they believe; they know on whom they have put their trust, and they know He will never fail.

"On Christ the solid rock I stand

All other ground is sinking sand."

2. Christ the Living Stone is precious to the believer, because He is the smitten Rock from which the Living Waters flow. Our fathers did all drink of that spiritual drink, that flowed from that spiritual Rock, and that Rock was Christ. We love the song, "Rock of Ages," because it speaks of the Rock being cleft, and of the water and the Blood that flowed from its side.

3. Christ the Living Stone is precious to the believer, because it speaks of the City whose Builder and Maker is God. Jesus Christ and the Father, are the Temple of that New Jerusalem, whose great foundations and gates of pearl shall stand for evermore. As we think of the Living Stone, Christ becomes more and more precious to us; particularly, as our minds leap into that great beyond, where we shall dwell with Him for evermore.

How our hearts are endeared to Him; how precious are His thoughts unto us; we feel as the Shulamite felt, when she said, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His." We cry as she cried, "I am sick of love." We call upon Him, as she called, "Come over the mountains of separation."


"And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient." About this there are several things to be said:

1. Christ was a Stumbling Stone to Israel. Paul wrote it this way, as the Spirit moved him on: "But Israel * * stumbled at that stumblingstone; as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence." Christ came by the way of grace, through faith; and Israel, who followed after law-works, stumbled at Him. The Cross was to them the Rock of offence. He was set at naught of the builders. Paul wrote again: "But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock."

Unto this day, the Living Stone, which became the stricken Rock, is a stone of stumbling to Israel.

2. Christ will be a Stone of Smiting to the Gentiles. The Jews have not been alone in their rejection of the Son of God. The Gentiles were party to the crucifixion, and they have been a party to the disallowing of the Living Stone even unto this day. What is the result? "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder" (Matthew 21:44 ).

Daniel saw a little stone cut without hands from the mountainside, and it fell on Nebuchadnezzar's great colossus and ground it to powder. At the Coming of the Lord, that Stone will fall upon the Gentile nations which have rejected the Lord, and they shall receive the just judgment and punishment of the Lord.

What is our final admonition? It is this: It is the very core of Peter's message concerning the Living Stone: "He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded."

That Living Stone will prove to every trusting soul, a covert from the storm; it will prove the shadow of a great Rock in a weary land. Let us, therefore, seek its shelter. Let us hide in its cleff.

"Oh, safe to the Rock that is higher than I,

My soul in its conflicts and sorrows would fly;

So sinful, so weary, Thine, Thine would I be;

Thou blest 'Rock of Ages,' I'm hiding in Thee.

Hiding in Thee, hiding in Thee,

Thou blest 'Rock of Ages,' I'm hiding in Thee.

In the calm of the noontide, in sorrow's lone hour,

In times when temptation casts o'er me its power;

In the tempests of life, on its wide, heaving sea,

Thou blest 'Rock of Ages,' I'm hiding in Thee.

How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe,

I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe;

How often when trials like sea billows roll,

Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul."


Christ is the Foundation, the Chief Corner Stone. He is also the Head of the corner. In our way of thinking, this last expression carries us to the time of the ascension, when the Lord Jesus was exalted a Prince and a Saviour. He became obedient to death, even the death of the Cross, "wherefore God hath exceedingly exalted Him, and given Him a Name that is above every name."

Using the symbolism of the Church as a body, the Lord is the Head, "From whom the whole body, fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth * * maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

There is, however, another suggestion of the Chief Corner Stone, becoming the Head of the corner. The words look back to the ascension, but they are also prophetic, and look on the Return of the Lord. For many years Israel has been unmindful of the Rock that begat them: they have forgotten the God that formed them. Israel stands, by interpretation, as "the builders who disallowed the Living Stone." During the centuries that Israel has been trodden down, Jesus Christ has been to His Church, the Chief Corner Stone.

Israel will not always dwell in rebellion. One of these days Christ will come, and He who was despised and rejected by His own people, will be received and admired. They who placed upon Him the crown of thorns will place upon Him the diadem of David, a crown of glory.

Now hear the words of the Prophet David: "Open to Me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord: * *. The Stone which the builders refused is become the Head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes" (Psalms 118:19-22 ). These words doubtless anticipate the resurrection, and Christ's entrance into Heaven, with His exaltation to the Father's right hand.

Now hear the words of the Prophet Zechariah: "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt * * bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." How glorious will be the fulfilment of this prophecy! Jesus Christ exalted and made Head, by the Father in His ascension, shall yet be exalted and made Head by His people Israel.

"Every eye shall now behold Him,

Robed in dreadful majesty;

Those who set at naught and sold Him,

Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,

Deeply wailing,

Shall the true Messiah see."


God is a Builder, as well as we. We build on the solid Rock, a building that must pass the inspection of the judgment-seat of Christ. God is also building on that same blessed foundation; He is building a spiritual house. The Foundation on which God builds is Christ the Living Stone; the stones which He uses for His building are saints, the lively stones.

Why are we lively stones? Because we have new life in Christ Jesus. He lives, and we live in Him. His life is our life. We have been born again. We are children of God in Christ Jesus; we have eternal life.

Why are we stones? Christ said to Peter, "Thou art Cephas, thou shalt be a rock." We are rocks because we are bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh. Whatsoever He is, we are. He puts the iron in our blood. He makes us an iron pillar and a stone wall. We are strong, invincible, incorruptible, in Him.

We are lively stones, builded up a spiritual house. In Ephesians 2:20-22 we read: "And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

The Lord calls us His building. Each stone is the unit of a Christian life. Each stone is a living stone. The building completed, is a holy temple, a spiritual house. In that house, God takes up His abode in the Spirit. Christ, too, comes to abide in us. What is the result? There is formed a spiritual house which is God's holy priesthood, "to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." God's spiritual house, becomes a lighthouse to make God known. It is a house which is the storehouse of Truth, "the pillar and ground of the Truth."

Precious, tried and sure foundation,

Disallowed, indeed, of men;

Living Stone, by God now chosen,

Laid in Zion, with glad acclaim.

Smitten Rock, with water flawing,

Cleft, my thirst to satisfy;

Symbol of His side once riven,

When the Christ went forth to die.

Stone refused by sinful builders,

Now become the Corner-stone;

Chief of all, by God accepted,

Seated on the Father's throne.

Blessed Head Stone, hear the shoutings,

"Grace, yes, grace to it," they cry;

Christ descending, now admired,

Coming in the clouds of sky.

Stone cut out from yonder mountain,

Smiting kingdoms built by man;

Filling earth with all its power,

Christ is coming back to reign.



And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved. An insane man once entered a crowded church, and grasping two pillars of the gallery cried: "I will pull these down and destroy you, as Samson did the Philistine lords." A panic was imminent, when the minister, quietly waving his hand, said, "Let him try." He did try and that was the end of the panic. Infidelity lays hold of the pillars of our temple, the Bible, the Divinity of Christ, and the like. Professors of probabilities say, "We will pull them down." Let them try. Many have tried, but our temple stands. It was built by the Almighty, and from its sure cornerstone, to its highest pinnacle it is secure. From the Presbyterian.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 1 Peter 2:4". "Living Water".

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Saturday, December 5th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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