In chapter three of Acts Peter presents Christ, the Healer, as God’s Servant, the Holy One, the Righteous One, the Author of life, the Prophet, and the seed in whom all families of the earth will be blessed. Because this Healer is the Author of life, whenever we call on Him we enjoy a season of refreshing. As the Prophet, He speaks God to us, and in Him as the seed of Abraham we are blessed. All these aspects of Christ as the wonderful Healer are for us. However, in Acts 3 we do not see that this Healer is for God’s economy, God’s purpose, God’s building. But in chapter four Peter was given the opportunity to present this Healer in a further way, presenting Him as a stone for God’s building. Concerning this, 4:11 and 12 say, “This is the stone which was despised by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is no salvation in any other; for neither is there another name under heaven given among men in which we must be saved.” In this message we shall give a further word on Christ as the stone for God’s building.
God came in incarnation to be a stone for the building up of His universal habitation, but the Jewish leaders, who should have been the builders, despised this stone. However, God made Him the cornerstone. The more the Jewish leaders rejected Him, the more God used Him. First, He was a stone only in a general way. But after the rejection by the Jewish leaders, God in resurrection made Him the cornerstone. At first He was a common stone. Then Jewish leaders rejected Him by killing Him. But God honored Him by raising Him up from among the dead and making Him a particular stone, the cornerstone, the very prominent stone that joins the walls of a building. Christ is the cornerstone of God’s habitation.
In John 1 we see that Andrew brought his brother, Simon Peter, to the Lord Jesus. “Looking at him, Jesus said, You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas (which translated means a stone)” (v. 42). Later, in Caesarea Philippi, the Lord Jesus asked His disciples, “But you, who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). Peter took the lead to declare, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). In His response to Peter, the Lord said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church” (v. 18). Here the name “Peter” means a stone, which is material for God’s building. The Lord Jesus seemed to be saying, “You are Peter, a stone. I will build my church with stones.”
No doubt, the Lord’s word must have made a deep impression on Peter, even though it is not likely that he understood it at the time. However, after the life-giving Spirit had been breathed into him and after the economical Spirit had blown upon him, Peter became a man of Spirit, a man with the essential Spirit within him and the economical Spirit upon him. As such a man he surely began to understand the Lord’s word concerning him being a stone. Peter might have said to himself, “I recall that when I first met the Lord, He said that He would give me a new name, a name that means stone. Later He called me ‘Peter’ and said that He would build His church upon a rock. Now I understand what the Lord was saying.”
Having this understanding, Peter in Acts 4 could present the Lord Jesus as the stone despised by the builders but which has become the cornerstone. Later, when he had become old, he wrote his first Epistle, in which he spoke of the Lord as the living stone and of the believers as living stones for God’s building: “To whom coming, a living stone, having been rejected by men, but with God chosen, held in honor, you yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house” (1 Pet. 2:4-5a). According to Acts 3 and 4, Peter knew the Healer not only as God’s Servant, the Holy One, the Righteous One, the Author of life, the Prophet, and the seed in whom all the earth would be blessed; he also knew Him as the stone for God’s building.
I do not believe that throughout the centuries many have taught from the Word that Jesus Christ is a stone for God’s building. He is not only the Servant, the Holy One, the Righteous One, the Author of life, the Prophet, and the seed; He is a stone for God’s building. According to 4:12, this stone is the One in whom we can be saved. Hence, He is the Stone-Savior. As the Stone-Savior, He is solid, strong, and reliable. We can rely on Him and stand on Him. This stone is the rock, the foundation stone, and the cornerstone. In Zechariah 4:7 we see that He is even the topstone. Christ is the material for God’s building. God’s building is entirely of Christ.
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