Who Do You Think You Are?

One of my must see shows is TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are. It is amazing the stories that come out of some of those whom we consider celebrities. Relatives who were killed in the camps during WW2 and those who reconnect with family members and are given a key to their ancestral home in Italy. Sudden deaths and amazing reunions dot each season. Yet, it seems to me, there is something about knowing who you that is firmly based in where you came from, or who you came from.

Today, we are who we are, because God is who He is.

4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

We come to a living stone that the world rejects—Jesus. Yet, God has chosen Jesus to be the means whereby we become like him with a future and a calling. We are in the process of becoming a ‘spiritual house’, a ‘dedicated priesthood’, and given a calling to fulfill as Christ’s people.

Jesus Breaks People

The rejected stone, the unexciting stone, the useless stone is all that stone which God sent from heaven to earth—Jesus, God, and Man. No stone is more precious yet one’s rejection continues to have consequences and results long after Jesus is dismissed or tossed aside. The world loves to talk about ‘spirituality’ or ‘god’ but not Jesus. He makes it too pointed, too demanding.

The odd thing is that God calls us living stones as well. And it comes from our faith in the resurrected Christ. The stone which God had chosen—precious, honored and cornerstone has an impact on those of us who have desired for God’s Word.

Temple and Priests

God has undertaken the task of creating us into a ‘spiritual house’ for a ‘holy and dedicated priesthood. It is almost impossible to not understand this ‘spiritual house’ in terms of becoming God’s temple. “Peter clearly here identified the church as God’s new temple (Schreiner 105).”  For those who are baptized and united with Christ, form the true temple of God which is Christ Himself (Kelly 89). And this new temple is run under the “influence and power of the Holy Spirit (Walls and Anders 30).”

Within this new temple, we are called “to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (v 5). What we offer to God are sacrifices by ‘virtue of the work of the Holy Spirit (Schreiner 107)." This involves giving to God the worship he demands and deserves as well as a new “new pattern of social conduct (Michaels 100).”

As far as this identity is concerned, please don’t miss this. Peter is not saying God is building each of us into our own little self-sufficient temples. Nor is he saying that it is up to each one of us to offer these spiritual sacrifices on our own. One should not miss the corporate function that is at work here. “Western believers tend to individualize the notion of priesthood rather than seeing the community emphasis (Schreiner 106)." But the truth of God’s word is that no such individualism is at work here. There is a need to shift focus away from a “Me and Thee” theology and to the “corporate Christian experience (Michaels 97)."

What are these sacrifices?

“The Old Testament speaks of spiritual sacrifices of prayer, thanksgiving, praise, and repentance. The New Testament goes even further by identifying spiritual sacrifices as (1) the offering of our bodies to God for his service; (2) the offerings of our financial gifts; and (3) practical, loving service to other people. Spiritual sacrifices in the New Testament involve our bodies, our money, and our time (Walls and Andres 30)."

It is the Church, in all its various shapes, sizes, traditions, and peculiar theologies who GOD is building up into a temple. And it is us, the Church, who are tasked with offering worship appropriate to Christ’s new order.

New Calling Equals a New Value

Peter has shown there are a new temple and a new priesthood and so in verses 9, following he applies other titles of Israel to the Body of Christ. Once again, they are corporate—a group thing not an individual license to run down any old deer track.

We do not replace Israel; however, the Church has become what Israel had cast away. Israel had tossed aside its designation as a ‘chosen race’ so God, through Christ chose a new people group. Israel defiled the priesthood so God raises up the King’s priesthood (Michael 109). In the same way, Israel went after other gods and found themselves judged by God and tossed into exile again. We, God’s people seek a holiness that can only be found and granted via Jesus and we have found that only Christ is able to vindicate or redeem us from our sins. “The church does not replace Israel, but it does fulfill the promises made to Israel; and all those, Jews and Gentiles, who belong to the true Israel are now part of the new people of God (Schreiner 115)."

You can pick up a 1970’s MLB baseball, in the box for about $30. If you get one from the 1930’s in a box you’ll pay over $400 and if you get an official Negro American League baseball, it can sell for $1,700 or more. If you want the ball that Babe Ruth hit his promised home run with? Well, it sold in 2014 for $250,642 (Nowak). It is not the ball that’s valuable but the name on the ball.

Likewise, it’s not the person who is valuable but whose name is inscribed in their heart and soul. Live, crave with an intense, continuous desire for Christ and we begin to realize we’ve been marked by God himself, with his Son’s holy name.

As we prepare to come to God’s holy feast, whose name is written on your life? Is it the Holy name of God or some regional spirit like love, politeness, or can’t wait for the weekend’? You value is determined by whether or not the name of Jesus is inscribed on your heart. Let us pray.

 

 

Works Cited

Kelly, J. N. D. A Commentary on The Epistles of Peter and of Jude. 1st ed. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1969. Print.

Michaels, J. Ramsey. Word Biblical Commentary. 1st ed. Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1988. Print.

Nowak, Joey. "Babe Ruth-Autographed Ball Fetches $250,642 In Auction". Major League Baseball. n.p., 2014. Web. 5 May 2017.

Schreiner, Thomas R. 1, 2 Peter, Jude. 1st ed. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman, 2003. Print.

Sports eBay. "CLASSIC EARLY ANTIQUE VINTAGE TURN OF THE CENTURY BASEBALL SMALL DEAD BALL STYLE | eBay". eBay. n.p., 2017. Web. 5 May 2017.

Walls, David R, and Max E Anders. I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude. 1st ed. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 1999. Print.

Bibliography

"Bislett Games". En.wikipedia.org. Web. 3 May 2017.

Cedar, Paul A., and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 34: James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude. 1st ed. Nashville, Tenn.: Nelson Reference & Electronic, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006. Print.

Hawkins, Lori. ""What's A Gadget Cost? Teardown Techies Know,"". The Columbus Dispatch 2014. Web. 3 May 2017.

Kelly, J. N. D. A Commentary On The Epistles Of Peter And Of Jude. 1st ed. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1969. Print.

Lewis, C. S. The Problem Of Pain. 1st ed. HarperOne, 2001. Print.

Grant, Tony. "The Bislett Effect Sermon". https://www.sermoncentral.com. n.p., 2017. Web. 30 Apr. 2017.

Michaels, J. Ramsey. Word Biblical Commentary. 1st ed. Waco, Tex.: Word Books, 1988. Print.

Nowak, Joey. "Babe Ruth-Autographed Ball Fetches $250,642 In Auction". Major League Baseball. n.p., 2014. Web. 5 May 2017.

Schlikerman, Becky. "Identities Of 5 In State Care Elude Authorities". Chicago Tribune 2012. Web. 5 May 2017.

Schreiner, Thomas R. 1, 2 Peter, Jude. 1st ed. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman, 2003. Print.

Sports eBay. "CLASSIC EARLY ANTIQUE VINTAGE TURN OF THE CENTURY BASEBALL SMALL DEAD BALL STYLE | eBay". eBay. n.p., 2017. Web. 5 May 2017.

 "The Oslo Book". theoslobook.com. n.p., 2016. Web. 2 May 2017.

Walls, David R, and Max E Anders. I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude. 1st ed. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 1999. Print.