1 Peter 2:7-8
To you therefore which believe he is precious: but to them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed…
I. THE RESULT OF THE UNBELIEF, AND THE OPPOSITION OF MEN, UPON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
1. First came the Jew. He had the pride of race to maintain. Were not the Jews the chosen people of God? Jesus comes preaching the gospel to every creature, He sends His disciples even to the Gentiles: therefore the Jews will not have Him. But the opposition of His countrymen did not defeat the cause of Christ; if rejected in Palestine, His word was received in Greece, it triumphed in Rome, it passed onward to Spain, it found a dwelling place in Britain, and at this day it lights up the face of the earth.
2. Next arose philosophy to be the gospel's foe. But though it made terrible inroads for a while on the Church of God, in the form of gnostic heresy, did it really impede the chariot wheels of Christ? The stone from the sling of Christ has smitten the heathen philosophy in the forehead, while the Son of David goes forth conquering and to conquer.
3. After those days there came against the Church of God the determined opposition of the secular power. All that cruelty could do was done; but what was the result? The more the Christians were oppressed, the more they multiplied; the scattering of the coals increased the conflagration.
4. Since that period the Church has been attacked in various modes. The Arian heresy assaulted the deity of Christ, but the Church of God delivered herself from the accursed thing, as Paul shook the viper into the fire. Be of good courage, for brighter days are on the way. There shall come yet greater awakenings, the Lord, the avenger of His Church, shall yet arise, and the stone which the builders disallowed, the same shall be the head stone of the corner.
II. THE CONSEQUENCE OF THIS OPPOSITION TO THE OPPOSERS.
1. When men stumble at the plan of salvation by Christ's sacrificial work, what is it that they stumble at?
(1) Some stumble at the person of Christ. Jesus, they will admit, was a good man, but they cannot accept Him as co-equal and co-eternal with the Father.
(2) Some stumble at His work. Many cannot see how Jesus Christ is become the propitiation for human guilt.
(3) Some stumble at Christ's teaching; and what is it they stumble at in that? Sometimes it is because it is too holy: "Christ is too puritanical, He cuts off our pleasures." But He denies us no pleasure which is not sinful, He multiplies our joys; the things which He denies to us are only joyous in appearance, while His commands are real bliss. We have found some object to the teachings of Christ because they are too humbling. He destroys self-confidence, and He presents salvation to none but those who are lost. "This lays us too low," saith one. Still I have known others object that the gospel is too mysterious, they cannot understand it, they say. While again, from the other corner of the compass, I have heard the objection that it is too plain. Do not cavil at it. What if there be mysteries in it? Canst thou expect to comprehend all that God knoweth? Be thou teachable as a child, and the gospel will be sweet to thee.
(4) We have known some who have stumbled at Christ on account of His people, and truly they have some excuse. They have said, "Look at Christ's followers, see their imperfections and hypocrisies." But wherefore judge a master by his servants?
2. What does the stumbling at Christ cost the ungodly? I answer, it costs them a great deal.
(1) Those who make Him a rock of stumbling are great losers by it in this life. What anger it costs ungodly men to oppose Christ! Some of them cannot let Him alone, they will rage and fume. Concerning Jesus it is true that you must either love or hate Him, He cannot long be indifferent to you, and hence come inward conflicts to opposers.
(2) Ah, what it costs some men when they come to die! If you oppose Him you will be the losers, He will not. Your opposition is utterly futile; like a snake biting a file, you will only break your own teeth.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,