“So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” (1 Peter 2:7–8, ESV)
Most everyone has had an experience where they tripped over something. You are casually walking along enjoying the scenery when your toe hits something on the ground and you fall down. The issue was that you did not see it or consider it as a problem.
I had a similar experience some years ago, while getting wood for our wood burning heater. It was a cold winter day and I was collecting more wood from our woodpile. I covered the pile with a tarp and tied the corners to some posts with a rope. As I began taking down pieces of wood and putting them into a wheelbarrow, I backed up without considering the rope behind me. It caused me to stumble and fall backwards. The ground that I fell upon was frozen solid. The result was disastrous. In bracing myself for the fall, I fractured my left wrist and bent a titanium plate that was in my wrist from a previous fracture. Yes, there was much pain, an emergency room visit, surgery to repair tendons shredded by the bent plate, and rehab. The results of a simple stumble can be devastating.
Peter continues with the metaphor of the church as a building with a cornerstone. He quotes passages from the Old Testament (v6-8; Is 8:14; 28:16; Ps 118:22) to illustrate the problem of unbelief. Consider the nation of Israel. As a whole they nationally rejected their Messiah, Jesus. God had sent them a precious stone, a cornerstone. If the nation would have believed their own Scriptures, the Old Testament, testimony regarding the Messiah, they would have received Jesus. Yet, apart from a remnant of Jews who believed, the nation rejected Jesus. Those who believed in Jesus will never be put to shame (v6) and experienced honor. However, those who rejected Jesus would experience dishonor.
Those who rejected Jesus saw Him “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” However, those who believed Jesus experience Him as a rock of honor. This truth is not just for the nation of Israel. It is for all, both Jew and Gentile. Those who reject Jesus, who do not obey the message of the gospel by trusting in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation see Jesus as a “rock of offense.” They stumble over the truth and the results are devastating for the result is eternal punishment. Yet those who do trust in Jesus experience the blessings of salvation and great honor as citizens of heaven and children of God.