I am impressed with how Peter seeks to provide a mental apparatus for his readers on how to cope with opposition to Jesus and the Church. They are to be nourished by feasting on the Lord (1 Pet 2:3), and now Peter says that the Lord on whom they are to be nourished is:
1. A living stone.
2. Rejected by others.
3. Precious with God.
Resident aliens and temporary residents who are powerless have need for this message, and Peter brings the gospel to bear on just this sort of person. The Jesus on whom they are feasting is alive and well (this leads us back to the resurrection of 1:3-5), but he was rejected by “men”. This has got to be meaningful for Peter’s readers: alive and well, Jesus is, but he was rejected, just as they are being rejected.
And the reason they can take hope in this is because they are “preciously elected” with God (1:4). Peter told his readers that they, too, are the elect of God (1:1). Elect in Christ is the category: they are elect because they are “in” the one who is Elect. (I’m not skirting Calvinism here, nor am I disagreeing with it, I’m seeing election in incorporative terms.)
The image is this one: as builders sort through rocks and find ones they like and others they don’t like, and reject some rocks and like some rocks, so the Christians of Asia Minor are like Jesus: as he was sorted and rejected by humans but sorted and chosen by God, so they are sorted and rejected by their world but sorted and chosen by God.
Peter’s strategy for emerging theology and emerging churches in Asia Minor is to connect things to Jesus Christ.