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Jesus Creed

I have been puzzled more than once why Peter overloads on “spirituality” in 1 Peter 2:5. Here are his words in the NRSV:

“like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”


Peter could be just glorying theologically in a privilege: as Christians, they are a spiritual communal reality.
Peter could be critiquing the Temple system: as Christians, they replace or supersede or fulfill the Temple worship system.
Peter could be providing an alternative reality to the reality his churches know: as Christians, they can take security in their spiritual reality (in Christ) in spite of the harsh rejection they are experiencing in the world at the hand of Romans.
I suspect we should begin from the bottom of this list and move upwards: the third option is probably the rock-bottom reality. They are living stones, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, and they offer spiritual sacrifices. This is a heavy use of metaphor.
The bottom-level reality is that Peter has re-defined Temple and therefore re-defined worship and, in the process, has re-defined Israel. If there is anything genuinely emerging in the development from Jesus to the end of the NT (and up to the Nicene Creed) it is right here: Israel gets re-defined by Jesus Christ, and Israel is now those who have faith in Jesus and who live in the Spirit.
I don’t know that one can say how far one is to go in this redefinition business, and whether each generation has to redefine itself anew. But, I do know this: the creative impulse of Peter is that capacity to see the resident aliens and temporary residents of Asia Minor, and any others who cared to follow Jesus with him, as Israel redefined, as the new community of God now centered on Jesus. The creativity here is that even that most hallowed of places, the Temple in Jerusalem, has been redefined by feasting on the Lord Jesus.

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