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God’s Word for You

1 Peter 2:7-8 Our Capstone

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, March 11, 2022

7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Peter reaches back to two more passages: Psalm 118:22 about the capstone, and Isaiah 8:14 about the stumbling stone.

A capstone was pretty new technology when the Psalms were being written. A capstone or keystone is the top element of a stone arch. If it is cut perfectly, with special attention to the difficult angles, it’s possible that the arch may withstand amazing stresses. Some Greek and Roman arches are still standing today after more than two millennia.

The Hebrew expression from Psalm 118 is rosh pinnah, which can be either keystone or “head of the corner,” that is, a capstone placed on top of a wall. Either way, the picture is the same. The Christian church is built on nothing else but Christ, Christ surmounts everything, and only in Christ is there forgiveness and eternal life.

But for many, Christ is a stumbling block. This is the block lying at the foot of the building that the builders give no thought to; they only trip over it and wish it weren’t there. They consider ways to get rid of it. But with Christ, this rejected block is both the foundation and the cap. It is the bottom and the top, and we who put our faith in him are everything in between.

Capstone, keystone; cornerstone. These are figurative titles of Christ. They help us to understand his role and his work as well as our relationship to him. These are distinct from his proper titles.

His proper titles with respect to his divine nature:

According to his divine nature, he is first and foremost “God” (John 20:28), and also “great God” (Titus 2:13), “Jehovah” (Psalm 23:1), “the true God” (1 John 5:20), “Son of God” (Matthew 14:33); “the one and only Son of God” (John 1:14) and “God the one and only” (John 1:18).

His figurative titles with respect to his divine nature:

“The Word” (John 1:1), “the image” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “the radiance of God’s glory” (Hebrews 1:3).

His proper titles with respect to his human nature:

“Human” (Philippians 2:7), “Son of Man” (Mark 2:10), “man” (Romans 5:17), “boy” (Luke 2:43), “child” (Matthew 2:8), “Son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1), “Son of David” (Luke 18:38), “Son of Judah” (Revelation 5:5), “Shiloh” (Genesis 49:10), “the firstborn son of Mary” (Luke 2:7).

His figurative titles with respect to his human nature:

“Seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15), “seed of Abraham” (Galatians 3:16), “seed of Isaac” (Genesis 17:19), “seed of Jacob” (Isaiah 65:9), “seed of David” (Psalm 18:50; Romans 1:3), “fruit of David” (Psalm 132:11), “the Root of Jesse” ( (Isaiah 11:10; Romans 15:12), “a righteous Branch from David’s line” (Jeremiah 33:15).

His proper titles with respect to both natures:

“Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36), “Heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2), “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).

And as Savior, properly:

“Jesus” (‘the Lord saves’ Matthew 1:21), “Christ” (‘anointed’ Matthew 1:16), “Messiah” (‘anointed’ Daniel 9:25; John 1:41), and many others (Savior, Salvation, Mediator, Redeemer, expectation of the nations).

As Savior, figuratively:

“Bridegroom” (Matthew 9:15), “Head” (Colossians 1:18), “Cornerstone” (1 Peter 2:6), “Capstone” (1 Peter 2:7), “Foundation” (1 Corinthians 3:11), “Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16) and others (Rock, Lion, Bread from heaven, Sun, Light, Vine, Book of Life, etc.).

This listing can easily continue with titles concerning his priestly office (Priest, our Chief Priest, Intercessor, Sacrifice, Lamb, Passover Lamb), his prophetic office (Prophet, Great Prophet, Shepherd, Chief Shepherd, Master, Rabbi, Teacher, Apostle,  Minister of circumcision), and his royal office (King, Prince, Prince of Peace, Ruler, Leader, Judge, etc.).

To the image of Christ the rejected stone we may also connect certain figures of the Old Testament that refer to the rock that Moses struck (i.e., rejected) with his staff (Numbers 20:11; Psalm 78:20). This is the Rock from which the living water flowed (1 Corinthians 10:4). It is the Rock or Stone that had seven eyes (the holy perfection of the gifts of the Spirit, Zechariah 3:9). And it is also the Rock that was wounded, for Christ was wounded on our account. In his wounds the doves (faithful souls) find their shelter and hiding place (Song of Solomon 2:14).

The Bible paints many pictures of Jesus for us, so that we will know him and understand the work that he did on our account. The Scriptures reveal to us his divine names and titles, his divine and human attributes, his divine works and accomplishments, and the honor we owe to him as God, honor paid to him by the creation itself (Matthew 2:2,9), by the scholars of his people (Matthew 2:4-6), by ordinary believers (Luke 2:16, 2:25, 2:38), by foreigners (Matthew 2:11), and his divine nature was even revealed when he was despised by his enemies for what he was (Matthew 2:16).

Jesus Christ is truly our God, the foundation upon which we are built, the capstone who holds us all together, and the Savior of us all. Give him glory and thanks with your life. Seek him, praise him, pray to him, and use his name to teach about God’s salvation.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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