1 Peter 2:4-5
A Spiritual House
Judaism was centered around the temple in Jerusalem, which under the old covenant was exactly as it should be. During their exile, the Jews developed synagogues to meet locally, but the temple remained the focal point of worship as Jews gathered there for the festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. And according to the Law, the temple was the only place allowed for sacrifices, a major part of Jewish worship.
That was then. The temple and the sacrifices were types which foreshadowed the good things which were to come with Christ Jesus (Hebrews 10:1). Indeed, after his death, resurrection, and ascension, the temple itself was swept away by the Romans in A.D. 70 and has never been rebuilt nor have the sacrifices resumed, all foretold by Jesus (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21).
And why is this? Because God was going to build a new temple of which the first was a mere copy. And this temple would be made not of stones which composed the first temple, massive though they were, but of those born again of the imperishable seed, and all of them built upon a stone that can never be moved: The Living Stone and Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. This temple is the fulfillment of the first, to which the first pointed.
But let us think on the stones. These are stones because they come to the Living Stone, which though rejected by men is chosen and precious to God—and to us. And having come to this Living Stone, we are built up in him as a living temple not made with hands but by the will of God. In contrast to the old temple, this temple is alive! And though many, it is one temple, for each stone is enlivened by the one Living Stone.
And what is the task of these stones: “To be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Every believer is a priest offering sacrifices of praise, service, and if need be, our very bodies for his glory (Romans 12:1-2). And we are priests to one another by praying for one another, interceding, and encouraging one another. And the local church is a microcosm of this great spiritual house.
We must always remember that this temple stands because of the Living Stone. So let is cling to him, be at peace with one another, and fulfill our priestly service on behalf of one another and the world.