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The stone of stumbling
The phrase “the stone of stumbling” was mentioned by the apostle Paul who quoted Isaiah 8:14 with reference to Christ. He wrote, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 9:33). In this passage, Paul stressed the sure trust that comes to the one who places his faith in Christ.
Also, the apostle Peter gave a more detailed application of this same concept when he wrote, “Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” and “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Peter 2:6–8).
Clearly, the above passages describe two classes of people—those to whom Christ is a cause of offense, and those to whom He is the cornerstone of their faith (Psalms 118:22; Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11). The deciding factor lies with men.
Christ – the chief cornerstone
Interestingly, during the erection of Solomon’s Temple, no place could be found for a certain great stone cut at the quarry and moved to the site of the Temple. For a long period of time, this stone was in the way of the builders and they rejected it. Finally, it was found that this was the most important stone of the whole building as it became the cornerstone. And it was put in its key position.
Jesus pointed to Himself as the Rock when He said, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (Matthew 21:42–44 also Mark 12:10). In this passage, the Lord quoted Psalms 118:22, 23.
In His humiliation, Christ was hated and rejected, but in His glorification, He has become the head of all things both in heaven and in earth. For the Father has put all things under His feet, and gave Him authority over all things (Ephesians 1:22).
The Jew’s rejection to Christ
Shockingly, Judaism rejected Jesus the Cornerstone. The Jewish nation looked upon Him and didn’t find the qualities they desired in the Messiah, and therefore despised Him as the Savior. Further, they were so displeased at His message of righteousness by faith that they murdered the One who had come to fulfill their deepest hopes for happiness (John 3:19). And they rejected the very “Way” by which the Creator planned to save them (John 14:6).
Thus, to the ones that did not accept Christ, He became a stone of stumbling and offense. For He was continually in their way, keeping them from carrying on their own wicked plans. The very Stone over which they stumbled was none other than the Cornerstone of heaven itself.
Christ came to be man’s mediator to God (1 Timothy 2:5). He came to offer His peace (John 14:27) and everlasting joy (Romans 15:13). But when men refuse to accept His love, He becomes a stone of stumbling to them. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
However, how much of the wicked may despise Christ, true believers consider it an honor to be His children. The obedient will never feel ashamed, for they are “living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2: 5).
Christ is the most important Stone in God’s building – the church (Luke 20:17). He is the One that lines up the foundation and the superstructure and fastens the walls together (Ephesians 2:20). And because God has so highly honored Christ, it is unwise for people to turn their backs on Him (Hosea 4:6; Jeremiah 15:6).
In His service,