Rock of Offense & Stone of Stumbling
Rock of Offense
Any person that causes division and hedges up the way of others is a rock of offense.
When a person strikes his or her foot against a rock in his or her path, it is definitely an offensive object at the time--at least until the memory of pain has left the victim.
The same goes for any person who stops the progress of someone causing him or her to fail.
The first estimation in the minds of any reader would be that such a person is wrong to become a rock of offense or a tool of failure to anyone.
However, Christians are familiar with these things being said of Jesus Christ. He is an offensive person to many, and He will give a person a failing grade in a heartbeat. Though it does not sound very Christ-like, Jesus is a divisive individual, and He is so on purpose.
Jesus is offensive according to scripture, and He deliberately sets traps to cause failure! Why would He, the Savior of the world, and redeemer of all humanity cause offense and failure?
Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. (Matthew 13:57)
Scripture teaches that the wicked take the truth to be hard and are offended by it. Nephi, a prophet from the Ancient Americas wrote:
I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, theguilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. (Nephi 16:2)
The brothers of Nephi, Laman, and Lemuel are the epitome of offense at the words of their father, Lehi. The truths that he taught and that Nephi taught caused them to shake and tremble with rage until the point where their thoughts and intentions became murderous!
When Jesus spoke to the people, particularly the Jewish leaders at Jerusalem and other places, they also became incensed at His words of truth, which despised their lack of inspiration.
Of course, they were offended! Jesus wanted them to change their lives and culture. They were comfortable, within that culture. They did not want to make any changes; therefore, He offended them.
Jesus Christ Challenged generations of tradition and interpretation of the Law of Moses. Jesus claimed to fulfill that law immediately destroying the economic, social, and political culture of Jewish life! So Yes, Jesus is offensive--to the wicked!
Stone of Stumbling
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23)
First, how was the teaching of the Crucifixion a stumbling-block to the Jews--and by Jews, the leaders. Think of the word stumbling-block as a point of contention instead. The leaders of the Jewish communities in and at Jerusalem could not reconcile what they had been taught all of their lives about the coming Messiah and the man that they had assented to dying on the cross, Jesus.
Jesus was no savior to them!
They were still under the oppression of Rome! They were not a free nation as Israel had been in the past. The Jewish leaders of that time were expecting God of War to break off the shackles of Israel's enemies!
Where was this in Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph's boy? He was not even a king!
That is why the Jewish leaders stumbled and could not see past their own prejudice. Culture makes the best person stumble if that person allows it to rule his or her life as most people do.
Jesus is a stumbling-block to many because many cannot get past a point of contention in the doctrines. People cannot accept the virgin birth. People cannot accept life after death. Whatever the point of contention, it becomes a block of stumbling or a dam that prevents the stumblers from moving forward.
Stones of Stepping
Instead of stumbling on points of doctrine that may destroy cultural beliefs or preconceptions of what may have been thought, why not stand on the stones as testimonies of faith in spite of those strong-held cultural beliefs?
A stone of stumbling could have existed for Black members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when at one time they were not allowed to hold the priesthood officially as other male members of the church could.
There was no explicit explanation for this discrimination per se other than perceived racism. This did not become a stone of stumbling for many of the faithful members of the church affected by the ban. Instead, these people focused on the things that made a path toward their goal: A Christ-like Life.
When things occurring in their faith caused pause due to whatever reason, it is natural for people to want to question.
It is not necessary, however, to question all things because of one thing that may not have a bearing on salvation—whether or not all blessings will be available.
God is the source of information when all else fails. If He has revealed that the principles of the gospel are true, then no manner of historical or perceived scientific fact that suggests otherwise should cause abandonment of faith; however, neither should such a fact be ignored.
It should be an opportunity for faithful people to explore their depth of faith personally, and investigate the claim honestly.
Elder Dieter F. Uctdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in the October 2013 General Conference of the church,
It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.
Whether people stumble or not, the truth remains the same. Those who stumble may continue to go over the same path in life that causes them to fall or walk around that area and follow the parts of the path that they know to be smooth with the hope to find a way to use the stone of stumbling as a stepping stone.
Rock of Foundation
What do You say!!
Is it reasonable to believe that Jesus Christ is Truly a sure foundation to model your life after?
In a primary song sung by children in The Church of Jesus Christ, it reads "The wise man built his house upon the rock...!"
Wisdom here states that it is profitable to build on a solid foundation. Instead of Jesus being a rock of offense, He can be a sure foundation. Instead of offense, support!
Why should Jesus be the foundation of faith and life for people?
Many Christians and non-Christians may have this question in mind. Those who have not thought about the question will give a quick, thoughtless response rebuking the asker; however, it is a legitimate question to ask. There are other great teachers in the world on whose teachings lives can be based.
The difference with Jesus Christ is the claims that He makes.
For those who do not believe the scriptures who read this article, the references posted will have little merit; however, included are some scriptural references related to what is written:
JESUS claims that there is a God in heaven who is His Father--actually sired Him!
...for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but HE sent me.... (John 8:42)
...Jesus answered, If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing: it is My FATHER that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God.... (John 8:54)
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God. (John 20:17)
I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as will believe on My name, that they may become the sons of God, even one in Me as I am one in the FATHER, as the FATHER is one in Me, that we may be one. (Doctrine and Covenants 35:2)
He claims that because of this relationship, He has developed unique gifts to overcome the world or resist sin; therefore, having no sin of His own with which to worry.
Behold, I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of My Spirit have spoken it. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants 18:7)
...Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of My friends. I am He who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God. (Doctrine and Covenants 45:52)
Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:36)
He claims that He is the only person given under heaven to redeem man as was instructed of Him by God.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the FATHER, but by Me. (John 14:6)
He claims that all people can speak to this God and have personal communion with Him if they pray in His Name or "...in the name of Jesus Christ."
...And whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the FATHER may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14)
...For the FATHER HIMSELF loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.... (John 16:27)
He claims to have prepared a place for those that love Him where they may share in eternal glory with Him as equals with God--joint-heirs.
...In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)
...Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phillipian 2:4-11)
...He shall glorify Me: for HE shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the FATHER hath are Mine: therefore said I, that HE shall take of Mine, and shall shew it unto you... (John 16:14-15)
Jesus is the best foundation
...because His claims are evident in the lives of the people who live all of His teachings.
If the basis of a person's faith is what Christ teaches, then that person will never have to worry about misbehaving and offending the God of Jesus.
The most important teaching of Jesus Christ is that of Repentance.
Because Christ suffered for the sins of all people, He has paid the debt or the wages of sin, which is death. Death had no right to keep Him, so He took up His body again and provided the same opportunity for all mankind--because the wages of sin was paid for all.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ for the sins and hurts of humanity is a complex subject that cannot be spoken of lightly. It is so profound that Jesus has felt every hurt and pain or every joy and rejoicing that each human has in those moments in Gethsemane to make Him intimately personal to each living person.
He asks in return that all people repent and follow Him and receive a reward for so doing. To follow Him is to be kind, loving, meek, humble, easy to entreat--be a foundation of charity as is He.
© 2014 Rodric Anthony Johnson