Stumbling Block (2 of 2)

stumbling blocks 9

(Continued from yesterday)

But the greater problem the Jews had, in addition to stumbling over Christ, is that they set up their own stumbling block of iniquity:
Ezk 7:19 … for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling.
• Ezk 14:3-4 “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? Therefore speak to them and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, …
• Ezk 14:7 For anyone of the house of Israel or of the immigrants who stay in Israel who separates himself from Me, sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, …
• Ezk 18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you.
• Ezk 44:12 Because they ministered to them before their idols and became a stumbling block of iniquity to the house of Israel, therefore I have sworn against them,” declares the Lord GOD, “that they shall bear the punishment for their iniquity.

Synonymous terms include lawlessness, and immorality:
Mt 13:41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
• Rev 2:14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.

So the Jews stumbled over their own idolatry and iniquity, which separated them from God:
Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.

Beware of stumbling blocks, and make sure you are not a stumbling block to others.

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Stumbling Block (1 of 2)

stumbling blocks 10

Q. Why is Jesus a stumbling block to Jews in 1 Co 1:23 “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness”? Didn’t God want His chosen people saved?

A. God wants His chosen people saved, but on His terms, not theirs. In Jesus’ days the Jewish expectation of the Messiah (the Christ, the anointed one) was that He will be a mighty conqueror, overthrowing the Romans and restoring the kingdom to Israel:
Mk 1:7 And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. (Also Lk 3:16; Acts 13:25)
• Acts 1:6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

They were looking for a military deliverer, similar to the judges in OT times, only greater. Jesus, however, was gentle and humble in heart (Mt 11:29) and did not fit their expectation, so they stumbled over Him.

Secondly, the Jews were pursuing a law of righteousness (Rom 9:31) i.e. they were trying to establish their own righteousness by works. They did not pursue righteousness by faith, so they stumbled over the stone of stumbling and rock of offense i.e. Christ:
Rom 9:32-33 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
• 1 Pet 2:8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

They stumbled because they were disobedient to the word, which says “the righteous will live by his faith” (Hab 2:4).

In summary, Jesus is a stumbling block to Jews because their preconceived notions about the Messiah prejudiced them, and their pride led them to perform to save themselves instead of trusting in the cross.

(To be continued)