“and ‘A stone of stumbling
And a rock of offense.’
They stumble, being disobedient to the word,
to which they also were appointed.”
and ‘A stone of stumbling
The third quotation in this passage is from Isaiah 8:14. This is a passage where Isaiah predicts the Assyrian invasion about to come upon Israel, the northern kingdom. The northern kingdom had made a confederacy with Syria and Samaria. They terrified Judah, the southern kingdom. If the nation repents, God will become a sanctuary to them. If they refuse to repent, this rock will crush them. Peter says that Jesus was that stone; He is that sanctuary (v.12).
And a rock of offense
The “rock” in Palestine was often a loose stone on a path. The picture here is a person traveling a path in the dark (ignorance of the Bible). He stumbles over these loose stones in the course.
“Offense” means to cut against. The cross of Christ offends the non-Christian. It cuts against his bent. The death of Christ as a substitute for sinners offends this bias.
Jesus is either the chief cornerstone or a stone of stumbling.
To Christians, Jesus Christ is the foundation stone, the chief cornerstone, the headstone. To those who rebel against God’s Word, he is a stone of stumbling.
1 Corinthians 1:23-25, “But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
Christ either saves or judges us. Have you tripped over the Savior? We can blame the church or the preacher, but it is ultimately Jesus over whom we stumble. It is offensive to hear that Jesus is the only Savior and that religion cannot save a sinner. It is offensive to hear that we are wretched sinners. We do not want to hear that we are sinners. We do not want to hear that we need a sinner’s Savior. Yet, this is God’s message to us.