Focal passage: Luke 20:9-19
A man in Idaho walked into a popular restaurant shortly after the Clean Indoor Air Act came into law banning the use of cigarettes in most restaurants. Having made his reservations weeks in advance, the man walked in and waited to be seated.
As he lit a cigarette, ignorant of the new law, a waitress came over and asked him to step outside if he wished to smoke.
“Mind your own business,” the man responded. When the manager arrived, an argument broke out and the man was asked to leave.
The man’s love of cigarettes was his stumbling block. He couldn’t let go long enough to enjoy a meal he had made a reservation for. To an even greater degree, Jesus tells His listeners that He is a stumbling block to many who desire a relationship with God.
Referring to Himself, Jesus says, “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls, it will shatter him” (v. 18). Much more than losing out on a good meal, the results of stumbling over Jesus are disastrous. One Jewish proverb says, “If a stone falls on a pot, woe to the pot! If a pot falls on a stone, woe to the pot! In either case, woe to the pot!” In other words, it is the people who reject Jesus that will end up broken.
God offers salvation through faith in Jesus alone. This central truth turns many away. Even more, Christians themselves stumble over Jesus when failing to imitate His life. When we encounter a teaching too difficult, controversial or uncomfortable, we try to minimize or otherwise escape its potency. Either act is a form of pride.
Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.” How do we avoid stumbling over Jesus and His message? One word: Humility.
When we encounter something difficult in scripture or find the application of a particular text challenging, we must meet the problem with humility. You and I are not the arbiters of truth. When we meet Jesus with humility, we are much more likely to receive Him with joy. The alternative is a life of brokenness.