Luke 7-23 “And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over me”.
You get the picture – in 1 Peter 2-8 it says “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”. See also Romans 9-33 and Isaiah 8-14.
The religious leaders, the Pharisees, had a great problem with Jesus. To them he was a stumbling block and a rock of offense.
He was placed in their path where he became an obstruction to their clear passageway, he was a nuisance that caused them to deviate from their comfortable view of themselves and their life.
They were annoyed that he caused them trouble and “gave them grief”. He was a problem because he upset their plain sailing towards the Kingdom of God. He wanted them to see themselves as IN the Kingdom, rather than progressing towards it. To one person he said “you are very near the Kingdom of God”.
But it is easier to be on the path towards the kingdom than to consider that you are IN it. To be IN it means you have to comply with the image and expectation it presents. And if you are operating from the flesh then this is impossible.
In the flesh there are all kinds of reasons and excuses to be found as to why you are on the way there rather than being there. The offense was in being confronted by the kingdom [in the form of Jesus] rather than viewing it from a book or manuscript, where it could remain abstract. Even the excuse of a father’s funeral was unacceptable in Jesus’ eyes. We have many excuses.
After the resurrection it was made plain that what Jesus had done, meant there were no longer any excuses left for considering oneself as being unsuitable for acceptance into the Kingdom. And this was the point of course. To now deny him was to deny every value and worthwhile thing that their religious viewpoint supposedly presented and represented because it was all fulfilled in him. It was only left for us/them to say “thanks” and to move into that which he has given us. [the Pharisees couldn’t do that] [To now deny him was to make oneself “unsuitable”.] [by the denial of love and forgiveness].
In the flesh we may be constantly stumbling over him, constantly making excuses as to why we are not “there” yet, when there are NO excuses, because he has already given us the “there”. The problem lies in DECLARING we are “there”, not just with the mouth although that is important, but also with our lives. This is because our heart has not yet been convinced, is still holding out, has not been fully confronted with the reality of Jesus as “stumbling block”.
Only as we admit that we ARE stumbling, will we be forced to confront the true issues in our lives that prevent us from “taking hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”. (Phil 3-12)
[Our true selves are in him and in what he has done for us. Outside of this lies the deception. We need to stop being deceived.] [To confess to being “there” means we are confessing to him enabling us to be “there”, and this involves “the offense”. That another had to do it for us] [We have to give up our autonomy]. [yes Paul did say about pressing on towards it but I will claim context on that one] [“there” can mean the start as well as the end].