The Stumbling Stone
Christ, the Stumbling Block of Offense
“But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
1 Corinthians 1:22-24
Why is Christ a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks? Why does He continue to offend some, and draw ridicule from others to this day? The good news of Christ crucified is so contrary to the way people think that they can do nothing short of criticizing it.
Not What They Were Expecting
The Jews were anticipating a messiah who would be their political savior. Liberation from the Rome was their chief desire, and when Christ gave Himself up to be crucified without a struggle, they regarded His message of salvation as a scandal. His message and ministry were so opposite to what they were looking for in a messiah that they rejected Him outright.
Not What They Seek
As for the Greeks, the prevailing philosophies at the time were split into two groups. The Epicureans believed that the goal in life was pleasing oneself. This meant avoiding pain by any means necessary. The idea that Christ was obedient to the death of the cross, never seeking to do His will but the will of His Father, stood in stark contrast to this philosophy. The Stoics were no better, for their philosophy stated that the ideal wise man was calm and passionless, showing little emotion. In the garden of Gethsemane, the Lord was in agony and incredibly sorrowful. When He was on the cross, the Lord cried out to His Father “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The Stoics would not have considered Christ’s passion to a mark of wisdom.
Power and Wisdom Personified
Some people in the world are seeking after a political leader to save them; some are looking for a wise philosopher to improve their life. It is true that Christ will one day be a great political leader, and will establish His reign on Earth, but He is so much more than that. The values and ethics that Christ taught & lived are higher than any philosophical teaching this world has seen, but again, He is more than a teacher.
To us, the called out ones, Christ is the crucified one. In the crucified one, we see the power of God. Power to raise one from the dead, just as Christ rose out of the tomb. In the crucified one, we see the wisdom of God. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Rock that causes others to stumble is to us power, wisdom, knowledge, and Savior.