The Stumbling Stone by Virgil Stripes

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV)

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

This passage speaks about the death of Jesus being folly, and a stumbling block to those who do not believe. But it also says that Jesus’ death is the Power and Wisdom of God for those who are being saved. As I have said before, we humans, especially me, hate to think that there is something that we cannot do. Something that we cannot accomplish. Look at all the technological advances. It is amazing what we can do. Today, you can carry an entire library in your pocket. With the flash drives available, and digital books, I am speaking literally. A library. Maybe not the library of Congress, but a lot of books. Yet with all man’s advancements, we are still caught in the folly of thinking that we can earn God’s love, maybe BECAUSE of our advancements to a certain extent.

So why is Christ’s death a stumbling block? Why is it folly? Because it does not make sense to our limited understanding. Without the illumination of the Holy Spirit, it seems crazy. In Romans, Paul is speaking of his fellow Jews, and why they are being set aside, and Gentiles are being accepted: 9:32-33 (ESV) Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

I don't know about you, but I have no problem walking through areas with lots of rocks. I watch where I put my feet, because the rocks are obvious. Every once in a while, however, I don't see a little one, and my foot catches on it, and I stumble. It is not the big things that trip us up. It is the little things. Jesus is like that. He doesn't make waves in our lives. He walks quietly with us, and serves as our guide, but if we start doing things our own way, He reminds us of which way is right.

Today, let us look to Jesus to light our way. Let His cross be our beacon and guide. Let us rest on His work, and not our own.

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