THE ROCK OF OFFENSE.
Looking carefully into the Bible, one of the symbols used for God and also for Christ is the Rock. So every time you see Rock instead of rock, it means that word refers to Someone and not something, actually Someone stronger than the strongest of the rocks and the Creator of all rocks. Worthy of note is the fact that these symbols come in diverse ways. In Dt. 32:15, 2 Sam. 22:47 and Psa. 95:1, He is Rock of his salvation, my salvation and our salvation respectively. Others references are, Rock of Israel- 2 Sam. 23:3, Rock of Refuge- Psa. 31:2, 94:22, Rock of your stronghold- Isa. 17:10 and the Spiritual Rock- 1 Cor. 10:4. 1 Cor. 10:4 makes it clear that Jesus Christ is that Rock. But nothing moves me like the description of Jesus as the Rock of offense as we found in our today’s passage. (Rom. 9:33) Let no one misconstrue this as Paul’s creation. Paul actually quoted from the Old Testament- Isa. 8:14.
(A) THE ROCK OF OFFENSE-Rom. 9:33-This is a description that should set every heart tingling. Paul while relating why many Israelites missed their Salvation stated that they pursued salvation not on God’s own terms, but made their own standards and based on this they stumbled. What was missing in their pursuit was faith and they stumbled at the Stone/Rock that was meant to save them. What an irony?(vs.32) So what God established as a blessing could become a curse. It all depends on our response to Divine establishments. Let us look at how Isaiah rendered it. ( Isa. 28:16, Isa. 8:11-16) May you not stumble at the Rock. It is dangerous to do so.
( B ) THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS-
In our passage, it is very clear that there are mysteries when it comes to the nature of Jesus Christ.
1. The Corner Stone is the Stumbling Stone. (1 Pet. 2:6-8)
2. The Rock of Refuge is the Rock of Offense-( Psa. 94:22, Rom. 9:33) Every man’s refuge is in Jesus. He is the Rock of refuge to which every man must flee to be safe. But He is also the Rock of offense. The Greek word for offense here is “scandalon” which means the trigger of a trap, a snare, any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall (a stumbling block) In other words, He is the Rock of collision. Hear what Jesus Himself said about the Rock. (Matt. 21:42-44) May what God has purposed for you not be given to another. Amen.
No doubt, that which is a greatest blessing when rightly used may become a curse when abused. Fire and water are among our greatest blessings, but if a man will jump into a blazing furnace or into a seething flood, it will be to his destruction. Steam engines have multiplied the comforts of life! But if a man will rush into machinery in full motion, all the world’s comforts will in one moment cease to be comforts available to him. The same principle holds in relation of Jesus to men. If we approach Him aright, He will prove a Sanctuary, but if we insist on going on as if He were not in existence at all then He will be a Rock of dreadful collision, and anyone who will rush upon Him will be broken and ruined. The Rock will remain uninjured; but such will fall and be broken. But there is the sweet addition to this warning, “Whosoever believeth on Him,” the Rock of Ages, “shall not be ashamed.” The goodnews is that Jesus in not only the Rock of Offense, but He is the Rock of offense that makes one not to be ashamed. Isa 28:16 says “shall not act hastily/shall not make haste.” The idea is the same in both. To “make haste” was to be in the hurry of fear, as when a refuge breaks down before a foe. One who makes haste often is; to be agitated with fear or fright. The meaning here is, that the man who believes in Jesus shall not be agitated, or thrown into commotion, by fear of want or success. He shall not be in haste, he shall not live in fear and of course, he shall never be ashamed that he became a Christian. They who do not believe in Christ shall be agitated, fall, and sink into eternal shame and contempt. The difference in the mysteries of the personality of Jesus is a matter of faith. (Rom. 9:32) Believe in Jesus today and He will not be a rock of offense to you, but your Rock of salvation. You will not be put to shame. It is time to put our total trust in Christ, the Rock of offense and also the Rock of Salvation. Shalom.
Rev. Israel Kristilere.(PhD)