Stumbling Stone

A person can mention the name of most any person of history, and a friendly discussion may begin. Let someone mention the name of Jesus Christ; and immediately, the conversation will turn silent and all eyes and ears will be upon the one who mentioned His name.

The name of Jesus and what He stands for has an immediate polarizing effect upon people. Either they love Him or they hate Him. He is either deeply revered or greatly scorned and ridiculed.

Why is Jesus hated so vehemently? Because He reminds people that they are sinners. Most people do not want to be told that they need a Savior. To even imply that a person is deficient in his moral life is offensive and causes anger.

The reason that the world hates Jesus Christ is because He has a claim upon our life that demands an answer. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. To acknowledge this truth is to admit that we have a problem. For a majority of people, this is an insult to their pride and self-worth and an impossible fact to acknowledge.

There is no middle ground with Jesus. Either we are with Him, or we are against Him. Jesus said that there is no grey area, no neutral place that is acceptable to Him. Either we make a decision for Him, or we are in opposition to Him. Jesus said that no decision is the same as rejecting Him.

Luke 11:23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

Jesus Was Not the Messiah the Jews wanted

By the time that Jesus stood before the people of Israel as their long-awaited King, the Jews had been under the tyranny of the Romans for close to 100 years. In spite of their long outcry to God for deliverance and the hope of a Messiah who would overthrow the Roman government—when their King arrives, they will not receive Him. The Jews wanted a conquering king, not a suffering and dying Servant.

Seven hundred years before Jesus arrived at Jerusalem, he prophesied that the Messiah shall be a stumbling stone for the religious leaders of Israel.

Isaiah 8:14 He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

New Testament Fulfillment:

1 Peter 2:3-8 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

Unwanted:

It is a fact that people stumble over Jesus, more than any other person in history. There can be a discussion about the Dali Lama, Buddha, or Krishna, and people will be able to calmly exchange ideas and opinions without a conflict arising. Let a person speak the name of Jesus Christ, and the assembly will immediately turn silent: Some will walk away, others will become indignant..

Why is the name and the person of Jesus Christ so inflammatory?

John 7:7 (Jesus speaking) The world …hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

The world feels threatened by the presence and reality of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, as recorded by history. If Jesus is a real person who came to die for the sins of the world, then His presence on earth spells doom for those who love their sins. Beginning with John the Baptist who called men and women to repent and prepare themselves for the coming of the kingdom of God, Jesus said that unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

Jesus’ presence here on earth means that we are all declared sinners by God, who must repent and turn to Jesus Christ, who claimed to be the only way to heaven.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

The Jews stumble over Jesus because He claimed to be The Son of God. They do not believe that the Messiah will be God’s Son, only an ordinary man.[1]

Jesus asked the Pharisees how the Messiah could be the son of David and still be called by David Lord.

Matthew 22:42-46 (Jesus) saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

David described the Messiah as both his son (a future descendant) and Lord (his God). What confounded the Pharisees is that David clearly defined the Messiah as both God and man. The Jews understood this to be true, but they did not fully comprehend its meaning, nor accept it.

The scriptures are clear

How is it that many Jews misunderstand that the Messiah must be the Son of God? This may be due to the fact that their belief originated from someone who told them that the Messiah would not be the Son of God. Many people believe many things without ever having investigated the facts for themselves. When a person is a sincere seeker of truth, he will always be intellectually honest enough to consider the facts from all sides, even if those facts conflict with what he holds to be sacred or traditional.

For three years, Jesus did not allow Himself to be proclaimed as the Messiah, until the precise moment required by the Old Testament prophecies. Psalm 118 speaks of one specific day in the history of the world when God would announce the arrival of His Son.

Psalms 118:24 This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Many times, if we wake up on a particularly beautiful morning, we might look outside and say: “This is the Day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it…”

That would be perfectly appropriate; but, this was not the reason that David wrote Psalm 118:24. This verse of prophetic scripture was written for one specific day in all of time and eternity. It was written for the day that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem. See the chapter: Arriving on One Day.

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple…”

No other day in history was designated by God as, This is the Day that the Lord has made. Only the specific day when the Messiah was designated to arrive in Jerusalem would Psalm 118:24 be shouted. The people who were declaring, This is the Day that the Lord has made, knew what they were doing. They believed that Jesus was the One who was fulfilling the Prophecies of the Messiah.

According to “About judaism.about.com,” Jesus did not meet the requirements of the Messiah. The following is the text from their web site, describing the reasons for their rejection of Jesus:[2]

“According to Jewish scripture and belief, the true Messiah (pronounced ‘moshiach’ in Hebrew) must meet the following requirements. He must:”

• Be an observant Jewish man descended from the house of King David.
• Be an ordinary human being (as opposed to the Son of God).
• Bring peace to the world.
• Gather all Jews back into Israel.
• Rebuild the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.
• Unite humanity in the worship of the Jewish God and Torah observance.

Because Jesus did not meet these requirements, from the Jewish perspective, He was not the Messiah.

As you go through each of the prophecies from this book, you will discover that Jesus met all of the requirements above and hundreds of additional requirements stated in the Old Testament. The exception would be that the above point which states that the Messiah will not be the Son of God. This is incorrect, as proven by the following prophecies which declare that the Messiah will be the Son of God and the Son of David.

It is interesting that the last four of these requirements of the Jews, as described above, will be fulfilled by the antichrist who will come at the beginning of a seven-year peace treaty between Israel and the surrounding nations (See the chapter: 70 weeks for Israel). At first, the Jews will accept this new leader as their Messiah specifically because he will meet the requirements that the Jews have today, as they understand the Messiah.

Jesus predicted that during the beginning of the seven year Tribulation, the Jews would accept this new world ruler who comes in his own name, while they would not receive Him when He came in the name of His Father.

John 5:43 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. (ESV)

The antichrist will make peace for Israel for seven years, and allow them to rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount. This will be sufficient to convince the majority of Jews in Israel that this new leader is their Messiah.

At the mid-way point of the seven years of peace, the antichrist will command Israel and the whole world to worship him as “God.” The Jews will flee Jerusalem for the wilderness, very likely, the Rock city of Petra. See the chapter: The Branch, for details.

The Jews continue to stumble over Jesus as their Messiah to the present day, which is the subject of this prophecy. See the chapter: Rejected By Israel, for a detailed study on the Jews’ rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.


[1] The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia on Jesus of Nazareth.
[2] http://judaism.about.com/od/judaismbasics/a/Jewish-View-Of-Jesus.htm