Church Rock or Stumbling Block


Opposites, contrasts, or contradictions abound in our lives. Right now, it is really dark in the room where I am. In fact, the only light sources are the computer screen and the numbers from a clock, but if I were to turn the lights on, the entire room would be filled with light. I spent some time yesterday communicating with a friend who had lost several pregnancies. Understandably in those times, she was really hurt about those losses, but the pictures she sent me yesterday were filled with HUGE smiles from her, her husband and their beautiful baby. No matter who, we are we experience highs and lows in our lives.

That too is a reality in our spiritual lives. Peter who walked on water also sank. He knew Jesus intimately but also denied knowing Jesus. Peter is a prime example of the spiritual contrasts. Peter, along with us, are also the object of today’s post – Church Rock or Stumbling Block. In John 21, we see that contrast unfold in Peter’s life. After Peter had denied knowing Jesus, Jesus reaffirms Peter as His guy, His disciple, His leader, His rock (petra) upon which Christ would build His church (ekklēsia), but let’s remember that GodHead is the true rock of salvation. Listen to the Word of the Lord. Peter had denied knowing Jesus as Jesus went to the cross. Naturally, he felt ashamed that He let Jesus down. I am sure we can all relate to that emotion and experience, but when Jesus reaffirms Him as the rock, a contrast occurs. I am sure that Peter was elated that Jesus again expressed confidence in him as one who would help build His victorious church.

In Matthew 16, Jesus said this about Peter you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Imagine Jesus telling you that? Wouldn’t you feel great value and pride that God would use you to build His church? It is here that we see another contrast unfold. God incarnate had told Peter that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Now right after that, Jesus tells the disciples of His imminent suffering, death and resurrection. Peter did not hear the part about the resurrection and understandably so. We are much more acquainted with suffering and death. When Peter heard Jesus say he would suffer and die, “22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Then, “23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.””

Peter, in a short period of time, had gone from Church Rock or Stumbling Block. How could Peter experience such an affirmation of having Jesus tell him that He would use Peter to build His church which would prevail against satan and all of his minions then hear such denunciation? How? Just as we all do. We take the focus off of what God has proclaimed directing it toward our own desires, cares or fears. Jesus had just told the disciples that He must suffer, die and rise in order to bring about God’s will then Peter says no Lord. Those two words, no Lord, should never be put together. By definition, they are a spiritual contrast or contradiction which have no place in the Kingdom of God. This is why Jesus tells Peter that “You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

What determines whether one is a Church Rock or Stumbling Block? Jesus defines it for us in His Word. When we do not have the concerns of God in mind, we become a stumbling block to Him. Mere human concerns are not God’s primary focus. His concerns are His primary focus. Mere means being nothing more nor better than. In comparison to the concerns of God, our concerns are nothing nor better than. When our concerns reign supreme, we are nothing more than idolators which assumes the place of God in our lives, and we are no god. By our obedience, we can become a church rock or should I say building block or stone. Through Peter, God too has told us about being used to build His church. There God affirms us as stones to be used to build His Kingdom. He also reveals another spiritual contrast. We who are unholy and being rejected by many on this earth are told “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” HALLELUJAH.

Which will it be for you a Church Rock or Stumbling Block? Let God turn on the lights to fill your entire heart and mind with His marvelous light.

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