As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
In this passage in Romans 9, starting with verse 30, Paul concludes the chapter with a comparison of believing Gentiles and unbelieving Jews. The Gentiles obtained righteousness because they trusted in the Messiah; the Jews stumbled over the Messiah and were rejected by God. Israel stumbled because they refused to recognize the fulfillment of the law in Jesus Christ.
In both the New and Old Testament, we find many references to a “stone.”
The stone references in the Old Testament point to the Christ of the New Testament. The Jews were looking for a triumphant king to come as the Messiah, so the most significant place of their stumbling was the cross. They were looking for a king to set them free from Roman domination, not a man who called Himself “king of the Jews” and yet died on a cross.
Today we can still fall prey to stumbling over Christ. In examining Romans 10:2, we read that the Jews had a zeal not based on knowledge. We can have misdirected zeal that is not based on the knowledge of God’s Word or His saving grace. As believers, we can stumble by trying to please God through works. Unbelievers stumble because their knowledge of the work of the cross is incomplete. The Jews, not knowing the righteousness that comes from God, sought to establish their own righteousness based on the law.
Are there “laws” you have imposed on yourself that keep you from accepting Christ as your Savior? Are there “laws” you have imposed on yourself that keep you from surrendering to Christ as “Lord”?
I sometimes have self-imposed laws that have caused me to stumble. I have set expectations for myself that You never placed on me, and it has led me to believe that I must be in control of my life. Forgive me for stumbling over Your grace. Help me to surrender my will.
In Jesus’ name, Amen