“He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Matthew 21:44
In our passage today Jesus speaks about Himself as this skandalon. If we fall on Him we will be broken to pieces; but if we don’t fall on Him we will be crushed. Either way we are going to get broken. The first part of our text shows us that if we stumble because of Christ and are broken, then we are in a position where we can be made truly whole. Our breaking down becomes our building up, and when we sincerely come to Jesus in faith this is what happens. The breaking becomes the occasion for faith.
The second part of our text speaks of judgement. There are those who will never respond in faith to their fall over that stone. These are the ones who say, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ (John 6:60). They may even recognize there is no other place to go, but they still hang on to their own lives and are thus crushed.
During a sermon I once heard, the preacher made this remark: ‘The gospel contains “good” news and “bad” news.’ He went on to explain that there are attractive parts and less attractive parts. But he failed to explain that there is a reason for those less attractive parts of the gospel : they challenge us to deeper discipleship. Indeed, I have a difficulty with Christians who refer to the tough sayings of Jesus as ‘bad news’. If they choose to use that expression then I just wish they would go on to explain the good news is that the bad news is good.
Father, the clarity of Your Word sometimes shakes me - even shocks me. But You hurt me in order to heal me. Every action of your heart towards me is redemptive and for my good. Help me always to remember that. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Devotional by Selwyn Hughes