‘—we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinth 1:23, 24).
The message of Christ crucified is the greatest treasure to a believer, for in Christ one finds the power of God and the wisdom of God. Those who have experienced know it and can never cease to be in awe of the God who loved them, chose them, forgave them, accepted them, transformed them and planted them in eternity. Yet, to many the message of Christ crucified is a stumbling block and foolishness. It is the sacred duty of everyone who has been given the privilege of being a disciple of Jesus to reach out to those around him and with patience, love and wisdom attempt to remove the stumbling blocks that stand in the way of the earnest seeker.
The ‘stumbling block’ series of articles featured in this blog will attempt to do just that. While the articles will deal with specific issues, it is valuable to note here what the categories of stumbling blocks are in general.
1. First, they arise because of the wisdom of the world that contradicts God’s wisdom. For instance, while the former tells man that sin satisfies, the latter tells him that sin will destroy him. He chooses the former and finds himself none the better because of it. However conventional wisdom that the world around him offers, encourages him to go after the same sin again and again and finally, the poor man finds himself face to face with a real stumbling block to finding God.
2. Prejudice of various sorts against the life-giving truth of Christ is another major stumbling block. The traditions that man grows up with, the norms of the society that he lives in, the animosity that rulers and powers of this world have against the truth and the bias that media in general has against the harsh truth results in ordinary people having several prejudices against the message of salvation through Christ.
3. Finally lack of faith can be a major stumbling block to receiving Christ. Paul says in the same passage, ‘For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe’ (1Corinth 1:21). It should not surprise that finite man cannot figure out the infinite God. And so there will always be an element of foolishness of preaching that is required to be responded to. But note, Christian faith is a reasonable faith- wherein man is guided to adequate evidence both within and without, to help him apply faith in the face of legitimate mysteries.
So be it helping to discern God’s wisdom or pointing out prejudice for what it really is and helping the seeker with evidence to apply faith, a pilgrim needs to reach out with love to his neighbor and diligently remove the stumbling blocks that stand in his way of finding God’s power and wisdom in the crucified Christ.
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