Cyclothymic Cister

Before the Internet, I used to lie in bed at night composing thoughts as if I were talking to a wise entity. (An actual face never came to mind). I would re-word and re-phrase the thoughts till they were crystal clear. Now I can blog. And hopefully, there are a lot of wise people with real faces out there who might just comment back.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Great Stone

My friend, Nolin Mom, posted that she struggled with her Christian faith. I think we all do. It is sometimes hard to square the resurrection with logic. But here is a thought that might help.

(For the sake of clarity and brevity I will not list all the references).

Many places the bible talks about stumbling. (The stone of stumbling and the rock of offense is how Jesus is described in one passage, Isa 8:14). Stumbling meant being offended, not merely getting one’s feelings hurt like we say today, but losing one’s faith. The word “Offend” comes from and old English word that means to cause someone to stumble by placing a stone or other stumbling block in his path. The bible gives grave warning to those who offend one of his little ones (John called us little children). Jesus said that their angels do always behold the face of His Father which is in heaven (Matt 18:10). This hints at angelic protection. (More on that later).

There are about four basis ways a person can stumble to the point of losing their faith. Through our intellect, our fear of suffering, greed and emotional attachments. All these human traits make us vulnerable to becoming offended. Someone may offer a plausible argument that appeals to our intellect that contradicts our faith. We may lose a child to death or have a loved one suffer great physical pain so that we start doubting God. We may have a desire for riches that overcomes our desire for God. Satan is always on the prowl devising ways to trip us up. So, what can keep us safe from these offenses?

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalms 119:165.

Loving God’s law is equivalent loving all that Jesus stands for. If we love what Jesus represents, then we are promised that nothing will offend us. How? We have help.

He will give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Psa 91:11.
(A stumbling stone).

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Hrb 1:14.

We have been told since childhood that we have guardian angels to protect us from physical harm. But aren’t spiritual accidents much more serious? The angels bear us up and “lift us over the stumbling stone” perhaps by us losing a good job, or having to leave a relationship, etc, all in order to steer us clear of offenses on our pathway to heaven.

Now why was Jesus described as the stone of stumbling and the rock of offense? One way to look at it is this: The Messiah was to never die. To those brought up under the Law of Moses, Jesus was an offense because he claimed to be Messiah yet hung helpless on a cross and died. (An intellectual offense). Even the few disciples who followed Jesus while he was walking on earth, were disheartened and down cast. All their hopes of a new kingdom were dashed because the man they put their trust in was now dead.
Not understanding Jesus’ words about dying and being raised again, the disciples went to the tomb, fully expecting to see the body there. They wondered, however, who would roll away the great stone that sealed the mouth of the tomb.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake; for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it (Mat.28.2).

What else can we make of the incident, except that an angel was instrumental in preventing the disciples from tripping over the fact of Jesus' death?

Jesus did not need the stone rolled away for himself. After all, he could walk through walls after the resurrection. The stone was rolled away for the benefit of the disciples, so that they could see that the actual body was resurrected. The moving of the stone gave the disciples a faith that they would die for.

So what about our own weak faith? The angels will continue rolling away stones to prevent us from stumbling over our own intellect.

(I want to give due credit to my father, the late Leo Jordan for having taught this to me and to beg pardon for shortening such a rich study into few words).

2 Comments:

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous Nolin Mom said...

Jill,

You are always so awesome and so correct. You give clarity and studiousness to something that defies it. This is a trait I have always respected and admired about you. Thanks for being a willing vessel....and by the way, I miss you!--Nolin Mom

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Nolin Mom said...

--ps...finally figured out how to post a comment to YOUR blog! :-)

 

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