Jesus As The Stumbling Block

There was finally time to slow down this morning–partly because I woke up an hour early and cleared out some work that was on my mind. Coffee and an uninterrupted hour took care of some of the busyness swirling through the brain.

A guy declared during a study group I was in about the god that Muslims worship. I was aghast. Where in the world did he ever hear that? How did it register so much that he would spout it out as if it were true? Had he ever talked with someone who follows that faith (implying listening as well as talking)?

We think a lot about Jesus in December. We’ve turned it into such a big cultural event, that even people who do not follow Jesus are swept into it. There is so much we don’t know about Jesus. But that hasn’t stopped people from speculating, just like my friend above, about things that they just don’t know–and treating like the truth.

Jesus said he would be a  stumbling block to many. That was, and is, true.

We know that he was intensely curious to learn about his Father. We know that from one small story about the family going to Jerusalem to worship and that he stayed behind to learn from the most learned of the teachers. I assume from this little look into his personality that he devoted the next 18 years to learning everything about his Father that he could. he was human, after all.

He is presented in some of the Gospels as a great Wisdom teacher–always putting a little different spin on the teachings to shake up people’s understanding. And he was in the tradition of all the great Wisdom teachers who preceded him over the time of 2,000 years or so. We have much to learn from him.

Some people stop there. But he was also presented as a great healer. There were fewer of those people preceding him, but he stood out as much better than any. He actually continues to heal people today of many ills.

Some are skeptics about healing, but others stop there.

There is only one reason that Jesus would have impacted people so much that they would become such devoted disciples that they would overturn the mighty Roman empire. That is his resurrection. And that is the stumbling block. There are many faiths that follow the God of Abraham. But Jesus as a manifestation of God on Earth who died and then rose from the dead stops many.

It’s is such a shame that humans have done so many bad things in the name of Jesus over the past 2,000 years to tarnish his name among people whom we should be loving and witnessing to his power.

But we can contemplate on Jesus for the rest of this season and renew and recharge our lives for the coming year.

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