CORNERSTONE OR ROCK OF OFFENCE
“Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against.” (Luke 2:34 NKJV)
When Jesus was brought into the temple as a baby to be dedicated to God according to the Law of Moses, the Holy Spirit came upon Simeon, a just and devout man, who had been waiting for the Consolation of Israel and who God had promised that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah.
Then, Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and prophesied thus:
Luke 2:29-35 – NKJV
29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
35 “(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Simeon’s prophecy wholly conformed to other prophecies in the Scripture about Jesus Christ not just being a chief cornerstone but also a rock of offense or a stumbling stone.
Isaiah 8:14-16 – NKJV
14 He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble; They shall fall and be broken, Be snared and taken.”
16 Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples.
Isaiah 28:16 – NKJV
16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily.
Like a coin with two sides, the Scripture presents Jesus Christ as a sure and solid foundation for having and enjoying a loving and intimate relationship with God to all those who believe in Him and surrender to His Lordship. This relationship will culminate in an eternity of perfect peace and joy with God in heaven.
On the other hand, the Scripture also clearly presents Jesus Christ as a rock of offense or stumbling stone to all those who reject His Lordship, which will cause their stumbling or fall into an eternity of sorrows, pains, and regrets in hell fire.
Apostle Peter testifies to this truth.
1 Peter 2:6-8 – NKJV
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,”
8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
While many believers today are enjoying an intimate, loving, and eternal relationship with God through faith in Christ Jesus, many people in the world today are upset or offended by the message of the cross, the gospel of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a man’s response to the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ that determines whether Jesus will be a cornerstone or a rock of offense to him.
When a man receives, believes, and embraces the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ, he will have Jesus Christ as a cornerstone and will not be put to shame in this life and eternity (1 Pet. 2:6).
However, anyone who continually rejects the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ and refuses to trust entirely in the finished work of Jesus, but seeks to have a close and loving relationship with God on his self-righteousness, good works, or performance will have Jesus as a stumbling stone and a rock of offense, and eventually fall and perish (1 Pet. 2:8).
The Lord Jesus became a stumbling stone and a rock of offense to the Jewish nation as a whole because they rejected Him as their Messiah and King.
1 Corinthians 1:21-24 – NKJV
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
At His first coming into the world, the Lord Jesus manifested as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV).
As the Lamb of God, the Scripture bears witness that “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7 NKJV).
But at His second coming, the Lord Jesus will manifest as the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. In righteousness, He will judge and make war. His eyes will be like a flame of fire, and out of His mouth will go a sharp sword that will strike all the nations which rejected Him, and they will bow before Him, and He will rule them with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:11-16).
Beloved, if you despise and reject the Lord Jesus today as the Lamb of God – God’s perfect atoning sacrifice for your sins–you will face and receive His fierce wrath and judgment at His second return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
Rejecting Jesus Christ today as your Saviour is meeting Him at the end of the dispensation of grace as your Judge (John 5:22). If you continue to reject Jesus Christ as a sure and precious foundation unto eternal life, you will later have Jesus Christ as a stumbling stone unto eternal damnation.
Rejecting Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord is simply rejecting life and embracing death. It is rejecting God’s mercy and embracing God’s judgment. It is rejecting eternal salvation and embracing eternal destruction (Luke 20:18).
John sternly warns:
John 3:18, 36 – NKJV
18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
Friend, it is only in this life that you have the opportunity to choose who Jesus Christ would be to you. After this life, you don’t have such an opportunity again. All that is left for you is to face, receive and embrace the consequences of your choice.
Choose wisely today by choosing to receive and believe the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. If you receive, believe in, and confess Jesus Christ today as your Saviour and surrender to Him as your Lord, you will reign with Him in this life and eternity (Rom. 5:17).
Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I choose You today as my Saviour and surrender to You as my Lord. I embrace and proclaim You as my precious stone and a sure foundation unto eternal life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.