Stumbling on the Rock

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Romans 9:27-33

Why not? . . . They have stumbled over the stumbling stone. (v. 32)

I love going mountain hiking in Utah, where my daughter and son-in-law live. Once on a trail close to a cliff, I stumbled over a rock in the path and almost went careening over the edge. Frightening!

As Paul keeps probing the question of Romans 9:1-5 about why so few Jews are becoming believers, he acknowledges that the difference lies in how each one regards Jesus. Paul proposes the picture of Jesus as a rock, and (quoting Isaiah 28:16) realizes that many Jews are stumbling over Jesus.

The cross of Christ was indeed a stumbling block for Jews (see 1 Corinthians 1:23). After all, Jesus had hung on a tree and was therefore cursed by God; how could you put your faith in someone whom God had cursed? (Paul answers this question in Galatians 3:10-14: on the cross Jesus took our curse upon himself.) In rejecting Jesus, the Jews were dangerously close to the abyss.

But through the gospel, God was still holding out his gracious hand to his people. Many non-Jews were reaching up to grasp that hand and so were saved by grace through faith. That hand is still reaching out today.

Don’t stumble over Christ; build your life on him.


God, help me to look to Jesus as the Rock of my life, not a stumbling stone. Amen.