What is the righteousness of Christ? How and why is Jesus referred to as a stumbling block to the Jews and those who look to themselves and their religious law-keeping as their righteousness?
Throughout Scripture, Jesus is referred to as a stumbling block and even calls Himself the stumbling stone in the book of Matthew (see Matt. 21:44). We must go back to Isaiah, who prophesied about the stumbling stone to come. Isaiah prophesies through a messianic prophecy revealing Jesus as the stumbling stone placed in Zion.
Let us go on to discover what Jesus says of Himself concerning the stumbling stone of righteousness given instead of earned. Jesus speaks of Himself in Matthew 21 as the stone the builders rejected, and whoever stumbles over this stone will be broken.
Matthew 21:42-46 reads:
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
“Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing its fruits. Whoever falls on this stone will be broken to pieces. But on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”
When the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But as they tried to arrest Him, they feared the crowds, because they held Him as a prophet.
The apostle Paul goes on in Romans to speak of Jesus as the stumbling stone of righteousness by faith and not works. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel that reveals the righteousness of God and not of self. Moses’ law was given so that the trespasses might increase, not so a man could use it as justification before a holy God.
Paul’s passion for the Jewish people is expressed in Romans and numerous other New Testament books. His love is for his Jewish brothers that they might be delivered from certain death as deserved of their sin through faith in Jesus Christ, their Messiah. Here Paul speaks of the Jewish people’s passion and zeal for God but not according to knowledge. Although they are passionate about God and his ways, they have missed the point of Moses’ law. They are attempting to justify themselves as righteous instead of humbly accepting a Savior’s work, Jesus.
Paul encourages believers that the message of salvation is near us and in our hearts and mouths. When we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we will be saved and delivered from the wrath of God that stood against us as a result of our shameful failure to keep His holy standard. When we look to Jesus Christ and His redemptive work, we are saved.
In this week’s episode of Revealing Jesus, I bring Jesus out of the Scripture to reveal how Jesus is the stumbling block referred to in Isaiah and how depending on our religious law-keeping will cause us to stumble.
Listen to the episode here. Check out this entire blog post full of Scripture: “Watch Out, Don’t Stumble on Righteousness!” Be sure to visit the store to get your One Collection shirt—one King, one body and one heart.
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