“Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become…a rock of offense” (1 Pet. 2:8).
Jesus defines the word skandalon, translated in 1 Peter 2:8 as offense, in Matthew 16:23: “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance (skandalon) to Me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.’” Peter did not understand the heavenly mission of the Messiah. His mind was grounded here on earth, and he could not understand why the Savior had to die in order to bless the whole world. Perhaps years later, Peter was thinking back to this incident while writing his first epistle. He could see that both the Jews and Gentiles found Jesus a Rock of Offense because their eyes were not on the things of God.
Jesus Offended in His Time on Earth
Throughout the life of Christ we see that every aspect of His incarnation — His birth, ministry, and especially His death — was offensive to those around Him. They gossiped about His questionable parentage. Some of His own disciples initially expressed disgust when they heard the ‘zip code’ where the Messiah was raised. During His ministry, we see that people tried to kill Him many times. What type of Savior was this, sharing meals with sinners and prostitutes?
His message was so offensive that it led two conflicting people groups to be tripped up (skandalon) and to eventually conspire in His execution. The Jews, through barred teeth, proclaimed that their only king was Caesar, and the Gentiles hung the Lord on a shameful tree. What message could cause self-righteous, law-keeping Jews, and science- and knowledge-driven Gentiles to come together and plot the murder of the Messiah? It is, in fact, the same message that offends and trips up the world today; a message that didn’t stand a chance of success unless it was supernatural.
Jesus said, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me” (Mt. 11:6). As believers, we are reminded to keep our minds on the things of God. Too often we find ourselves caught up in our careers, our favorite TV show, or any other trivial thing that Satan will use to ground our minds down here on earth. But oh, the wonderful truth that we are a heavenly people, a vital part of a building made of living stones, which will survive when all other things made by men are destroyed. Let our focus remain on winning souls for that day and always endeavor to keep our minds on the things of God.
The Final Rock of Offense
One day the final Rock of Offense will loom out of the earth like a great mountain. There will be no way around or over Him. Every eye will see Him and every tongue confess that He is Lord. The Rock of Offense will be on display once more, not for execution but for exaltation. Not to be vilified but to be glorified. How will you live in light of that day?