We may not want to acknowledge it, but there is scandal in the story of Jesus. His birth. Born of a Virgin? He ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He habitually broke the purity laws of Jewish teaching. Scandal is inevitable if we even glance at the story of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:23 says that Jesus was “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” Jesus was an obstacle. He didn’t make the way of faith easy to find. You tripped and fumbled your way into it. You looked silly and foolish trying to find it.
That phrase “stumbling block” is one Greek word: scandalon. It means more than just something scandalous. It means something that is a trap or a snare. An impediment. For many who heard the words of Jesus, they were more than just hard to hear – they were too hard. They made it more difficult to believe than before.
I’m never surprised by someone’s struggle to come to faith. I’m never surprised that for many there is a long and drawn out wrestling match with God over ideas, theology, old hurts, disappointments, and unanswered questions. That’s part of the scandal. The stumbling block. There’s a lot to struggle with on the way to embracing Jesus.
The wisdom and truth that Jesus reveals is beyond our comprehension. It takes a while for us to begin to assimilate the depth of Christ’s wisdom and the clarity of His truth. It takes time for us to begin to grasp that “the kingdom of God has come upon you” in the face of this Jesus.
There is glory in this scandal. Even when its hard to see.