Christmas 2020: Week 4, Day 2: Scandal

The Greek word ‘skandalon’ is the root of our English word ‘scandal’. It means ‘stumbling block.’

But it should mean ‘something that causes people to argue.’ 

The idea of ‘stumbling blocks’ recurs throughout the Bible, especially the New Testament. And it’s a bit weird. 

When Jesus’ warned his close friends that he would be killed, one of them, Peter, said it would never happen. In response, Jesus called him a stumbling block (Matthew 16:23). 

The early churches were told to consider their example so that they didn’t mislead or be a ‘stumbling block’ to others (Romans 14:13, 1 Corinthians 8:9). 

And with graphic hyperbole, Jesus preached that if parts of our bodies cause us to stumble then we would be better off losing those parts altogether. (Seriously, don’t take this literally! Matthew 5:29-30; Matthew 18:6-9; Mark 9:42-47.)

So stumbling blocks are… bad?

But on the flip side, the New Testament says Jesus is a stumbling-block. 

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