This astonishing bio of Jesus is an important one; Christ Himself quotes these ancient verses in the New Testament, as does Peter:
He will be a holy place;
for both Israel and Judah he will be
a stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.
And for the people of Jerusalem he will be
a trap and a snare.
Many of them will stumble;
they will fall and be broken,
they will be snared and captured (Isaiah 8:14-15).
Christ is a holy place — a sanctuary that can be either refuge or cage. He is both The Way and a barricade across it.
Some will trip over Him, smashing themselves into pieces.
In these amazing verses, God tells us that Jesus Himself, our healer and rescuer, is the biggest roadblock to faith.
This passage paints a big picture of the leaders of Judah and Israel, people who would one day reject Jesus as the Messiah because He was not who they imagined Him to be.
The smaller implications hit a little closer to home: if Christ can be the biggest roadblock to faith, that means I sometimes face my darkest days of doubt, not because of my circumstances or my fears, but because I’m tripping over Jesus.
I won’t let Him be Comforter, I won’t let Him be Center, I won’t let Him be Friend. I don’t live like He is who He says, I don’t think like He did what He did — dying to give me life though He saw that I would deny Him a thousand times and more.
I push off the shelter of His grace and His mercy in exchange for the worn-out blankets of my pride and striving and circular, condemning thoughts.
I won’t let Him be Jesus.
And the good news — the very best gospel — is that it doesn’t work.
Peter quotes from this passage in Isaiah, and one from the Psalms along with it: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone (I Peter 2:6-8).
I will not keep God from His plans to rescue me. I can try to tune him out, turn him down, or take Him out of the picture. I can try to plan without Him or pretend I don’t need Him. I can blame Him when things go wrong and ignore Him when things go right.
I can spit in His face, crush His head with thorns, or nail His body to a splintered cross.
The stone that the builders rejected has already become the Cornerstone. It is finished. God has set His precious stone of grace in place, and my foolishness and faithlessness will not change His radical mercy toward me.
The Rock of Ages stands in my way.
I will always stumble over Him on the way to build my own house on my own stones, tripped up by a God who loves me enough to roadblock my path to a life built on the sand of saving myself.
I must let Him be Jesus Christ, the Savior-King, the Everything. Then He will become my sanctuary, my refuge, my holy place.
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