If anyone causes one of these little one–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6
“Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Luke 7:23
John the Baptist had sent some of his helpers to Jesus. He wanted to know if Jesus was the one to come, the expected Messiah. Jesus told them to look at what He was doing and report that. Then He added the statement that whoever does not stumble because of Him would be blessed.
Looking back at what you can see of Jesus today in the Bible, it is difficult to understand why someone would stumble because of Him.
Looking at it from the Jewish point of view, you must remember that they were serving God who could not be seen. Now there was a man, whom they knew, claiming to be God. This was blasphemy in the Jewish mindset.
Many people would stumble over this fact. Ultimately, Jesus would be crucified on the cross for making the statement that He is God.
Even today, there are many who stumble over the fact that Jesus was a man. If Jesus was a man, how could He be God? How could He, as a man, save the world? On top of that Jesus had died.
Along with being a man, Jesus also seemed to add to the Law. Jesus pointed out that the law said don’t kill, He added to that to not even think about killing. He added problems of the heart, not just physical actions.
Many people, then, and today still struggle with these things.
Some of the teachings of Jesus are very strict. They can be very hard to accept. Even though this is true, you still need to accept the teachings of Jesus.
Do not stumble over what Jesus taught. Be willing to accept and live by His words. Know that they were spoken to help, not hurt you.
I pray today that God will touch your heart with His words; that you will be able to accept all the words of Jesus; that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit to strengthen you; that you will not stumble over anything in Scripture; and that you will allow God to change you into the image of Jesus.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42
As Jesus and the disciples were walking along the disciples started arguing about who was first. Jesus points out the one who is a servant is first. Then they complained about another person casting out demons. Jesus points out that anyone doing a service for God is for Him.
Now Jesus points out not causing a little one who believes in Him to stumble. Many people look at this verse and see it as just talking about not causing a little child to stumble, but this includes more than just little children.
Every person who believes in Jesus is a child of God. They are not just a child, but a little child. Every person is growing in the likeness of Jesus. It is a lifelong process that never ends until they get to heaven.
Since everyone is then considered a child, do not cause them to stumble. How can a person cause another to stumble?
The most common thought is leading them into actual sinful acts. There are “believers”, even churches, out there that accept certain sinful habits as acceptable to God. These are then promoted. This is causing a person to sin.
When a younger believer sees an older believer doing something, it is seen as acceptable and they mimic it. Care has to be shown to not show wrong living that will cause sin in another person’s life.
One very common cause of stumbling is arguing about ways to live for God. Examples of this is demanding that women only wear dresses, or have long hair; that men cannot play cards or play sports; and arguments about politics.
Harsh disagreements often lead to bitterness and fighting. There are many things that God leaves open for each person to decide as to whether it is right or wrong between him and God. The Bible does not give hard fast rules on many things.
Demanding various things can cause a person to stumble in their belief in God. It can cause bitterness and resentment to rise up. Do not allow it in your life. Jesus said it would be better to be drowned then to cause a person to stumble.
I pray today that God will reveal to you ways that you can cause others to stumble; that God will guide you in how to build others up; that God will guide you in how to really live for Jesus; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.
“If your hand or foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” Matthew 18:9-10
Jesus had just finished talking about not causing someone else to stumble. Now, He talks about not causing yourself to stumble.
One must understand what it means to stumble. When you walk on a path in the forest there are things that may get in the way to cause you to stumble. These things could be a rock, a log, a whole, or maybe even some brush. They cause you to slow down in your walk, maybe take a detour, or completely fall down and get hurt.
In life, you are in a walk on a path with God. This path is through the wilderness of this world that is full of evil. It has many things on the path that can cause you to stumble, changing your walk and path with God.
It is very easy to go and do something that God has not desired for you to do on the path He has you on. Or you may look at things that distract you from God and the path He has you on. At these things you start to stumble.
Jesus points out that it would be spiritually better to physically cut off your hand, foot, or eye, than to keep them and allow them to cause you to sin.
Are you doing the things God has given you to do? Are you going the places God wants you to go? Are you seeing things the way God sees them?
When you were saved, Jesus gave you the commission to go and be a witness in all of the world. Are you being that witness? If you are doing sinful things, going to sinful places, or seeing sinful pictures, you are stumbling and will cause others to stumble. You will not be walking the path God intended for you.
I pray today that God will reveal things in your life that cause you to stumble in your walk; that you will get rid of the sinful practices in your life; that you will cut off what causes you to stumble; that you will rely on God’s Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen you; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.