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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Stumbling block

From that time on (after Peter 's confession that Jesus was the Messiah), Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

 “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” ~ Matthew 16:21-28

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a stumbling block as "an obstacle to progress or an impediment to belief or understanding."

Jesus says those stumbling blocks come from keeping our focus on human things rather than divine things.

Keeping our minds on things like: status, wealth, power, appearance, political figures, conspiracy theories, media personalities, assumptions we have about 'others,'

Even human laws can be a stumbling block to us, especially when we use them as weapons against a group of people or when we ignore the spirit of the law by focusing only on the letter.

Peter got stuck by human things: he was sure Jesus was owed status and power, so the idea that Jesus would willingly allow himself to be killed was more than he could bear.

I wonder if sometimes we still get stuck by that?

What does a divine thing look like for Jesus?

Loving our neighbors.

Loving our enemies.

Sacrificing our desires for another.

Sacrificing ourselves for another, or even simply losing our life by losing the false sense of self we've created so that we can find the true self God created us to be.

Being a person of peace.

Seeking healing rather than harm.

What are the stumbling blocks that keep us from following the Jesus who willingly died to show us that true life was possible?

Master, help me when I stumble so that I can lose myself in your divine love. Amen

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