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Stumbling Block

Take a look at these verses from Matthew 16:21-27:
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
This is a pretty common verse, but I never caught what exactly Jesus might be saying here. The word "stumbling block" hit me differently this time (as a block of wood might do). Often I read this as if a stumbling block is a thing commonly lying around that you trip over occasionally, a regular part of the household in a regular routine. But think about this: why would anyone willingly have a block of wood in their walkway that they frequently trip over, and not move it?! That is ridiculous. So there may be more to Jesus having used that particular phrase.

It brings to mind this verse from 1 Corinthians 8:9:
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
Paul is talking about Christians using their liberty to eat or drink whatever, while other Christians may find the action a sin. There is a lot of backstory required, but what I want to point out is this second famous use of the word "stumbling block" in scripture. It is the same idea as Peter with Jesus: one "Christian" is doing something that is blocking another brother from progress, in an area that is likely a struggle for the latter. (Not that I am calling Jesus "weak," but just using it as a comparison.)

Jesus seems fairly harsh sometimes in the bible, and this passage is a good example of that. But think about it -- if Jesus was struggling with his approaching suffering (which we know he was, according to Matthew), then Peter struck a negative chord with him. The whole thing brings a level of humanity to our Savior that I appreciate. He struggled, just as we do, and it wasn't always easy for him. But as scripture later points out...
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

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