II. A STONE TO STRIKE AGAINST,
A ROCK OF STUMBLING, A TRAP,
AND A SNARE TO THE NEGATIVE ONES
Isaiah was very honest and faithful to show us what Christ is to both the positive and negative ones. Christ is so wonderful to the positive ones, but He is unpleasant to the negative ones. To the positive ones, He is an all-inclusive sanctuary. To the negative ones, He is a stone to strike against, a rock of stumbling, a trap, and a snare (Isa. 8:14b-15).
A. A Stone to Strike against
and a Rock of Stumbling
The Pharisees and the Jewish leaders struck against Christ as a stone (Matt. 21:44a), and the unbelieving ones stumbled at Christ as a rock (1 Pet. 2:7-8; 1 Cor. 1:22-23). Christ was despised by the Pharisees and Jewish leaders. Because they despised Him, they struck against Him but could not move Him. Instead, He became a stumbling stone to them (Rom. 9:33), and they fell upon Him (Matt. 21:44a). Many negative ones throughout the centuries have been stumbled by Christ.
There are many things concerning Christ that stumble people. The Old Testament prophesied that He would be of the seed of David (2 Sam. 7:12-14a) and that He would come out of the city of David, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). His mother Mary was a descendant of Nathan, David’s son (Luke 3:31b), and Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, another of David’s sons (Matt. 1:6b). Joseph and Mary were poor people who lived in the despised region of Galilee in the city of Nazareth. Because of the enrollment decreed by Caesar Augustus, Joseph had to return to David’s city, Bethlehem, because he was out of the house and family of David (Luke 2:1-5). By this enrollment Mary and Joseph were brought from Nazareth to Bethlehem so that the Savior might be born there for the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the place of His birth. After His birth, He was laid in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:7). Later, Joseph and Mary returned to Nazareth, where Jesus grew up as a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23). This was a stumbling to the unbelieving Jews, who thought He came out of Nazareth (John 7:41-42, 52). He was born in Bethlehem in a stumbling way.
Even today many things concerning Christ are a stumbling to the negative ones. Throughout the centuries thousands of people have been stumbled by Christ. Most of the people who are extremely wise, intelligent, powerful, and of the upper class do not care for Christ (Matt. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:26-29). The church of God is composed not mainly of the upper class, but of the lowborn of the world and the despised. To appreciate the upper class is against God’s mind and a shame to the church. Because Brother Nee realized this, he visited the homes of the poor saints, not the wealthy ones. God chose mostly the foolish, the weak, the lowborn, and the despised, so that no one would be able to boast before Him.
(Life-Study of Isaiah, Chapter 36, by Witness Lee)