Sticks & Stones

“Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”  Matt 21:44

We live in an opinion saturated culture.

Humanity has always had opinions, but never before had the outlet and platforms available to voice them like we do today.  Think about it.  For centuries, it was only the highly educated, those devoting their entire lives to particular topics that warranted being heard.

With the printing press, opinions took flight.  If you had gift for writing that others appreciated, or at least some money, you could present your opinions to the world.  These days the only prerequisite for disseminating the depths of our  wisdom seems to be at minimum, a functional finger.  Click, like, swap, comment, post, done.

Opinions.  We all have them.  We hold some loosely, some with a firm grip of death.  We think we’re right, or we wouldn’t hold them at all.  If we become convinced of a different opinion, we quietly swap opinions, we trade up.  The older we get, the longer we hold our opinions, the more difficult it seems to negotiate change.  Opinions can become convictions, they become part of our identity, especially if they are cultural, passed from generation to generation.

Jesus entered a world of opinions.  Most of the opinions held against Him were hostile, particularly among the religious order.  The Law of Moses, the ceremonies, traditions, the promises contained in the Old Covenant, so it seemed to the opinionated, stood in contradiction to the character and nature of Jesus.  There was no convincing the religious order that imposter of a carpenters son was the promised Messiah.

Look what happens when we hold too firmly to an opinion and we are unwilling to search things out. We consider ourselves higher, we surge with a dignified pride at our obvious correct thinking.  We place the person or thought we disagree with beneath us, subject to our judgement.  We move towards hostility, even fighting the creator of the universe, thinking we somehow stand a chance?  When opinion becomes arrogance!

This was the attitude of the Jewish leaders as they listened, and even began to scorn & plot against Jesus.  Jesus begins to warn them of their folly, and says some incredible things that we too can learn from today.

When you reject Jesus, you are rejecting the chief cornerstone from which your eternity is determined. Your opinion of Christ does in fact matter, a lot!

I see a generation gleefully engaging their opinions at every chance, but taking very little care over their opinion of Christ.  They approach the person of Jesus with a trite frivolity, like reviewing the latest movie – I give him 3 stars.  When is the last time anyone ever said, “What do I think about Jesus?  That’s a great question, I’ve never thought of that before!” Everyone has an opinion, but few have legitimate conviction – this is both the challenge and opportunity for those of us journeying in His grace.

For many, all that matters in this life is what we can taste, touch, and see now.  We work to consume on our earthly appetites.  So focused is our generation on clicking, watching, eating, listening, that Jesus becomes just another point of opinion.

Jesus says He is the Stone, and that anyone who falls upon this Stone will be broken to pieces.

According to commentaries, Jesus is eluding here to the practice of stoning.  A man, if caught deserving of this corporal punishment, would be taken to a cliff, or pit of some kind with a significant depth and rocky foundation.  The criminal would then be beaten and thrown to their death.

Jesus is saying, I think, something like this, “Guys, your attempted injury of my character, your rejection of me and evil intentions, they do not effect reality.  I am Who I say I am.  When you reject me, it’s as if you come at me as brittle sticks, whacking away at a boulder – the boulder wins, your rejection of me, is in actuality, your own destruction!”

What’s incredible here, is that Jesus doesn’t finish here.  He adds, “anyone on whom the stone falls, will be crushed.”

The Jews, if seeing the person whom they intended to kill by throwing to their death is still alive would then find a large rock and hurl it down on the criminal.  The rock would be heavy enough that two men could barely carry it.  It would ensure the finality of destruction, justice would come crashing down on the poor fellow.

Jesus is not only saying that rejection of Him will be of no avail and even harm you in the process – but that in the end, the same Stone you are rejecting in this life, is going come-a-hurling down on you in judgment.

Everyone who refuses to open their heart and opinion to the reality of Jesus Christ as the Creator will be crushed under His perfect judgment.

Our opinions matter, I’m thankful for the freedom to express.  Nowhere is our opinion more important than hen we consider the historical, miracle working, undeniable importance of Jesus Christ.  If ever we should develop and hold firmly convictions, it’s in this area.  If Jesus is right, no other opinion comes close.

I would argue that all our opinions, on every single subject derives it’s source from the well of this opinion. I take a peek online and see articles, blogs, comments, swirling around like a tempest of rage and confusion.  Everyone is convinced they should be heard, and is heard, yet is anyone really listening? We are talking to our social networks which act like mirrored reflections of our shallow soul.  A thousand voices, an angry and confused world.

It’s in this context that our generation must enter and insert the truth of the Gospel.  Get people away from their computers where they hide and have found a certain boldness in their many opinions.  Love them, share about the love of God in Christ – He alone will bring order to their chaos, and deliver them from delusion.

If we embrace Jesus Christ, we simultaneously surrender our posture of pride.  When we embrace Christ, we’re no longer the ones from on high boasting in our opinions, coming at Christ with our sticks as if He was just another topic to nail down.

It’s what He thinks that matters, His opinion over us is what we live for.

He is a God of love, of compassion, of second chances.  If you have an opinion of Christ but have not surrendered your life to Him, consider the dangerous situation you are in.  You judge Him incorrectly, you are the stick breaking upon the eternal rock.  Your rejection of Him does only harm to you, and will do even greater if you finish this life His enemy.

Scripture says those that reject Him are foolish, even stupid (void of basic sense).  The foot of the foolish are dangling in slippery places.  Sin is deceptive in nature.   Under it’s influence and power, nobody knows they are deceived.  It’s the power of the Gospel, in the hearts of those it’s redeemed that will win our generation.

“Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God.  Forgive me for the times I’ve fought against you in my pride and ignorance. Help me to build my life on the Rock that is Jesus!”  Amen

Read: Deut 32:35, Psalm 92:5-7, Isa 8:14-15, Matt 21.