By Catherine Beaumont
Forgive me for luring you in with a fake tabloid headline. I was told the blogs were not being read by many people and thought this might generate more interest. I hope you will not be too disappointed to learn that there is no scandal at LCCT.
I am, however, reluctant to let a good headline go to waste, so this week’s blog offers a
brief exploration of scandal in the Bible.
In our modern translations the Greek word σκανδαλον (scandalon) is translated as the stumbling block. It describes an obstacle which people are repelled by and attracted to simultaneously. Scandal both outrages and fascinates us and is almost always associated with blame and shame.
Blame and shame derive from Satan whose primary function is to accuse (Zechariah 3:1). Hence when Peter is outraged (scandalised) by the idea of Jesus’ apparent failure, Jesus describes him as both Satan and a stumbling block (Matthew 16:23).
Likewise, Paul tells the Romans let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister (Romans 14:13). Satan’s best work is done, not in tempting us to sin, but in tempting us to accuse others of sinning.
Scandal is seductive and hard to resist, it is generated by Satan the Prosecutor, but we have been given the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who defends rather than accuses (John 14:16, 1 John 2:1).
Which one will we listen to?