Paul’s reference to Christ as the ‘stumbling stone’ in Romans 9:32-33 is a recollection of several Old Testament passages which clearly identify the Rock as Jehovah. Paul establishes Christ as this Rock, and therefore as the stumbling stone and rock of offense to the Jew. However it is not only the Jew, but all people who must encounter the stumbling stone.
A Jesus Christ who is Deity is an offense to mankind in general. A Jesus Christ who teaches the law in order to slay the sinner is an offense to the sinner. One who tells you that you must come only through Him, and how you must come, is an offense to the free-thinking humanist. A Jesus Christ who is lowly, neglected and inconspicuous is an offense to the glory-seekers who crave notoriety. A Jesus Christ who can only be received by faith, in order that no flesh might glory is an offense to men who wish to earn their standing before God. This Jesus, who makes us completely indebted to sovereign grace by electing whosoever He wills to be saved, is an offense to the free-thinking man who loves his precious ‘choice’ so much.
But why must the Gospel be an offense? Is it not so that the pride of man might be humbled? Only when pride is crushed by the stumbling stone can we be saved. But the one who trusts in Him will not be disappointed, as each of us, as living stones are part of the holy priesthood connected to the Rock.