Concerned for the Stumbling-Blocks
John 16:1
These things have I spoken to you, that you should not be offended.…

The disciples of Jesus evidently entertained many expectations which, though plausible and excusable enough, were not reasonable; and hence inevitably, sooner or later, there must be a crushing collapse of their hopes. Indeed, the sooner such a collapse came the better. Terrible and overwhelming was the experience, but it was brief; and once over, it did not return. And all the while we can see that Jesus had these experiences constantly in mind.

I. THE FIGURE HERE EMPLOYED. Jesus would speak words of such a kind as that, by attending to them, the disciples would escape offense. The allusion is to something coming in our way which may cause us to stumble, perhaps to fall. This agrees with the whole spirit of the discourse, in which Jesus again and again speaks of his disciples as making progress in a particular way. And what Jesus wants is to take out of the way all difficulties coming from wrong notions and expectations. We all have difficulties enough in our Christian life, what we may call external difficulties, without adding to them difficulties of our own making. And surely in that same spirit Jesus deals with us still. He seeks to spare us the stumbling-blocks. Others may have stumbled, but that is no reason why we should stumble too. And just as we put up signals of all sorts to catch eye and ear in dangerous places, so Jesus does the same. If any one has to do with guarding against the main dangers that beset human life, surely it is he who is eminently called the Savior. He who leaves the ninety and nine to bring back the wanderer will take all possible means to keep him from wandering again.


1. A continuous feeling of self-distrust. We must never forget how easy it is to go wrong. The longer we live the more reason we have for distrusting ourselves. We need a wisdom, a foresight, a largeness and depth of view, altogether beyond our own. Our hesitating, vacillating actions come often just because we listen too entirely to the suggestions and prophecies coming out of our own hearts. Our natural boldness and our natural fearfulness are equally without reason. We must not listen too readily either to the suggestions of self or the suggestions of others. Be warned by the experiences of these first disciples. All their notions had to be upset, all their dearest fancies dissipated, before they could get at the truth.

2. A continuous regard to Jesus. Jesus must be ever in the foreground if self is to be ever in the background. Stumbling begins the moment the hand of Jesus is let go. We are but of yesterday, and know nothing; Jesus is of eternity, and knows everything. He who seeks to sweep all stumbling-blocks out of our way never stumbled himself. We can only take a step at a time, and it must be just where Jesus tells us to plant it. That is the secret of safe progress, and progress always in the right direction. - Y.

Parallel Verses
KJV: These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.

WEB: "These things have I spoken to you, so that you wouldn't be caused to stumble.

Christ's Reasons for Present Speech and Former Silence
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