When I read this verse I often think of Wile E. Coyote. He was constantly putting obstacles in front of the Road Runner to impeded the Road Runner's progress. He was actually trying to catch the Road Runner and he had many obstacles to slow him down, in order to catch him. Wile E. had one obstacle where he painted a mirage of a train tunnel on a rock with the intentions of getting the Road Runner to run into a that rock at full speed. Every time he tried this, the Road Runner ran through the rock while Wile E. Coyote ran into his own obstacle. A don't that is often done in the Church is being an obstacle to someone. As I often say, we can see here that Jesus really didn't speak harshly to the drunks, prostitutes, or thieves. He may have shared difficult truths with them but usually didn't speak harshly to them. Jesus spoke the harshest to those who felt they were religious and were nothing of the kind. Jesus knew that the people who claim to be religious, and were not acting accordingly, would be an obstacle to those coming to Christ. How are we an obstacle?
First, we are an obstacle when we claim to know the way to Christ and really don't. I read somewhere one time that this word "woe" can be a compassionate expression of sorrow and/or a strong condemnation. I see both applying here. Have you ever had a problem and a friend offers you advice? The problem persists and possibly has gotten worse when you find out that your friend really didn't know how to help you but was claiming they did. That is frustrating! I'm reminded of the illustration of a person that went to the eye doctor. Upon arrival and seated in the chair the doctor, after a series of tests, said, "Yep, your vision is in need of correction. Here, take my glasses." The patient said, "Excuse me Doctor, but these glasses do not help me at all!" The Doctor replies, "I can't imagine why. They helped me for years." The point is that we can't fix everybody's problems with solutions that work for us. Often times we are like that doctor. We see a person with a problem that is outside of Christ. We tell them that Christ is the way and God will strengthen them. Ps 18:1-3 You may be right, like the doctor, but you better know how to get them into Christ instead of offering an obstacle like your own personal spiritual glasses.
You see, the Pharisees claimed to know God and His Word, and didn't! When we do that the truth WILL COME OUT! Mt 9:10-13 We sometimes do the same today. We attend faithfully, invite others, and claim to now the way. Then we cuss and cuss, tell dirty joke after dirty joke. REMEMBER LISTENING IS AS BAD AS TELLING!! If we’re claiming to KNOW the way, we better be able to LEAD the way! If we’re claiming to KNOW the way, and NOT LEADING the way, WE ARE AN OBSTACLE TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY SEEKING!!!
We also become an obstacle when we refuse to go the way. Jesus had an ability we can never have. He had the ability to look into the soul of a person. He called them hypocrites! A hypocrite is defined as a person who pretends to have religious virtues, beliefs, & principles. A PRETENDER!! Isa 29:13 Don't tell someone the way, show someone the way! 1Jn 3:18 We must produce Christian fruit in our lives. I always say. "We do not produce fruit to earn our salvation. We produce fruit to prove our salvation!" Why did Jesus perform miracles? He did them to prove who he was not to earn the ability to do more miracles. If we are going to claim to know the way, we better be going that way! Ask yourself, "Are my actions, or fruit, giving someone an excuse to not come or drawing others in?" Mt 12:30 Jesus says if you do not gather with him then you scatter. It's Friday, if you have done little or nothing this week to gather to Christ you have scattered! Today, many Christians refuse to forgive those who have wronged them in the past. Their stubbornness will drive people away. Their ignorance will separate them from the Lord. Mt 6:14,15 Brethren, if you are going to talk the talk, you better be willing to walk the walk. Social media is filled with those who post scripture right after a vulgar post or picture.
Lastly, we become an obstacle when we get in the way of true seekers. Jesus told the Pharisees, "they shut off the kingdom of heaven" but they did not possess that kind of power. In a parallel passage it is worded a little more clear of what Jesus meant. Lk 11:52 Jesus said they, "have taken away the key of knowledge" and that a man can do, if a listener allows them, by the way of false teachings. We do that today when our actions lead others away! Paul said to the Romans the Lord was blasphemed to Gentiles because of the actions of the Christians! Rom 2:24
Consider when Jesus heals a blind man in Jn 9:1-34. Pharisees got mad instead of glorifying God! DO YOU PASS THE BUCK IN AN ATTEMPT TO FIT IN? Dirty Jokes/texts/emails/gossip at work DO YOU FIT IN WITH THE WORLD AND STAND IN THE WAY OF THOSE TRULY SEEKING? The man stood tall in vv25-27 and claimed Jesus! Verse 34 says they put him out of the Synagogue. DO YOU STAND UP FOR JESUS WHEN THE POPULAR OPINION IS AGAINST YOU? DO YOU STAND UP FOR JESUS WHEN THERE ARE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES OR DO YOU GET IN THE WAY OF THOSE TRULY SEEKING THE LORD?
We must do the Will of God regardless of popular opinion and consequences. That’s what makes us Christians, not sitting on a pew calling Him Lord. We must forgive those who wrong us because it is God's Will. Mt 7:21 Today, be a tool that the Lord can use to show others the way to Him. Do not be an obstacle.
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
We must hear the Word of God: Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We must believe or have faith: Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We must repent of our sins: Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We must confess Christ before others: Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We must be immersed into Christ (baptized) Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We must be faithful: Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22