What Jesus Did! 'Radical Prevention!' — Matthew 18:8-9

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"If your hand or your foot makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose part of your body but have life forever. That is much better than to have two hands and two feet but be thrown into the fire (hell) that burns forever. If your eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better for you to have only one eye but have life forever. That is much better than to have two eyes but be thrown into the fire of hell."
— Matthew 18:8-9
Illustration of Matthew 18:8-9 — "If your hand or your foot makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away."

Key Thought

In a time with few, if any, social services or protection for those who were maimed, handicapped, or disabled, to lose a limb or an eye was to be sentenced to a life of begging, poverty, shame, and ridicule. Even now, none of us would like to lose one of our senses or one of our limbs. Jesus uses these shocking statements to awaken his disciples, and to rattle us, out of our lethargy. Sin is not to be taken lightly. Sin leads to judgment and the eternal fire. As bad as it would be to lose a body part, it would be much worse to lose our souls in eternal punishment.
Jesus' words are sharp, radical, and important. There is at least one thing more important than health and mobility—our salvation. So let's not let anything, nor any temptation, nor any sin distract our hearts from the character of Jesus!

Today's Prayer

Holy God, I do not want to let anything separate my heart, my allegiance, and my behavior from the character you desire. I thank you for the grace of Jesus that has made me righteous and I commit myself to reflecting that righteousness in my daily life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

At that time the followers came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" Jesus called a little child to come to him. Jesus stood the child before the followers. Then Jesus said, "I tell you the truth. You must change and become like little children {in your hearts}. If you don't do this, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest (most important) person in the kingdom of heaven is the person that makes himself humble like this child. "If a person accepts a little child like this in my name, then that person accepts me. "If one of these little children believes in me, and another person causes that child to sin, then it will be very bad for that person. It would be better for that person to have a millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea. I feel sorry for the people in the world because of the things that make people sin. Those things must happen. But it will be very bad for the person that causes those things to happen. "If your hand or your foot makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose part of your body but have life forever. That is much better than to have two hands and two feet but be thrown into the fire (hell) that burns forever. If your eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better for you to have only one eye but have life forever. That is much better than to have two eyes but be thrown into the fire of hell. "Be careful. Don't think these little children are worth nothing. I tell you that these children have angels in heaven. And those angels are always with my Father in heaven. "If a man has 100 sheep, but one of the sheep becomes lost, then the man will leave the other 99 sheep on the hill. He will go to look for the lost sheep. Right? And if the man finds the lost sheep, the man is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 sheep that were never lost. I tell you the truth. In the same way, your Father in heaven does not want any of theselittle children to be lost.

Matthew 18:1-14

Related Scripture Readings

Dear friends, I wanted very much to write to you about the salvation we all share together. But I felt the need to write to you about something else: I want to encourage you to fight hard for the faith that God gave his holy people. God gave this faith once, and it is good for all time. Some people have secretly entered your group. These people have already been judged guilty for the things they are doing. Long ago {the prophets } wrote about these people. These people are against God. They have used the grace (kindness) of our God in the wrong way—to do sinful things. These people refuse to accept Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord.

Jude 1:3-4

The wrong things our sinful self does are clear: doing sexual sins, not being pure, doing morally bad things, worshiping false gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, having jealousy, being very angry, being selfish, making people mad at each other, making divisions, having envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like this. I warn you now like I warned you before: The people who do these things will not be in God's kingdom.

Galatians 5:19-21

Surely you know that the people that do wrong will not get God's kingdom. Don't be fooled. These people will not get God's kingdom: people that sin sexually, people that worship idols, people that do the sin of adultery, men that let other men use them for sex or that have sex with other men, people that steal, people that are greedy, people that get drunk, people that say bad things to other people, and people that cheat. In the past, some of you were like that. But you were washed clean, you were made holy, and you were made right with God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Comments

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.