What Jesus Did! 'Shock!' — Matthew 5:29-30

Thursday, February 25, 2021

[After condemning lust, Jesus continued:] "So if your eye — even your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your hand — even your stronger hand — causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."
— Matthew 5:29-30 NLT

Key Thought

Although treated as an antiquated concept in much of Western society, sin is very much a concern to Jesus. Sin is dangerous because it harms us in our walk with God. Sin is dangerous because, through us, it can cause others to sin. Sin is dangerous because our sin can directly hurt others. Sin is disastrous because it separates us from God. Jesus wanted to get his disciples' attention. He wanted us to know that sin is horrid and dangerous. So he used language that is best described as hyperbole to shock us into realizing that we must deal with sin in our lives. We must deal with it seriously and get rid of it. Jesus emphasized that sin is what comes from the heart and causes the actions on the outside (Matthew 15:17-20). It seems to me unwise to think he is speaking literally here about maiming ourselves since he went to great lengths to emphasize that mere external changes don't create lasting changes in us. What is needed is an internal change that works itself out into the external lifestyle. Just because God is gracious doesn't mean he takes sin lightly. We must never presume upon grace and use it as an excuse to keep falling back into the same old sinful failures (Romans 6:1-2). Jesus wants us to deal with the sin in our lives today.

Today's Prayer

Holy and righteous Father, I do not want to take my own sin lightly. Neither do I want to let it defeat me. As you promised, please empower me to put to death the misdeeds of the body. Please help me keep from taking my sin lackadaisically. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Colossians 2:21-23
  • James 1:14-15
  • Matthew 15:18-19


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Illustration of Matthew 5:29-30 NLT — "So if your eye — even your good eye — causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.