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

Sunday, August 22, 2021

[Jesus continued,] "So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It's better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell."
— Matthew 18:8-9 NLT

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 could mean being 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, or any temptation, or 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. I ask for the strength and guidance of your Spirit to help me fulfill this commitment. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Jude 1:3-4
  • Galatians 5:19-23
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-11


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Illustration of Matthew 18:8-9 NLT — "So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off 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.