READ : Mark 9:42-48
Most people who read today’s verses know intuitively that Jesus does not literally expect us to mutilate our bodies to ward off disobedience. After all, one can lust or covet in one’s mind even if he has no eyes. Even so, I used to be discouraged at explanations which wrote off Jesus’ words as “figurative.” They seemed to sap the power from what he said.
Through the years I have learned that applying the figurative meaning of Jesus’ words is difficult, perhaps more difficult than applying the literal meaning! Giving up the sin we cherish is like amputating a limb. And giving up good or morally neutral things that we know particularly tempt us is like giving up a part of our bodies.
Jesus’ message is urgent, like a doctor recommending drastic emergency surgery. While we do not obey his words literally, we must not soften the urgency with which he calls us to root out our sin.
What causes you to turn from God? A habit? A possession? A relationship? An attitude? Are you willing to have the Lord remove it from your life? Will you consent to go “under the knife”?
Lord, your word is a surgeon’s knife. Use your skilled hand and remove the tumors that destroy our souls. Amen.