PEOPLE HAVE CUT OFF BODY PARTS because of something Jesus said.
I’ll let you hear what Jesus said, but let me warn you first. What Jesus says is hyperbole—exaggeration for the purpose of emphasis.
He wants to get a point across, so he says it big.
We do the same thing. “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”
Don’t say that at a restaurant in Switzerland, though. They wouldn’t get the hyperbole, either.
Cut temptation out of your life
“If your hand is what makes you sin, cut that thing off. It’s better to go one-handed into heaven than two-fisted into hell. There, the fire never stops…
If your foot is what makes you sin, cut it off. It’s better to go crippled into heaven than dancing into hell, which is where you’ll get tossed with both feet…
If your eye makes you sin, pull it out and throw it away. It’s better to go into God’s kingdom with one eye than to see what hell is like with both eyes.”
Mark 9:43, 45, 47 Casual English Bible
Here’s the footnote I’m including with these verses.
Heads up. Not heads off. Jesus would not encourage us to cut our heads off if our heads make a sin. Ditto for hands, feet, and eyes. Bible scholars agree Jesus is using hyperbole in 9:43-47. It’s an exaggerated way of talking about self-discipline, and about the strategies we need to use to distance ourselves from temptation. Some people in ancient times as well as modern have taken these words of Jesus literally. They have cut off important body parts. That’s missing the point Jesus is trying to make, scholars say. Temptation doesn’t start with those body parts. It comes from deep within, and has to be dealt with there, long before the body parts get involved.
I’ll be adding Mark to the online beta edition of the Casual English Bible in a few weeks. I’m working my way through 16 chapters and an accompanying leader’s guide and atlas.
If you have any suggestions for changes or additions before I take Mark live, I’m all ears. I’ve still got both of them.
But, yes, I know: Be careful little ears what you hear.
If you haven’t seen this Good Friday video I released a few days ago, here’s the link.
Story of the suffering and death of Jesus.
I adapted this video from half the story in a deeply personal video I produced recently: Two Deaths.