GOSPEL MEDITATION #205
Temptations to Sin
- Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions.
- Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace.
- Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer.
- Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself.
- Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
- Reread it. From memory, determine the central points.
- The identity of “the little ones” is key: perhaps the child in the question of who is the greatest (see Mark 935-37) or maybe the unknown exorcist in 38-41, both and more. My idea is “more.”
- The millstone for offenders, above, tie the mill stone around their own neck, and this per the obvious Greek grammar.
- Cutting off a hand or a foot – if such cause one to sin. Gouging out an eye if such causes one to sin – we would all be blind and crippled.
- Jesus’ use of hyperbole, or exaggeration, to make a dramatic point is characteristic of His method of teaching. If Christians throughout the ages were to take such statements literally, then what a horrid state of affairs. And this is a point Jesus makes.
- To the people of Jesus day, to be without a hand, a foot, or an eye would render them unable, mostly and usually, to make a living, care for a family, and even survive. (Did Muhammad take this passage literally?)
- Undying worms, unquenchable fire – idioms that described Ghenna, a large garbage dump just outside the walls of Jerusalem, that was kept burning, always, and had nevertheless organisms that consumed rotten matter. This was not a place to be and meant that a person was without usefulness.
- It must be noted that verses 44 and 46, identical to verse 48, do not have the best manuscript support.
- Salt, and are we are the salt of the earth, (see Matthew 5:13) for salt is necessary to life, and it would be lost by striving for power, position, and scandalizing each other. This is Jesus’ teaching for those who follow Him.