40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 23

Mark 9:47  “If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell.”

If we took Jesus literally, we’d all be walking around with a patch on one eye or blind altogether. The idea of plucking out an offending eye is grotesque.

EyeballWho among us has never looked with lust or greed or jealousy? Even a quick glance in a moment of weakness would, by Jesus’ standards, deserve a red-hot poker in the pupil. Ouch!

The silliness of it is obvious; so is the seriousness.

Jesus can’t possibly mean this literally. After all, we know that the real issue is not what we see but what we think about what we see. The real issue is not optical but spiritual. The real culprit is not the eye but the heart. If we started maiming ourselves — or each other — we’d fail to address the deepest and and most pressing problem.

So, in a moment designed to shock His hearers, Jesus calls on His disciples to cut off their offending hands and feet, and pluck out their wayward eyes to avoid being cast into hell. But it’s all hyperbole; purposeful exaggeration to make a powerful point.

And here’s when the silliness suddenly turns into seriousness.

The pursuit of holiness may be one of our highest callings as followers of Jesus (Hebrews 12:14). A thriving life is not possible without it.

In a culture more committed to profanity than purity, we can easily compromise our standards as Christ-followers. And with each act of unholiness, we diminish our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit within us. Each new moment of surrender to ungodliness undermines God’s greatest purpose for our lives.

We grow dangerously comfortable with sin. It wreaks havoc in our lives, yet we tolerate it and sometimes even nurture it. Indeed, we’re inclined to simply yield to it, believing that we’re inevitable victims of it. “We live in a fallen world, and I’m just fallen like everyone else,” we say.

Jesus does not share our fatalism. He has delivered us from the power and reign of sin, if we have died with Him and been raised with Him to new life (Romans 6:3-4, 12-13).

It may take some drastic measures for some of us to re-align our lives with Jesus. It’s worth it. Will we do it, today?

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2 Responses to 40 Days in Mark’s Gospel – Day 23

  1. Phyllis Heglund says:

    How I wish you did this writing all year! It has been such a blessing to me!

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