3. Going to the extreme (Vv.29-30)
29 “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”
“Cause you to stumble… or sin,” one writer says it means to “ensnare you.” Like setting a trap or a snare for someone. Maybe you have seen the traps of the hunter trying to get small prey by using a trap that has a stick at the opening and when the prey is in the trap after touching the stick, it falls, and ensnares the animal.
If the eye and the hand causes you to sin what do you do?
Jesus uses these two images not to say that you should do to them what He says but to give to us the powerful image of self-mastery. One writer named Bengel says: “It is not mutilating the body that Christ is enjoins, but control of the body against sin.”
“The man who plays with fire will get burned. “Modern surgery illustrates this idea of Jesus. The tonsils, the teeth, the appendix, to go no further, if left diseased, will destroy the whole body.” Cut them out and the body will be saved.” (Robertson)
I hope you realize that this action Jesus speaks of is not to be literal because even if you gouged out an eye or cut off a hand the desire in the heart would still be there. No. Jesus is speaking of purifying the appetites of a person, disciplining our lives to become pure.
I think when the “world” reads that we should discipline our appetites it would say… “Why? Why do you need to do that, just go for it and let it happen. There is no need for discipline and really that can never happen because the appetite is so great you can’t control it.”
This controlling needs to be done right away as well. You can’t just taper off, you need to be decisive...cut it off!
Wiersbe says that’s spiritual surgery, it is more important than physical surgery, for the sin of the body can lead to eternal judgment.