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Matthew 18:7-11: If Your Hand of Your Foot Causes You to Offend

Posted by adventbiblestudy on April 14, 2012


Matthew 18:7-11 MKJV Woe to the world because of offenses! For it is necessary that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! (8) And if your hand or your foot causes you to offend, cut them off and throw them from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. (9) And if your eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire. (10) Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father in Heaven. (11) For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Jesus had just placed a child in front of the disciples and said, “Truly I say to you, Unless you are converted and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven,” (Matthew 18:3 MKJV). Judas began thinking to himself how much the other disciples needed to hear this lesson. He began relating the lesson to some of the things the other disciples asked or said. Mainly John’s question of who is greatest. Looking at Peter, Judas remembered the time Jesus rebuked him after saying, “God be gracious to You, Lord! This shall never be to You.” (Matthew 16:22 MKJV). He looked over at James and thought, the silent type. The one you have to watch out for because of his dedication to his brother.

Jesus continued the lesson. “Woe to the world because of offenses!” Judas thought the world is full of people offending one another. Look at this group. Not one of them appreciate me, or the qualities I bring. I am under appreciated. Judas began to feel sorry for himself and looked to the ground as Jesus added, “For it is necessary that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” Judas wanted to speak up, telling the group about all the times he had been offended, but this was not the proper time. Like Jesus said, woe will come to the man by whom the offense comes. Judas had the faith to know Jesus sees the offenses, and when the time was right, Jesus would point them out.

Thomas had a different view of the lesson. His mind was always on the problems he saw. Taxes, people loosing their homes, the way the priests and Pharisees harassed them. He knew there was a reason why these things happened, and constantly looked for the lesson in each of them.

As the disciples each thought about the problems and offenses they had seen and lived through over the past weeks, Jesus seemed to suddenly change the subject. “And if your hand or your foot causes you to offend, cut them off and throw them from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”

Peter, whose mind had been on the sermon Jesus gave on the mountain early in His ministry remembered Jesus saying much the same thing. “And if your right eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell. And if your right hand offends you, cut it off and throw it from you. For it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29-30 MKJV).

Luke, who had always been fascinated with the way Jesus healed, began focusing on a few of the key words and thoughts of what Jesus had said. Being cast into everlasting fire indicated this was an important lesson. The words lame and maimed reminded him of the condition the lepers were in before Jesus healed them. He didn’t exactly know why this came to his mind, but when he thought about cutting off a hand, or foot, he remembered the ceremony performed by the priests when a leper was healed. Blood from the sacrifice was placed upon the right ear, thumb, and great toe of the person who was healed. This seemed strange because everyone has offended God in one way or another.

As Luke thought about this, he could see Jesus was not referring to physically removing a hand or foot. It must have a spiritual meaning. Dozens of texts raced through Luke’s mind. Many of them were from David’s Psalms. Do not take away my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men in whose hands is a plot, and their right hand is full of a bribe. (Psalms 26:9-10 MKJV). Luke could see how a sinners hand represents the mischief caused by a plot, and the bribes they take to distort justice. That verse also led him to a verse written by David’s son, Solomon. These six the LORD hates; yea, seven are hateful to his soul: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked plans, feet hurrying to run to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and he who causes fighting among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19 MKJV). The spiritual connection was becoming clear.

As he considered the spiritual connection between hands, feet, and the heart Luke’s attention became riveted on Jesus’ next remark. “And if your eye offends you, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire.”

Once again Jesus repeated the term, cast into the hell of fire. Once again Luke’s mind was drawn to the Psalms and Proverbs. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, there is no fear of God before his eyes. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. (Proverbs 12:15, Psalms 36:1, Proverbs 30:13, Proverbs 27:20). The eyes of sinners represent a separation caused by greed and other sins. A disbelief in God, because they cannot see or understand His ways. Jesus wants to remove the sins from their lives so they can clearly see the life God intended for them. To treat one another with love and respect.

Jesus linked this parable to the little child. “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones.” The disciples began to see a spiritual connection between removing a hand, foot, or eye, and the transformation to a little child in spirit. Each requires putting away the old ways of the world. Each requires a spiritual change of heart.

As each disciple considered changes required in their own lives, Jesus added, “For I say to you that in Heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father in Heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”
This reminded Luke of the angels in Heaven, and the communication they shared with men and women in the past. One of the first was Hagar, the Egyptian bond woman. Angels were also sent to Abraham and Jacob. To think, every child has an angel watching over them, and standing before God. This gave Luke a new outlook on his sins. They now appeared not to be secret at all. Luke thought about this throughout the evening. How can I put away these sins? How can I continue to sin when every one of them is brought before God in His holy court? Luke knew Jesus was the only one in the world with the answers to the questions filling his mind.

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