Loving God, please give me more grace to receive what You want to say to me today.
Read Mark 9:42–50
Causing to Stumble
42 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.  [a] 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.  [b] 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where
“‘the worms that eat them do not die,
and the fire is not quenched.’[c]
49 Everyone will be salted with fire.
50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
a Mark 9:44 Some manuscripts include here the words of verse 48.
b Mark 9:46 Some manuscripts include here the words of verse 48.
c Mark 9:48 Isaiah 66:24
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectNot all the words of Jesus are comfortable to our ears. Which of His words do you find very challenging?
Salt is used both to preserve food and to make it tasty. When used about believers it speaks about the distinctiveness of our Christian witness. Servants of Christ are called to live holy lives, and three ways are mentioned here.
Be gentle towards children (42). Young ones must not be bullied, abused or mistreated in any way. Anyone who leads the little ones astray sins in a serious way and will suffer for it. The mention of a millstone here is an example of Eastern hyperbole (of which this passage is full) – deliberate exaggeration to make a point.
Be firm towards yourself (43–48). More figurative language here, thankfully not to be taken literally (we would all be maimed), but definitely seriously. The point is we are to deal radically with any avenue that allows sin into our lives. We need to take care of our hands (what we do), feet (where we go) and eyes (what we look at). Who wants to find themselves shut out of God’s presence?
Be peaceful towards each other (49, 50). Our true distinctive is to live well together, free from rivalry or selfish ambition. When we love one another our witness becomes really attractive.
Consider prayerfully these three pathways to holy living. How are you doing in each area? Is your life distinctive with the favor of Christ?
Jesus, I want those around me to sense the presence of the Lord through my life. Make me more like You.
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