UNDERSTANDING MARK 9:42-50


Mark 9:42 – Jesus has emphasized that receiving lowly persons in Christ’s name means receiving him (read v 37). Now he warns against causing such people who believe in me to sin, that is, to lead them to disbelief or to transgression of God’s moral laws. Any who do this will receive severe punishment from. God (thrown into the sea). This warning applies to anyone who would seek to destroy the faith of a child or a new Christian.

Mark 9:42 – Jesus has emphasized that receiving lowly persons in Christ’s name means receiving him (read v 37). Now he warns against causing such people who believe in me to sin, that is, to lead them to disbelief or to transgression of God’s moral laws. Any who do this will receive severe punishment from. God (thrown into the sea). This warning applies to anyone who would seek to destroy the faith of a child or a new Christian.

Mark 9: 43-48 – Jesus uses hyperbole (intentional overstatement) to show the seriousness of sin and the fact that nothing, even things of greatest importance to humans such as a hand, foot, or eye, can be more important than God. “Hand,” “foot.” and “eye” probably also serve as metonymies (where one thing stands for something related to it) for sins that can be committed with these body parts. (E.g., the “hand” may represent theft or murder done by the hand; the “foot” may represent going somewhere to undertake a sinful act; the “eye” may represent coveting, lust, or adultery, as in Matt 5:27-30.) Of course, Jesus does not mean that people should literally cut off those body parts, for the literally removal of them cannot remove the root of sin in the heart (read Mark 7:20-23; 9:45). Jesus’ words serve as a sober warning concerning the severity of sin, which can lead to hell (Gk. gehenna; read Isa 66:24) and fire that is not quenched (read Mark 8:35-37; 9:47-48)

Mark 9:50 (Luke 14:34) – If salt has lost it’s taste. Most salt came from the Dead Sea and contained impurities (carnallite and gypsum). If not processed properly, it would have a poor taste and would be worse than useless, being unusable for food and creating a disposal problem. If the conditions of discipleship (vs 26-27, 33) are not kept, the disciples likewise become less than worthless (cf Rev 3:15-17).

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