May 29, 2007

On Matthew 5:27-30

Jesus is obviously talking about lust in this short passage and He uses some harsh words to talk about this particular sin. For right now, I'm not going to comment on the lust part of this passage partly because I think Jesus makes the point pretty clear but mostly because I want to focus on verses 29 & 30. Now, if you are like me, the first time I read this I was thinking how unfortunate it would be to gouge out my eye or cut off my hand. We have to be careful not to take things we read in Scripture literally that aren't meant to be taken literally. Jesus is talking figuratively but using very strong images to convey the ugliness of sin and in this particular case, lust.

So before you go and gouge your eyes out or cut off your hands, think about this... 1) Jesus is making the point that we need to cut ourselves off from things that cause us to sin, even if it hurts at first. I think a great example of this could be a relationship we find ourselves in that causes us to sin in some way. Not necessarily lust but maybe this friend or whoever is causing you or pressuring you to drink, do drugs, lie, cheat, steal, etc etc. This would be where we need to "cut" ourselves off even though it may hurt at first. The point Jesus is trying to make is that nothing is worth falling into sin which then leads to death, not even our "eye" or "hand". What is it in your life that you need to cut yourself away from in order to avoid a particular sin? 2) If this was to be taken literally, we would all be running around bloodied and blind, which wouldn't get us much of anywhere at all. And the last reason why I don't think Jesus is talking literally here is 3) Blind people can still lust.