30 – Different Servants
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
- Millstone: Huge circular flat stone used to crush grain
- Quenched: Put out, extinguished
Why is sin such a serious thing?
Have you ever judged another Christian because they do some things differently to you?
We are often judgemental of other people if they do not do things in exactly the same way as we do. We like to think that we have the answer to everything, and therefore, we doubt people who behave differently.
At the end of Mark 9:30-37 Jesus said it is important to welcome even little children in his name. John is astonished at the suggestion that they ought to accept everyone. Therefore, he tells Jesus about the way in which he and the disciples have prevented a man from helping people in the name of Jesus Christ because he wasn’t one of them. But that man was successfully doing great things in the name of Jesus, because he had believed in him. The disciples were trying to restrict who was allowed to follow Jesus.
Jesus responds by saying, if someone is not an enemy to God’s work, then they are on the same side. The disciples were trying to hinder someone who believed in Jesus. This is a serious sin which makes it difficult for the other person to follow Jesus. The reason that sin is so serious is because it leads to hell, which is a terrible place. It is a place of pain and suffering which needs to be avoided. There is nothing more important than making sure that you don’t go there – even if it means cutting parts of your body off. Of course, Jesus doesn’t expect us to do this in reality because it is our heart that causes us to sin, not our eyes, nor our hands and feet. Since we are not able to tear our heart out, we need God to give us a new one. After this has happened, it will be possible for us to cut out the things in our life which lead us into sin.
At the end of time every one of us is going to be judged by God. If we want to be accepted by God, then we must be pure inside. Like salt keeps things pure, we must be washed clean by Jesus Christ. Without this we will be like salt which has lost its saltiness – impure and good for nothing but to be destroyed in the fire. One sign that God is really at work in our life is that we do not hinder others who depend on Jesus Christ, but that we live in peace with them.
In what ways can you get rid of sin in your life?
What effect should thinking about the reality of hell have on us?
thanking Jesus for suffering hell on the cross, so that you don’t have to.