7 Mar. Mark 9:42-43

7 Mar. Jesus teaches about children and 'hell'

"'If one of these little children believes in me, and someone causes that child to sin, it would be better for that person to have a large stone tied around his neck and be drowned in the sea.'"

"'If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to lose part of your body and live for ever than to have two hands and go to hell, where the fire never goes out.'"

          (Mark 9:42-43)

 

 

Two short verses today, but both full of meaning!

In the first, Jesus is scathing about those who cause children to turn away from God because of their own poor example. “If one of these little children believes in me, and someone causes that child to sin, it would be better for that person to have a large stone tied around his neck and be drowned in the sea” (Mark 9:42).

Jesus is talking here about millstones – large pieces of coarse-grained stone cut into a circular shape. One was placed on top of another and seeds of grain were ground into flour between the two stones.

In Jesus’s day, the top stone was usually turned using a wooden handle. If one of these heavy stones was tied around someone’s neck, drowning would be inevitable.

Jesus is saying, quite clearly, that it's OUR fault, as parents and adults, if children turn away from Jesus because of OUR attitudes and way of life.

In the second, Jesus teaches that people whose hands cause them to do wrong will end up in ‘hell’, “where the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:43).

This vivid picture of the consequences of wrongdoing is a reference to the smoke and flames commonly seen at that time in the Valley of Hinnom (or 'Gehenna') just outside the southern walls of Jerusalem – where Jerusalem’s refuse tip permanently smouldered all day and night.

In this picture of the Day of Judgement (see Revelation 21:1-4), those who do wrong will be cast out of the ‘New Jerusalem’ into ‘Gehenna’ (the Hebrew word used in Jesus’s day that is usually translated as ‘hell’ in our English Bibles), “where the fire never goes out”.

Both verses use vivid picture language for effect and aren't meant to be taken literally; but they both warn of the consequences to us and our families if Jesus isn't at the centre of our everyday lives!

The photo (by Ron Almog) shows the Valley of Hinnom ('Gehenna' or 'hell') in Jerusalem.

You can read more about Jesus's teaching @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/jesus-claims-gods-persona….


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