Give Me a Hand

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Greetings, fellow disciples of Jesus,

Aron Ralston had a decision to make: cut off his arm or die.

You might remember Aron’s story from a few years ago—a climbing accident left him stranded with his arm literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. Dehydrated and facing certain death, he did the unimaginable: he cut off his arm and hiked out of the canyon where he received help.
It’s a remarkable story. Just how does one do that? One would have to be utterly convinced of the seriousness of the situation; that it was the only way to survive.
I cannot help but be reminded of Aron Ralston’s story every time I hear these words of Jesus:

“If your hand causes you to stumble,

cut it off;

it is better for you to enter life maimed

than to have two hands and to go to hell,

to the unquenchable fire.” – Mark 9:43

Jesus uses some strong—and hyperbolic!!!—language here. What’s He driving at?

Sin is serious. Deadly serious. And its consequences are not limited to this mortal life.
There’s a big difference between Jesus’ message and Aron Ralston’s experience; namely, that even if we would cut off our hand (or foot or eye, as Jesus goes on to say), that wouldn’t free us from sin. We’d just be sinners with one less hand!

If Jesus doesn’t actually expect or desire for us to sever limbs or tear out eyes, what does He want us to do? “Repent and believe the good news.” (Mark 1:15)
To repent is to take your sin seriously; to confess that you are a sinner in need of Jesus, the Savior. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus—the sinless Son of God—came to save sinners; to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

To believe the good news, then, is to trust in Jesus, crucified and risen from the dead for the forgiveness of your sins. This gift of faith serves to preserve us through the trials of life. It causes us to take our sin seriously.
This faith, in turn, causes us to use our hands and feet and eyes not to sin, but to serve our neighbor in the name of Jesus. May your hands and feet and eyes be so blessed today!

Serving alongside you in Jesus’ name,
Pastor Mike

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