Mark 9:42-50 42 “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. 43 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. 45 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. 47 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, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 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.”
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
1. Study through Mark 9:42-50 together. Does anything stand out to you?
The word translated “sin” in this passage is the Greek word skandalizō and is where we get our word scandal. This word means 1) “to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way, upon which another may trip and fall” 2) “to entice/tempt to sin” 3) “to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust & obey.”
2. How does this help us understand more specifically what Jesus is talking about?
3. What does verse 42 teach us about Jesus’ love for little ones (children, as well as the weak, vulnerable, and defenseless)?
The word translated “hell” in this passage is the Greek word Gehenna. Gehenna was the city dump of Jerusalem, where trash was constantly burned. It was a nasty place; a terrible place. “It came to be seen as a metaphor for the fire of hell” (ESV Study Bible). A serious image to communicate a serious truth.
4. What sobering truths do we learn about hell in verses 43-48?
In verses 43-48, Jesus is saying something like this: “Whatever’s keeping you from entrusting yourself completely to Me—even if it’s as dear to you as your hand or foot or eye—it must be lopped off; it must be torn out!”
5. What do you think would be some answers given if you asked people who aren’t Christian’s these questions: “What is it that’s keeping you from turning from your sin and trusting in Jesus and what He’s done? What’s keeping you from entrusting yourself to Him by turning from your sin and following Him?”
6. What about you personally? What is it that makes you wander? What is it that takes your eyes off Jesus? What is in the way of persevering?
7. How does James 2:14-17 help us better understand what Jesus says in Mark 9:50?
“Have you ever asked yourself where you will be a hundred years from now? You will be somewhere and you will be conscious. You will either be among the damned or in the state where joy never ends and felicity is never dampened, where your eyes will behold the beautiful vision of the loveliness of Christ forever. If it takes the loss of a hand, a foot, or an eye to make sure you are there, the trade is worth it many times over.”
– R.C. Sproul
- Sermon audio mp3 (listen)
- Sermon audio mp3 (download)
- Subscribe or stream sermons from iTunes
- SERMON NOTES stumbling to hell
- CG DISCUSSION stumbling to hell