And if your hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell…
The mutilation of the body ordered by Jesus Christ. As Lord of the body He has the right to issue such requirements; common sense tells us that they cannot be meant to be without exception. His "if" prefacing each instance is enough to prove that He does not make them binding on everybody who enters His army. The soldier in the battle, having on the whole armour of God, does not need to be told to mutilate himself. He is not obstructed by wrongful occupation with any of the prominent members of his body.
I. A due consideration of the three-fold repetition will show THAT ALL OF US ARE SOMEHOW AFFECTED. Jesus means to single out every person who feels reluctant to give his all up to Him as Lord and Saviour.
II. THAT THESE ORDERS CANNOT REQUIRE MUTILATION OF THE BODILY FRAME. The hand, the foot, and the eye are nothing, except as they are the instruments of a person. What benefit could there be in cutting off, in plucking out, merely a member of the body? He would be utterly unfit to be a judge who sentenced the umbrella, which thrust out a man's eye, to six months' imprisonment, and let the man who pushed the umbrella go free! He would be counted more idiotic than an idiot who found fault with the door of the cellar down whose steps he had fallen, and not with the careless servant who had left the door open. When you had cut off a hand, you might still wish to do the unworthy action which your hand would have carried out. When you had plucked out an eye, your imagination might still revel amid the unholy things which the eye would have gloated on.
III. The Lord backs up His appeal for our energetic action with an exhibition of THE AWFUL LAW UNDER WHICH OUR NATURE IS CONSTITUTED. The word, which is translated "hell fire" is Gehenna. It was the name given to a narrow valley close to Jerusalem. Offal and filth were usually thrown into it, and fires were lighted in it to burn all the sorts of refuse which were consumable. So the sinner is separated from the society of Jerusalem, and cast into corruption; he is exposed to burning now, and if not converted from the error of his ways, will go into corruption and fire hereafter.
(D. G. Watt, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: