Numbers 11:25-29; James 5:1-6; Mark 9:38-43.45.47-48
John said to Jesus, «Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us.» Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not 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 put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Mark 9:38-43.45.47-48
Jesus makes what seems to be a strange suggestion. He tells us to dismember ourselves rather than allow sin to cast us into hell. Obviously, he is not commanding us to do self-mutilation. This would be morally wrong, because Christianity teaches respect for the body. We are stewards for all that God has given us. Christ challenges us to radical spiritual "surgery" to our sense of values. We must root out all that entices us away from God and from heaven. This implies not mortification, but modification of what we want out of life. Instant pleasures bring long-term suffering. (By R. Lonsdale)
Letter of James 5:1-6
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.