Q&A: What did Jesus mean in Matthew 5:30?

What did Jesus mean in Matthew 5:30?

Question

What did Jesus mean in Matthew 5:30?

Answer

In Matthew 5:30, Jesus was using graphic language to emphasize the terrors of hell. Specifically, he was saying that going to hell is worse that being dismembered. His point was that people should do everything they can to avoid hell, specifically by avoiding the sin that gets us sent there.

His instruction, however, was hyperbolic. He didn't really want anyone to cut off a hand or pluck out an eye. Rather, he wanted them to avoid sin like the plague, and he wanted them to avoid the things that caused them to sin. To confirm this, simply note the many other hyperbolic statements in the immediate context (e.g., Matt. 5:22), as well as the fact that of all the sinners Jesus encountered, he healed many but helped none perform an amputation.

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.