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Christian Ministry Professionals
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor
The Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost
Option #1: "The Little
Things are the Big Things"
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.D., M.Div.
I. "Little" acts of kindness are given as to Christ himself--v41, Matt 25:40
II. Some sins look "little" but they are dangerous--v42ff, Gal 5:24-25, Rom 14:13ff, 1 Cor 8:10-13
A. Causing someone to sin--International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: for skandalizo˘, skandalon, translated in the King James Version, "offend," "offence," the Revised Version (British and American) gives "cause to stumble," "stumbling-block," etc.; thus, Mt 5:29, "if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble," i.e., "is an occasion for thy falling into sin"; Mt 16:23, "Thou art a stumbling-block unto me," an occasion of turning aside from the right path; in Mt 26:31, 33 twice, "offended" is retained, margin, 26:33 twice, "caused to stumble" (same word in 26:31); Mk 9:42, "whosoever shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble," to fall away from the faith, or fall into sin; Lk 17:1
B. Your hand, your foot, your eyes can cause the loss of your immortal soul
Definitions are from Thayer's Greek Definitions unless otherwise indicated:
Pote˘rion: 1) a cup, a drinking vessel; 2) metaphorically, ones lot or experience, whether joyous or adverse; divine appointments, whether favourable or unfavourable, are likened to a cup which God presents one to drink: so of prosperity and adversity
Potizo˘: 1) to give to drink, to furnish drink; 2) to water, irrigate (plants, fields etc.); 3) metaphorically, to imbue, saturate ones mind
Geenna: 1) Hell is the place of the future punishment call "Gehenna" or "Gehenna of fire." This was originally the valley of Hinnom, south of Jerusalem, where the filth and dead animals of the city were cast out and burned; a fit symbol of the wicked and their future destruction.
Monophthalmos: 1) deprived of one eye, having one eye;
Skandalizo˘: 1) to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall; metaphorically, to offend; 1a) to entice to sin; 1b) to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey
Richard Lenski writes about this "hard saying" of Jesus: skandalizoo always denotes spiritual destruction, as an animal is caught by touching the bait affixed to the crooked stick in a trap. The sense is "Whoever destroys a child or a child-like believer spiritually incurs the greatest wrath of Jesus."
Let no one deceive himself by thinking that only one of the "little ones" is destroyed or hurt, only a child or a humble believer. Jesus has indicated how precious they are in his sight, for what is done for them is as if it were done to himself (v37). This is a word that should awaken all of us, parents, pastors, teachers, and all who hold positions of influence. (Interpretation of St. Mark's Gospel, p400)
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Children's Message on Mark 9:42
Visual aids: one or two pictures of a mouse; a mousetrap, preferably a larger one, so that the children can see the "skandalon," the trigger of the trap.
This is one of Jesus "hard sayings." He says many things that comfort us, but this one frightens us. Its for the big people in your life--your parents, your teachers, your pastor--anyone who could set an example for you to follow.
He says that if we say or do something to cause you to sin, it would be better if we thrown into the sea with a big rock around our neck, rather than be able to do that over and over again. Jesus says these things because sin can get us in a lot of trouble--not just in this life, but forever, if it leads us away from Him as our Savior. Sin can get me in a lot of trouble all by itself, but if I cause you to sin its a whole lot worse.
(Show picture) Whose pictures do we see here? These mice look a little different than the mice in your house, but you get the idea. (Show trap) What is this? Do you know how it works? You put a piece of cheese or peanut butter on the bait place here, then you fold this back and set the trap. When the mouse takes the bait, he gets a bad pain in the neck when the trap comes down on him.
Sin is like the bait on the trap. It looks good, it smells good, it tastes good, but you risk everything to get it. When one of the older people in your life sin, they dont know it, but they are setting a trap for you. If they swear around you, it makes Gods name cheap. If they lie, you might think its alright to lie. If they think other things are more important than hearing Gods Word, you are tempted to believe that you can get along without it.
Heres what I want you to remember about this: 1) The big people in your life are sinful and they will sin where you can see or hear them. 2) While you maybe cant avoid seeing or hearing their sin, you dont have to take the bait off of the trap and get yourself in trouble.
Jesus died for us not only so that we could be forgiven of our sins but also so that sin would no longer have power over us. So you dont have to sin because you see someone else sin. Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit to help us avoid sin. You wouldnt want to be a mouse caught in the trap. You dont want to get caught in sins trap either.
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Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM