Mark 9.42-48 – Sexual Discipline and Child Molesters, of which there is no hope

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In a recent class, I heard someone say that the bible doesn’t speak to sexual ethics. I was, well, stunned. How utterly stupid. But, I digress. One of the many helpful insights which I found in the NOAB NRSV are snippets of information such as this:

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mar 9:42-50 NRS)

According to rabbinical language, Christ is speaking to sexual discipline. You can find more of the explanation here. (Actually, at that link, there are a lot of good thoughts about sexual discipline, but I don’t feel like exploring them at the moment)

Of particular note is v42 which speaks to children. The NOAB notes that rabbinical literature has the same language and it is speaking of sexual abuse of children.

I notice something here. Of the other sexual sins (read the link), there is a remedy, but of child molesters, Christ condemns them to the justice of the waters of chaos which ceases to exist in the New Creation:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. (Rev 21:1 NLT)

(Although I admit that I may in fact be confusing authors and their cosmology, regardless…)

Christ doesn’t give them a remedy, unlike he does other sexual sins.

So does love actually win? For everyone?

 

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Post By Joel Watts (9,928 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, working on the use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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7 thoughts on Mark 9.42-48 – Sexual Discipline and Child Molesters, of which there is no hope

  1. Consider psalm 69 among others. Even Jonah gets the point about destruction. You seem not to have identified the power of the death of Jesus for the stilling of the sea. Abuse was rampant and publicized over the past 50 years during the destruction of the assumptions of Christendom. It is a product of the abuse of power that comes out of colonialization and other things and of course it comes from turmoil and failures of the generation that produced the abuser. There are many who have no idea what is accomplished by Jesus in his work of redemption.

    A full perfect and sufficient sacrifice oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Anything less and you have nothing.

    • Bob, I hear you and I feel that we may agree about the work of Christ being superior to that of any words of man, but what about Christ in this passage? How are we to interpret His interpreters here?

    • Yes. Is Mark, here, trying to force something?

      Although much of this is rhetorical, I guess my point is, would Mark have seen child molesters safe?

  2. I don’t see any necessary relationship between the texts at the link and what God teaches to those that are in Christ. What does the NT say about lust and those things that harm others? “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh and its desires.” It is then God who teaches about the body. If anyone learns from God, even if they were dead they will live, and anyone who is disabled will be fully healed. There is no need to say there is no hope for such a person.

    God sits in the flood (psalm 29) so if anyone get thrown in with a millstone you can be sure they can call out from the grave as Jonah did. I grew up in a thoroughly abusive place. I do not wish destruction for my abuser. He has died now, but he was himself a tortured man. God does not teach such torture.

    With all the healing stories in the NT, this is what one ought to think about rather than the custom of some, to point out other people’s trouble.

    The destruction recorded in the Gospels is the same teaching that is in the psalms. No one can get away with abuse whether of power or anything else. But all can call for help when they come to their senses and all benefit from the power of the completed work of Jesus

  3. Hashem says – that’s enough – I posted that comment on a small computer when my hand hit the wrong part of the mouse pad. So he posted it for me :0

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