Adult Sunday School

Radical Discipleship ~ Mark 9:42-50

Radical: (adj)

  1. (especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
  2. advocating or based on thorough or complete political or social change;

Mark 9:42-50 Previously, in chapter 9, Jesus had been training his disciples, and in this section Mark continues discussing these radical lessons. And Jesus’ lessons were radical: repent and turn from sin, believe, receive forgiveness, deny self, be willing to forsake family ties, forfeit money and control, as well as be willing to die. Verses 42-50 describe four radical teachings:

  1. Radical Love (vs. 42) “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” Jesus protects His people and expects us to treat believers like we would treat Him (Mark 9:37). We should look out for others and not entice them to sin by direct temptation (Philippians 2:3-4, Proverbs 7:6-23). We should not provoke our children (Ephesians 6:4). We should not set a bad example (Romans 14:13, 14:21, 15:1-3), or even fail to stimulate each other to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).
  2. Radical Purity (vs. 43, 45, 47, 48) Purity is so important that it is better to cut off the offending body part and be handicapped than to be whole and go to hell (Romans 8:13, Colossians 3:5, Titus 2:12, 1 Peter 2:11). The verses use the examples of hand, foot, and eye because what we do, where we go, and what we see affects our soul, however, it is just an illustration; you can still sin without the specified body part.
  3. Radical Sacrifice (vs. 49) “For everyone will be salted with fire.” Salt was added to sacrifices as enduring faithfulness. (Leviticus 2:13) Salt is a preservative and added to grain offerings symbolizing total devotion to the Lord.
  4. Radical Obedience (vs. 50) tells us that salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, what should we do? How would it do that? Perhaps by being mixed with impurities, or sin, which is an indicator of disobedience. Therefore, radical obedience is necessary.

Radical discipleship seems radical to the church today because it is not superficial. Repent and turn from sin, give up stuff including family ties, hate our own lives, lose our own lives, and forsake everything are all radical ideas. If we take this seriously we are called fanatics. But if we engage in radical discipleship we can be radical witnesses for Christ.


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