What does Jesus mean by saying we should "cut off our hand"?

In Matthew 18:18 are these verses to be understood as a warning against our “offending” others, as in Matthew 18:6-7?


The R.V. makes the meaning clear by its rendering, “If thy hand or thy foot CAUSETH THEE TO STUMBLE”, etc.. Verse 7 connects with the stumbling of others in v. 6, and then in vv. 8, 9 we are warned against cherishing anything which may be a cause of stumbling to ourselves.

It is interesting that the three members named, are those on which in our physical life we would rely to prevent us from stumbling—our feet to hold us up, our eyes to see anything in the way which might stumble us, and our hands in the last resort to grasp something if the feet should fail us. Yet in the spiritual realm, it is the faculties on which we trust that may prove our undoing. Eve’s feet carried her to the tree, her eyes saw that it was good for food, her hands took of it that she might eat. The man who has the best hands and feet and eyes is a man of ability, and such a one was the most likely to have caused the dispute as to who is greatest, which occasioned the Lord’s words in this chapter.

W.R.