I'm reminded of when the mini-skirt first came out and the preacher said that whoever looked would be struck blind. I used to walk around town with one eye closed because I was only willing to risk one eye! Not!
Jesus' point was that there was no excuse for sin and that his followers were to resist sin even to the point of shedding their own blood:
Heb 12:3 Think about the one who endured such hostility from sinners,
so that you may not become tired and give up. Heb 12:4 In your
struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of
shedding your blood.
This "no matter what" is illustrated in the way that S, M and A risked death rather than compromise:
Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King
Nebuchadnezzar, "It's not necessary for us to respond in this matter.
Dan 3:17 Your majesty, if it be his will, our God whom we serve can
deliver us from the blazing fire furnace, and he will deliver us from
you. Dan 3:18 But if not, rest assured, your majesty, that we won't
serve your gods, and we won't worship the golden statue that you have
Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine
heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at
Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. Act 21:14 And when he
would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be
Rom 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of [FOR] Christ? Shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or
danger, or sword? Rom 8:36 As it is written, "For your sake we are
being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be
slaughtered." Rom 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him who loved us.
And all the saints:
Rev_12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the
word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the
So the believer is to be willing to endure the loss of life and limb in order to be faithful to God.
But he goes even further suggesting that inflicting damage on one's own body is worth it if it keeps you from sin:
Mat 19:9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for
sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery." Mat 19:10
The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his
wife, it is better not to marry." Mat 19:11 But he said to them,
"Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is
given. Mat 19:12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth,
and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there
are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the
kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive
I'm reminded of the scene in a certain movie where the protagonist saws off their own thumb in order to escape handcuffs, so they will live. It was a difficult but wise choice.
But self mutilation was not the way he taught that people were to deal with sin in a general sense. Others, including Origen considered self-mutilation a duty:
The context of Jesus' teaching was that of contrasting "binding and loosing" with "obedience". He was saying that the law was not invalidated because what it demanded was inconvenient or "impractical" as he suggests the priests would opine:
Mat 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish [parse into do
this but don't worry about that] the Law or the Prophets; I have not
come to abolish [parse into do this but don't worry about that] them
but to fulfill them [restore their integrity]. Mat 5:18 For truly, I
say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot,
will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Mat 5:19 Therefore
whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches
others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven,
but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the
kingdom of heaven. Mat 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness
exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the
kingdom of heaven.
So his point is that obedience to the Torah was to be "perfect" like the father in the sky is perfect, not that temptation should routinely be remedied by self-mutilation.