Matthew 19

1-6: Rabbi’s seemed to fall into one of two camps: divorce for any reason or divorce for a cause. Sexual immorality was one cause. So were abandonment and abuse. Was Jesus suggesting that sexual immorality was the only cause? Or is he using it as an example from the contrary party? I think that he was using it as an example, and that he was stressing that there needed to be a legitimate reason for divorcing someone, not just burning a meal (as the divorce for any reason camp taught).

7-12: Jesus also stressed the problem with breaking your vows for just any reason, and the disciples saw that as a discouragement for marriage. Jesus’ response seems to indicate two things: that it’s natural to marry, but that singleness is a good option if you can keep yourself from sexual immorality.

13-15: Jesus again reminds us of the importance of becoming like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven. The disciples try to stop parents from bringing their children to Jesus for prayer, but Jesus not only allows it, He encourages it, and uses them as an example: “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

16-26: Finally, Jesus teaches us something about riches. A man comes to him and wants to know how to inherit eternal life. He calls Jesus good, and Jesus confronts him about it. He could be trying to butter Jesus up, or he could be sincere and Jesus is encouraging him to think about what he just said! But he is self righteous, and Jesus, who knows everything, challenges him. The man most likely thinks that he is already righteous precisely because of his wealth. After all, if God is blessing him with wealth, he must be okay. In effect he is trusting in his wealth, and Jesus tells him to get rid of it because he needs to trust in God. The disciples are flabbergasted. Wealth isn’t a measure of righteousness? Then who can go to heaven?!?!? Jesus replies that it can’t be a result of human effort. It has to be done by God! Peter’s question may indicate pride or uncertainty. He could be saying, “If the rich can’t make it, how can we?” Jesus assures them that they have a special reward, but also indicates that all who follow Him will not only inherit eternal life, but will be rewarded for their sacrifices. The rewards could be heavenly or temporal. When we believe we enter into a family of mutual caring and support and we have a hundredfold more than we had before! The final reminder is to not be like the rich ruler who prioritized earthly things, but to instead look at those things with disdain and reap the blessings of the kingdom: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

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