Matthew Chapter Nineteen
Chapter 19 carries on the subject of the spirit that is suited to the kingdom of heaven, and goes deep into the principles which govern human nature, and of what was now divinely introduced. A question asked by the Pharisees-for the Lord had drawn nigh to Judea-gives rise to the exposition of His doctrine on marriage; and turning away from the law, given on account of the hardness of their hearts, He goes back  to God's institution, according to which one man and one woman were to unite together, and to be one in the sight of God. He establishes, or rather re-establishes, the true character of the indissoluble bond of marriage. I call it indissoluble, for the exception of the case of unfaithfulness, is not one; the guilty person had already broken the bond. It was no longer man and woman one flesh. At the same time, if God gave spiritual power for it, it was still better to remain unmarried.
He then renews His instruction with respect to children, while testifying His affection for them: here it appears to me rather in connection with the absence of all that binds to the world, to its distractions and its lusts, and owning what is lovely, confiding, and externally undefiled in nature; whereas, in chapter 18, it was the intrinsic character of the kingdom. After this, He shews (with reference to the introduction of the kingdom in His Person) the nature of entire devotedness and sacrifice of all things, in order to follow Him, if truly they only sought to please God. The spirit of the world was opposed at all points,-both carnal passions and riches. No doubt the law of Moses restrained these passions; but it supposes them, and, in some respects, bears with them. According to the glory of the world, a child had no value. What power can it have there? It is of value in the Lord's eyes.
The law promised life to the man that kept it. The Lord makes it simple and practical in its requirements, or, rather, recalls them in their true simplicity. Riches were not forbidden by the law; that is to say, although moral obligation between man and man was maintained by the law, that which bound the heart to the world was not judged by it. Rather was prosperity, according to the government of God, connected with obedience to it. For it supposed this world, and man alive in it, and tested him there. Christ recognises this; but the motives of the heart are tested. The law was spiritual, and, the Son of God there; we find again what we found before-man tested and detected, and God revealed. All is intrinsic and eternal in its nature, for God is revealed already. Christ judges everything that has a bad effect on the heart, and acts upon its selfishness, and thus separates it from God. "Sell that thou hast," says He, "and follow me." Alas! the young man could not renounce his possessions, his ease, himself. "Hardly," says Jesus, "shall a rich man enter into the kingdom." This was manifest: it was the kingdom of God, of heaven; self and the world had no place in it. The disciples, who did not understand that there is no good in man, were astonished that one so favoured and well disposed should be still far from salvation. Who then could succeed? The whole truth then comes out. It is impossible to men. They cannot overcome the desires of the flesh. Morally, and as to his will and his affections, these desires are the man. One cannot make a negro white, or take his spots from the leopard: that which they exhibit is in their nature. But to God, blessed be His name! all things are possible.
These instructions with regard to riches give rise to Peter's question, What shall be the portion of those who have renounced everything? This brings us back to the glory in chapter 17. There would be a regeneration; the state of things should be entirely renewed under the dominion of the Son of man. At that time they should sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. They should have the first place in the administration of the earthly kingdom. Every one, however, should have his own place; for whatever any one renounced for Jesus' sake, he should receive a hundredfold and everlasting life. Nevertheless these things would not be decided by appearance here; nor by the place men held in the old system, and before men: some that were first should be last, and the last first. In fact, it was to be feared that the carnal heart of man would take this encouragement, given in the shape of reward for all his labour and all his sacrifices, in a mercenary spirit, and seek to make God his debtor; and, therefore, in the parable by which the Lord continues His discourse (chap. 20), He establishes the principle of grace and of God's sovereignty in that which He gives, and towards those whom He calls, in a very distinct manner, and makes His gifts to those whom He brings into His vineyard depend on His grace and on His call.
 The connection is here traced between the new thing and nature, as God had originally formed it, passing over the law as something merely come between. It was a new power, because evil had come in, but it recognised God's creation, while proving the state of the heart, not yielding to its weakness. Sin has corrupted what God created good. The power of the Spirit of God, given to us through redemption, raises man and his path wholly out of the whole condition of flesh, introduces a new divine power by which he walks in this world, after the example of Christ. But with this there is the fullest sanction of what God Himself originally established. It is good, though there may be what is better. The way the law is passed over to go back to God's original institution, where spiritual power did not take the heart wholly out of the whole scene, though walking in it, is very striking. In marriage, the child, the character of the young man, what is of God and lovely in nature is recognised of the Lord. But the state of man's heart is searched out. This does not depend on character but motive, and is fully tested by Christ (there is an entire dispensational change, for riches were promised to a faithful Jew), and a rejected Christ-the path to heaven-everything, and the test of everything, that is of the heart of man. God made man upright with certain family relationships. Sin has wholly corrupted this old or first creation of man. The coming of the Holy Ghost has brought in a power which lifts, in the second Man, out of the old creation into the new, and gives us heavenly things-only not yet as to the vessel, the body; but it cannot disown or condemn what God created in the beginning. That is impossible. In the beginning God made them. When we come to heavenly condition, all this, though not the fruits of its exercises in grace, disappears. If a man in the power of the Holy Ghost has the gift to do it, and be entirely heavenly, so much the better; but it is entirely evil to condemn or speak against the relationships which God originally created, or diminish or detract from the authority which God has connected with them. If a man can live wholly above and out of them all, to serve Christ, it is all well; but it is rare and exceptional.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Matthew》
Jesus enters Judea. (1,2) The Pharisees' question about divorces. (3-12) Young children brought to Jesus. (13-15) The rich young man's inquiry. (16-22) The recompence of Christ's followers. (23-30)
Commentary on Matthew 19:1,2
(Read Matthew 19:1,2)
Great multitudes followed Christ. When Christ departs, it is best for us to follow him. They found him as able and ready to help elsewhere, as he had been in Galilee; wherever the Sun of Righteousness arose, it was with healing in his wings.
Commentary on Matthew 19:3-12
(Read Matthew 19:3-12)
The Pharisees were desirous of drawing something from Jesus which they might represent as contrary to the law of Moses. Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before they ask for advice. Jesus replied by asking whether they had not read the account of the creation, and the first example of marriage; thus pointing out that every departure therefrom was wrong. That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and kept to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to prepare us for, and preserve us to, the kingdom of heaven. When the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected, to consider their peace and happiness more than their own. As to ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by laws, from breaking the peace of society. And we learn that the married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and earnest prayer.
Commentary on Matthew 19:13-15
(Read Matthew 19:13-15)
It is well when we come to Christ ourselves, and bring our children. Little children may be brought to Christ as needing, and being capable of receiving blessings from him, and having an interest in his intercession. We can but beg a blessing for them: Christ only can command the blessing. It is well for us, that Christ has more love and tenderness in him than the best of his disciples have. And let us learn of him not to discountenance any willing, well-meaning souls, in their seeking after Christ, though they are but weak. Those who are given to Christ, as part of his purchase, he will in no wise cast out. Therefore he takes it ill of all who forbid, and try to shut out those whom he has received. And all Christians should bring their children to the Saviour that he may bless them with spiritual blessings.
Commentary on Matthew 19:16-22
(Read Matthew 19:16-22)
Christ knew that covetousness was the sin which most easily beset this young man; though he had got honestly what he possessed, yet he could not cheerfully part with it, and by this his want of sincerity was shown. Christ's promises make his precepts easy, and his yoke pleasant and very comfortable; yet this promise was as much a trial of the young man's faith, as the precept was of his charity and contempt of the world. It is required of us in following Christ, that we duly attend his ordinances, strictly follow his pattern, and cheerfully submit to his disposals; and this from love to him, and in dependence on him. To sell all, and give to the poor, will not serve, but we are to follow Christ. The gospel is the only remedy for lost sinners. Many abstain from gross vices who do not attend to their obligations to God. Thousands of instances of disobedience in thought, word, and deed, are marked against them in the book of God. Thus numbers forsake Christ, loving this present world: they feel convictions and desires, but they depart sorrowful, perhaps trembling. It behoves us to try ourselves in these matters, for the Lord will try us.
Commentary on Matthew 19:23-30
(Read Matthew 19:23-30)
Though Christ spoke so strongly, few that have riches do not trust in them. How few that are poor are not tempted to envy! But men's earnestness in this matter is like their toiling to build a high wall to shut themselves and their children out of heaven. It should be satisfaction to those who are in a low condition, that they are not exposed to the temptations of a high and prosperous condition. If they live more hardly in this world than the rich, yet, if they get more easily to a better world, they have no reason to complain. Christ's words show that it is hard for a rich man to be a good Christian, and to be saved. The way to heaven is a narrow way to all, and the gate that leads into it, a strait gate; particularly so to rich people. More duties are expected from them than from others, and more sins easily beset them. It is hard not to be charmed with a smiling world. Rich people have a great account to make up for their opportunities above others. It is utterly impossible for a man that sets his heart upon his riches, to get to heaven. Christ used an expression, denoting a difficulty altogether unconquerable by the power of man. Nothing less than the almighty grace of God will enable a rich man to get over this difficulty. Who then can be saved? If riches hinder rich people, are not pride and sinful lusts found in those not rich, and as dangerous to them? Who can be saved? say the disciples. None, saith Christ, by any created power. The beginning, progress, and perfecting the work of salvation, depend wholly on the almighty power of God, to which all things are possible. Not that rich people can be saved in their worldliness, but that they should be saved from it. Peter said, We have forsaken all. Alas! it was but a poor all, only a few boats and nets; yet observe how Peter speaks, as if it had been some mighty thing. We are too apt to make the most of our services and sufferings, our expenses and losses, for Christ. However, Christ does not upbraid them; though it was but little that they had forsaken, yet it was their all, and as dear to them as if it had been more. Christ took it kindly that they left it to follow him; he accepts according to what a man hath. Our Lord's promise to the apostles is, that when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, he will make all things new, and they shall sit with him in judgement on those who will be judged according to their doctrine. This sets forth the honour, dignity, and authority of their office and ministry. Our Lord added, that every one who had forsaken possessions or comforts, for his sake and the gospel, would be recompensed at last. May God give us faith to rest our hope on this his promise; then we shall be ready for every service or sacrifice. Our Saviour, in the last verse, does away a mistake of some. The heavenly inheritance is not given as earthly ones are, but according to God's pleasure. Let us not trust in promising appearances or outward profession. Others may, for aught we know, become eminent in faith and holiness.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Matthew》
 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
Multitudes followed him, and he healed them there — That is, wheresoever they followed him.
 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
The Pharisees came tempting him — Trying to make him contradict Moses.
For every cause — That is, for any thing which he dislikes in her. This the scribes allowed.
 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
He said, Have ye not read — So instead of contradicting him, our Lord confutes them by the very words of Moses.
He who made them, made them male and female from the beginning — At least from the beginning of the Mosaic creation. And where do we read of any other? Does it not follow, that God's making Eve was part of his original design, and not a consequence of Adam's beginning to fall? By making them one man and one woman, he condemned polygamy: by making them one flesh, he condemned divorce.
 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
And said — By the mouth of Adam, who uttered the words. Genesis 2:24.
 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
Why did Moses command — Christ replies, Moses permitted (not commanded) it, because of the hardness of your hearts - Because neither your fathers nor you could bear the more excellent way. Deuteronomy 24:1; Mark 10:2; Luke 16:18.
 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
And I say to you — I revoke that indulgence from this day, so that from henceforth, Whosoever, etc..
 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
But he said to them — This is not universally true; it does not hold, with regard to all men, but with regard to those only to whom is given this excellent gift of God. Now this is given to three sorts of persons to some by natural constitution, without their choice: to others by violence, against their choice; and to others by grace with their choice: who steadily withstand their natural inclinations, that they may wait upon God without distraction.
 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
There are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake — Happy they! who have abstained from marriage (though without condemning or despising it) that they might walk more closely with God! He that is able to receive it, let him receive it - This gracious command (for such it is unquestionably, since to say, such a man may live single, is saying nothing. Who ever doubted this?) is not designed for all men: but only for those few who are able to receive it. O let these receive it joyfully!
 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
That he should lay his hands on them — This was a rite which was very early used, in praying for a blessing on young persons. See Genesis 48:14,20.
 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Of such is the kingdom of heaven — Little children, either in a natural or spiritual sense, have a right to enter into my kingdom. Matthew 18:3.
 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Why callest thou me good — Whom thou supposest to be only a man.
There is none good — Supremely, originally, essentially, but God.
If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments — From a principle of loving faith. Believe, and thence love and obey. And this undoubtedly is the way to eternal life. Our Lord therefore does not answer ironically, which had been utterly beneath his character, but gives a plain, direct, serious answer to a serious question.
 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Exodus 20:12. etc.
 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
The young man saith, All these have I kept from my childhood — So he imagined; and perhaps he had, as to the letter; but not as to the spirit, which our Lord immediately shows.
 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
If thou desirest to be perfect — That is, to be a real Christian: Sell what thou hast - He who reads the heart saw his bosom sin was love of the world; and knew he could not be saved from this, but by literally renouncing it. To him therefore he gave this particular direction, which he never designed for a general rule. For him that was necessary to salvation: to us it is not. To sell all was an absolute duty to him; to many of us it would be ali absolute sin.
The young man went away — Not being willing to have salvation at so high a price.
 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, (a proverbial expression,) than for a rich man to go through the strait gate: that is, humanly speaking, it is an absolute impossibility. Rich man! tremble! feel this impossibility; else thou art lost for ever!
 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
His disciples were amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? — If rich men, with all their advantages, cannot? Who? A poor man; a peasant; a beggar: ten thousand of them, sooner than one that is rich.
 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Jesus looking upon them — To compose their hurried spirits. O what a speaking look was there! Said to them - With the utmost sweetness: With men this is impossible - It is observable, he does not retract what he had said: no, nor soften it in the least degree, but rather strengthens it, by representing the salvation of a rich man as the utmost effort of Omnipotence.
 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
In the renovation — In the final renovation of all things: Ye shall sit - In the beginning of the judgment they shall stand, 2 Corinthians 5:10. Then being absolved, they shall sit with the Judge, 1 Corinthians 6:2: On twelve thrones - So our Lord promised, without expressing any condition: yet as absolute as the words are, it is certain there is a condition implied, as in many scriptures, where none is expressed. In consequence of this, those twelve did not sit on those twelve thrones: for the throne of Judas another took, so that he never sat thereon.
 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
And every one — In every age and country; not you my apostles only; That hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or wife, or children - Either by giving any of them up, when they could not be retained with a clear conscience or by willingly refraining from acquiring them: Shall receive a hundred-fold - In value, though not in kind, even in the present world.
 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
But many first — Many of those who were first called, shall be last - Shall have the lowest reward: those who came after them being preferred before them: and yet possibly both the first and the last may be saved, though with different degrees of glory. Matthew 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Matthew》
Chapter 19. Follow Jesus
First Will Be Last
Last Will Be First
I. Forbid Divorce
II. Little Children Enter the Kingdom of heaven
III. The Rich Young Man Leaves in Sorrow
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Jesus On Divorce, Remarriage, & Celibacy (19:1-12)
1. A serious problem in the world today is that of divorce and
2. As described by God, divorce is a treacherous, violent act - cf. Mal
a. Its affect on children has been well documented by Judith
Wallerstein, author of Second Chance (Ticknor & Fields, 1988)
1) Almost half of children of divorces enter adulthood as
worried, under-achieving, self-deprecating, and sometimes
angry young men and women
2) Half grew up in settings in which the parents were warring
with each other even after the divorce
-- Reported in Time,
b. Parents who divorce are not left unhurt either
1) "A divorce is like an amputation: You survive, but there's
less of you." - Margaret Atwood (Marriage Partnership, Vol.
7, No. 4)
2) Average percentage change in a woman's standard of living the
year following a divorce: minus 73% -Daniel Evan Weiss, (The
Great Divide, Poseidon Press, 1991)
3. Remarriage after divorce is not without it problems also...
a. It does not always heal the wounds inflicted by the divorce: "I'm
lucky my parents have stayed together. Unlike so many of my
friends, I've never had to cry on a holiday." - Tales Out of High
School. Marriage Partnership, Vol. 5, no. 6
b. Many remarriages are unlawful in God's eyes, constituting what
Jesus called "adultery"
4. While I am concerned about the social and psychological effects of
divorce and remarriage, it is the spiritual effects that concern me
a. Too many people are ignorant of what the Bible teaches on this
b. Such ignorance leads to quick and easy divorces, and to
adulterous marriages that are unlawful
5. In Mt 19:3-12, we find Jesus discussing divorce, remarriage and
a. His teaching was occasioned by a challenge from the Pharisees
b. But He used the opportunity to teach His disciples what people
today need to know!
[As we consider this passage carefully, we find that Matthew first
I. THE PHARISEES' QUESTION (3)
A. TO TEST HIM, NOT TO BE TAUGHT BY HIM...
1. Divorce was a touchy issue then, even as it is today
2. Divorce was not uncommon (e.g., King Herod)
3. The scribes were divided over the proper grounds for divorce
taught that a man could divorce for schoolof Hillel
just about any reason
permitted divorce only in the case of schoolof Shammai
B. ANY ANSWER JESUS GAVE WOULD OFFEND SOMEONE...
1. If He took the popular lax view, the Pharisees could deride
His claim as a teacher of superior morality - cf. Mt 5:20
2. If He upheld the stricter view, He would be unpopular with the
majority (which the Pharisees could use against Him)
[Of course, Jesus was not concerned with what man thought, but in
pleasing His Father in heaven. This becomes evident as we next
II. JESUS' ANSWER (4-6)
A. HE APPEALS TO THE WORD OF GOD...
1. "Have you not read...?" - Mt 19:4; cf. Gen 1:27; 2:24
2. He does not place stock in the opinions of religious leaders
of the day
-- Is there not something for us to learn here? Where should we
go to find the answer concerning the issue of divorce?
B. HE REMINDS THEM OF THEIR GENESIS...
1. "He who made them at the beginning `made them male and
female'..." - Mt 19:4
2. It is helpful to keep in mind:
a. Where we came from
b. Who created us
c. What we are
3. For our views on divorce and remarriage will be influenced by
our views of ourselves!
a. Are we simply animals?
1) Compelled by instinct?
2) Unable to control fleshly desires?
-- Then divorce and remarriage ought to be free and easy
b. Or God's highest creation?
1) Made in His image?
2) Able to control fleshly lusts to the glory of God?
-- Then divorce and remarriage ought to reflect God's
desire for man's holiness!
C. HE ATTRIBUTES THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE TO GOD,
.. NOT MAN.
1. Notice, it was GOD who said "For this reason..." - Mt 19:5;
cf. Gen 2:24
2. Therefore questions about marriage (such as divorce and
remarriage) must be answered by God, not by man (nor by man's
D. HE EMPHASIZES THAT IN MARRIAGE GOD CREATES A
1. The two become one flesh - Mt 19:5-6; cf. Gen 2:24
2. They are joined by none other than God Himself!
E. HIS CONCLUSION: LET NOT MAN SEPARATE WHAT GOD JOINED...
1. What GOD has joined together, let not MAN separate - Mt 19:6
2. Man has no right to separate what God Himself has joined
[It is clear that God's intention is that marriage is to be for life!
It is God who joins the couple, and no one has the right to rend
asunder what God has joined together!
Are there any exceptions to this rule? The Pharisees thought so, as we
III. THE PHARISEES' REBUTTAL (7)
A. THEIR REBUTTAL APPEARS BASED ON THE WORD OF GOD...
1. Jesus had urged scriptural reasons against divorce - Mt 19:4-6
2. They allege scriptural authority for divorce - Mt 19:7
B. THEIR APPEAL TO SCRIPTURE WAS ON SHAKY GROUNDS...
1. They appealed to Moses' statement in Deu 24:1-4
2. Which they took to permit divorce as long as a "certificate of
divorce" was given to the wife - cf. Mt 5:31
3. Yet a careful reading of that passage reveals:
a. Moses was forbidding the remarriage of a spouse who marries
b. The reason was despite the "certificate" the woman became
"defiled" when she remarried - Deu 24:4
c. The word "defiled" is used elsewhere to describe adultery
- Lev 18:20; Num 5:13-14
d. She actually became an adulteress by the remarriage! - cf.
4. While they appealed to this passage in divorce (and
presumably, remarriage), it actually described the treachery
of divorce: defilement of the spouse - cf. Mt 5:32
[The shakiness of their rebuttal is seen further as we consider...]
IV. JESUS' RESPONSE (8-9)
A. MOSES "PERMITTED" DIVORCE DUE TO THEIR HARD HEARTS...
1. The Jews at that time were a hardened people - cf. Deu 9:6;
2. Is this not a commentary on the state of one's heart when they
desire to divorce their spouse?
a. It takes a hard-hearted person to want to divorce their
1) Either to divorce arbitrarily (for no scriptural ground)
2) Or to divorce when the guilty person is pleading for
forgiveness and reconciliation
b. Of course, that is exactly the condition of those in the
world (or those in the church who are of the world) - cf.
B. IT WAS NOT WHAT GOD HAD IN MIND FROM THE BEGINNING...
1. The permission to divorce was only temporary
2. Note carefully:
a. The Law of Moses (which was temporary) considered the
hardness of men's hearts, and permitted hard-hearted
b. The gospel of Christ cures the hardness of one's heart!
1) His grace removes the heart of stone, and replaces it
with a heart of love!
2) I.e., a heart able to abide by God's original design for
3. Paul would later make it clear that under normal conditions
divorce is not an option - 1 Co 7:10-11
C. JESUS SETTLED THE POINT WITH AN AUTHORITATIVE "SAYING"...
1. "And I say unto you..." - Mt 19:9
a. His sayings were with authority - cf. Mt 7:28-29
b. Upon which He expected people to base their lives - cf.
Mt 7:24-25; 28:20
2. Divorce is allowed only in the case of fornication - Mt 19:9
a. Divorce for any other reason results in adultery when there
b. Which is what Jesus taught in Mt 5:32
3. To marry a divorced (put away) person results in adultery
a. Does this apply only to a person put away for a cause other
b. Or to the one who is guilty of fornication?
c. The lack of the definite article would suggest any "put
1) Either an innocent person wrongly "put away"
2) Or a guilty person rightly "put away" for fornication
1. Any divorce must be on those grounds specified by Jesus...
a. For marriage is an institution ordained by God - Mt 19:5
b. And we must not separate what God has joined - Mt 19:6
2. A divorce for any other grounds...
a. Is an attempt to separate what God has joined together
b. Results in a remarriage where people commit adultery
- Mt 19:9; cf. Mk 10:11-12
3. Jesus' teaching was contrary to two views held by the Jews of
a. That as long as a "bill of divorcement" was given, they
were free to divorce and remarry for any reason
1) Consider Mt 5:31 as an example of their belief
2) Yet Jesus taught:
a) To divorce for any reason other than fornication
causes the spouse to commit adultery - Mt 5:32
b) To divorce and remarry for any reason other than
fornication is to commit adultery - Mt 19:9
b. That they could marry a woman who was divorced (with the
exception of the priests - cf. Lev 21:7,14)
1) Yet Jesus taught that to marry a divorced woman was to
2) Again, the lack of the definite article in both Mt 5:32
and Mt 19:9 indicates:
a) Whether the woman was put away for the right reason
b) In either case, the end result is adultery!
4. Jesus defined the meaning of adultery...
a. It was not uncommon at that time for some Jews to believe:
1) That a man was guilty of adultery only if he violated
another man's wife
2) That he could be married, have relations with a single
woman, and still not be guilty of adultery
b. But Jesus defined adultery to include:
1) Sex with the spouse of another (the standard definition)
2) Looking at a woman to lust for her (certainly this would
include either a married or single woman) - Mt 5:27-28
3) Marrying a person who was divorced by his or her spouse
- Mt 5:32; 19:9
4) Remarrying when one did not divorce for fornication
- Mt 19:9
[As one might expect, what Jesus said prompted strong reactions. While
we do not know how the Pharisees reacted, we do know...]
V. THE DISCIPLES' REACTION (10)
A. IF DIVORCE IS ALLOWED FOR ONLY ONE REASON...
1. It is better not to marry! - Mt 19:10
2. The single life would be preferable to being so bound to one's
B. CONTRAST THIS WITH THE REACTION OF MANY TODAY...
1. The disciples of Jesus:
a. "If such is the case with divorce and remarriage, it is
better to be single!"
b. With them, there was no question about obeying Christ's law
on this subject
c. Only that in view of His teaching, the preferable option is
2. Many people today:
a. "If such is the case with divorce and remarriage, it is
better to be lost!"
b. Rather than submit to scriptural marriage or celibacy, many
people are more likely to opt for eternal damnation!
c. Choosing to prefer a few years of adultery over an eternity
[With the disciples' mention of celibacy as a viable option, Jesus used
the opportunity to speak on the subject as it related to His previous
"saying" or teaching...]
VI. JESUS' REPLY REGARDING CELIBACY (11-12)
A. NOT EVERY ONE CAN ACCEPT THIS "SAYING"...
1. I.e., the saying of Mt 19:9
2. The saying of Jesus regarding divorce and remarriage
B. WHO CAN ACCEPT IT?
1. "those to whom it has been given" - Mt 19:11
2. "he who is able to receive it" - Mt 19:12
C. WHO MIGHT THESE BE?
1. Those willing to accept it "FOR the kingdom of heaven's sake"
- Mt 19:12
a. The kingdom of heaven means that much to them
b. They are willing to do whatever necessary to enter it
2. Even it means making themselves "eunuchs" - Mt 19:12
a. I.e., remaining single, even though they were not "born
thus from their mother's womb"
b. In order to remain true to the teaching of Jesus
3. That such sacrifices might occur is implied in Mk 10:29-30;
a. One must put Christ before all others, including one's
b. Doing so may even cause one to leave their spouse
c. Yet the only situation in which one would be justified in
1) Would be if their marriage was unscriptural
2) For otherwise one is not to leave their spouse - cf.
1 Co 7:10-11
4. For those willing to live the celibate life if necessary...
a. They will receive the ability to live by His Will - cf.
Ph 4:13; Ep 3:20
b. They can provide more service to the Lord being single
- cf. 1 Co 7:32-35
...just as many single and widowed serve the Lord faithfully
1. Any view of divorce and remarriage must take into consideration...
a. The Word of God
b. The nature of man and woman
c. The sanctity of the union between man and woman created by God
d. The consequences of rebelling against God, trying to separate
what He has joined
e. The value of entering "the kingdom of heaven"
2. The only course for faithful Christians is to comply with the
teachings of Jesus...
a. That divorce:
1) Is an indication of one's hardness of heart
2) Puts the spouse in a position to commit adultery when they
3) Causes one who has divorced their spouse to commit adultery
when they remarry
b. That there is only one ground for divorce and remarriage:
1) Which is fornication
2) In which the innocent person has the right to divorce and
c. That celibacy is a viable option:
1) For those who desire to enter the kingdom of heaven
2) Who may find it necessary to "make themselves eunuchs" (remain
celibate) in order to do so
3. For those who find themselves in "unlawful" (i.e., adulterous
marriages - cf. Mk 6:17-18), there is forgiveness through the blood
a. But as with any sin, forgiveness in conditioned upon repentance
b. Just as the Jews who had married foreign wives needed to repent
by putting them away (cf. Ezra 9-10)
c. So one repents by leaving any relationship described as adultery
May the Lord bless those with the faith to live according to His word,
and may we be diligent in teaching our children what the Bible teaches
regarding divorce and remarriage!
The Difficulty With Riches (19:16-26)
1. A well known story in the life of Jesus involves His interview with
a rich young ruler - Mt 19:16-26; Lk 18:18-27
2. In this story we find a man who was so right, yet wrong...
a. He came to the right person - Mt 19:16
1) He came to Jesus
2) Who could tell Him the way to eternal life
b. He asked the right questions - Mt 19:16b,20
1) "What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"
2) "What do I still lack?"
c. He certainly received the right answers - Mt 19:17-19,21
1) "...if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments"
(suitable for one living under the OT covenant)
2) "If you want to be perfect, go, sell...give to the poor...and
come, follow Me" (fitting for one who would become a disciple
and follow Jesus during His ministry)
d. But in the end, he made the wrong decision - Mt 19:22
1) He went away sorrowful
2) For he had great possessions
3. As rich young ruler went away sadly, Jesus told His disciples about
the difficulty of riches...
a. That it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God - Mt
b. That it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle
- Mt 19:24
4. What is it about being rich that makes salvation so difficult?
a. Are we aware of the dangers of riches?
b. Do we understand the proper attitudes toward wealth, whether we
are rich or poor?
[Let's first consider...]
I. THE DIFFICULTY WITH RICHES
A. THE ABSORBING INTEREST OF RICHES...
1. Riches do not satisfy, and we foolishly think that simply more
riches will bring satisfaction - cf. Ecc 1:8; 5:10
2. With riches comes the preoccupation with them: how to use,
maintain, store, etc.
-- Like a black hole, the accumulation of riches can absorb what
time and energy we have so that we have little for anything
else (such as family, church, the Lord)
B. THE DECEITFUL PROMISE OF RICHES...
1. Jesus warned about the deceitfulness of riches - Mt 13:22
2. Riches promise much, but really offer little in return
a. They can easily disappear, rust, or be stolen - Pro 23:5;
b. They cannot buy one's salvation - Psa 49:6-9,16-20
c. Neither can they protect one from God's wrath - Zeph 1:18
-- Riches can deceive one into thinking they are in need of
nothing; the parable of the rich fool illustrates the folly of
such thinking - Lk 12:16-21
C. THE FOOLISH PRIDE OF RICHES...
1. Wealth tends to promote a sense of arrogance and pride - cf.
2. It was such pride that was the downfall of Sodom and Israel
- Ezek 16:49-50; Hos 13:4-6
-- Blinded by such pride, one will not seek God - Pro 10:4
D. THE HARDENING SELFISHNESS OF RICHES...
1. The wealthy, while in a position to help others, often close
up their hearts to the cry of the poor
2. This was one of Israel's sins - Amo 2:6; 5:11-12; 8:4-6
-- Abusing the poor to make money, failing to respond to their
cries for justice, interested more in money than the welfare
of the poor...such are problems that often afflict the rich
[Certainly not all who are rich are guilty of such things. Some of the
most godly people in the Bible were rich (Job, Abraham, Joseph, David,
Solomon, Barnabas, Philemon, Lydia). But these are reasons why it is
so hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. If they let mammon
become their god, they will not be willing to serve the true God! (cf.
From what we have seen about the danger of wealth, let's now draw
II. LESSONS GLEANED FROM THE DIFFICULTY OF RICHES
A. THE FOLLY OF COVETOUSNESS...
1. Why be so anxious to be rich, when riches might prove to be a
curse for us?
2. Besides, covetousness is viewed by God as a form of idolatry
- Ep 5:5; Co 3:5
3. It not a sin to be rich, but the desire to be rich is wrong
a. Those who desire to be rich will fall into temptation, and
not go unpunished - 1 Ti 6:9; Pro 28:20
b. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil - 1 Ti 6:
1) For which some have strayed from the faith
2) And suffered many sorrows
B. THE DUTY OF CONTENTMENT...
1. Contentment along with godliness is true wealth - 1 Ti 6:6-7
a. "He is richest who is content with the least." - Socrates
b. "Contentment comes not so much from great wealth as from
few wants" - Croft M. Pentz (The Complete Book of Zingers)
2. Contentment is a virtue that is learned - e.g., Ph 4:11-12
a. By having a proper perspective on life - 1 Ti 6:7
1) "You can't take it with you"
2) Ever see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer?
b. By understanding what is truly essential in life - 1 Ti 6:8
1) Food and clothing...anything more is a luxury
2) Realizing this, we will appreciate how blessed we are!
3. Therefore Christians are to be content with what things we
have - He 13:5
C. THE NEED FOR SYMPATHY FOR THE RICH...
1. Jesus loved the rich young ruler - Mk 10:21
a. We should certainly love those who are rich
b. We should not be envious, nor despise them
2. If the rich are overcome by their riches, we should bear in
a. That the desire to be rich affects both the rich and those
who want to be rich
b. That the rich face many temptations that the poor do not
3. The rich are in need of salvation as much as the poorest
beggar - Ro 3:23; 6:23
D. FAITH IN THE POWER OF GOD...
1. Though it is hard for a rich person to be saved, it is not
impossible - Mt 19:23-26
a. No one can save themselves, whether rich or poor
b. But God can save the rich by His own power, through the
gospel - Ro 1:16-17
2. There were many rich people who became Jesus' disciples
a. Those that supported Him during His earthly ministry - Lk
b. Others such as Zaccheus, Matthew, Barnabas, Lydia, Aquila
and Priscilla, Gaius, Philemon
c. Such people used their riches in service to God and others
- cf. 1 Ti 6:17-19
a. The rich should have the gospel preached to them
b. We should pray for the rich
c. We should rejoice greatly that there are rich men and women
in the kingdom of God
1. The issue of wealth and riches is often one of contention...
a. The poor are often envious of the rich
b. The rich often despise the poor
2. But riches and poverty both have their difficulties...
a. Wealth can one make one arrogant, less receptive to the gospel
and the kingdom
b. Poverty can make one bitter, filled with envy of others
3. Whether rich or poor, we should all be aware...
a. Of our need for salvation that comes only by the grace of God
b. That we can share together in the riches of salvation
Have you become an heir to the "unsearchable riches of Christ"?