Matthew Chapter 19

And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

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?

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 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? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.  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.

His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 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.

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.  And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

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.

He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 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. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 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.

When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore.

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.  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.

But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

It’s interesting that once again we see Jesus healing and teaching, and again the Pharisees are trying to trip Him up with more questions.  I love the way Jesus makes everything teachable moments.

This line of questioning though, gives us the plan of God for marriage.  Jesus reconfirms God’s plan of one man/one woman, who become one- and that God has joined them.  One can argue until the cows come home on the definition, but to try and redefine what our Creator made by claiming He blesses certain kinds of ‘marriages’ is in a word, a lie.

The same can be said of divorce.  We humans love to redefine things and justify them because we don’t like the thought of choosing anything, even God’s plans, over our happiness or contentment.

What God created in human sexuality and design for marriage is sacred, and not to be mocked or taken lightly.  Concerning the Pharisees, they suggest that Moses commanded a written bill of divorce, but Jesus reminds them that it was more of an allowance, in essence because people are gonna do what they’re gonna do. So it was a provision, yet it’s still far from being permissible by God.  Having been divorced myself, I can understand why God hates divorce because it hurts more than just the person who is the one “put away”.

The provision however seems to be another kind of God’s grace and mercy because “of the hardness of your hearts”  He knows that bitterness, hardened hearts and malice can easily transform into abusive and even murderous relationships.  It’s better in some cases to allow divorce than suffer worse.  But His answer to the disciples when they suggest maybe it’s better not to marry at all shows that while in some cases that may be possible, God created us in a way that ” It is not good for man to be alone…”

Moving on, again we see Jesus blessing little children.  In this chapter, it’s suggested that these are babies, infants and toddlers, and those bringing them ask that Jesus put His hands on them and bless them- which is similar to stories we’ve seen from the old Testament accounts of patriarchal blessings such as Jacob laying his hands on and blessing the children of Joseph.

The story of the rich man is an interesting one. This man observes the laws, and yet when it comes to material possessions, he’s loathe to part with them.  Some of the verses concerning money and possessions have been used throughout the ages to promote everything from government taxation, communism and the idea that all rich people are selfish and/or evil.  This story can be taken in a few different ways- but the most honest look at it is as an issue of the heart. We’re taught elsewhere to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven, and not be burdened with trying to gain temporary treasures (wealth and prosperity) in this life, because typically when one gains that which they sought, they only want more.

There is nothing wrong with having a lot, in fact some of the best people I know are monetarily wealthy.  They are generous and giving.  The problem is that of what is most important to a person- and I know plenty of low income people who’s minds  are taken up more with the schemes of  ‘getting’- even by government handouts,  more than on our Lord Who provides, and one won’t be able to get into a relationship with our Father with a heart bent on material wealth- hence the camel through the eye of the needle.

Everything is possible with God- whether being poor or wealthy, if the heart is on the Lord.  Those who willingly give all, whether their time, money, experience or even lives for the Lord’s sake prove that they are worthy enough to be counted in heaven.  Those who put themselves last in honoring and following the Lord, will be first blessed in eternity.

Have a blessed and beautiful Wednesday all!