January 28th Matthew 19 Divorce
1: 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; 2: And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. 3: 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? 4: And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5: 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? 6: Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7: They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8: 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. 9: 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. 10: His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11: But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12: 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.
Who will enter the kingdom?
13: Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14: But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15: And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
The rich young man
16: And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17: 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. 18: 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, 19: Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20: The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21: 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. 22: But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24: 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. 25: When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26: But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. 27: Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28: 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. 29: 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. 30: But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Many people believe that divorce is impossible yet here we have the religious leaders coming to Christ to discuss the conditions of divorce according to the Mosaic Law. Divorce is the dissolution of marriage. This is a test question for Christ. The question is, can a man divorce his wife for any reason? Christ goes back to ‘first mention’ that is the original description of marriage. And he speaks of the union of two people in marriage, however they come back to him saying that Moses allowed a ‘writing of divorcement’ and divorce to follow. But Christ returns with the statement that this was allowed because of the hardness of their hearts. What Christ meant was that some men could be so unfeeling toward their wives that they were allowed to divorce their wives to prevent an uncaring and insufferable marriage relationship. But he says in the beginning this was not Gods intension. Christ having his eye on innocent wives, who are being treated very poorly by hard hearted husbands, concedes that divorce is possible but points out that divorce it to be restricted to cases of proven unfaithfulness in their wives. Otherwise the divorce though it might be legal before men still has the same charge of adultery before God. The Disciples say who would want to be married? Christ says this word is specific to those who to whom it applies. At this time little children are brought to him that he might bless them. The disciples think this is an interference but Christ said No allow them to come to me because the kingdom of God is made up of little children. Next we have the interesting case of the Young man who wanted to obtain eternal life. Here we have a divergence from teaching for Israel and teaching for the church today. Christ points him to the Law of Moses which promised resurrection to eternal life in the kingdom, to those who kept the Law. Christ said simple ‘if you want to enter into life keep the commandments’. This is the promise of resurrection not salvation. When the young man asked, which law? the Lord recited the commandments. However the young man still felt that something was missing so he stated confidently that he had kept the law since he was a child. Christ does not say no you haven’t kept the Law, rather he invited hi to become one of his disciples and the main condition in becoming a disciple was to sell what you have a give it to the poor. This made the disciple totally dependant on the hospitality of Israel which was the way in which Israel responded to the message that they brought. He says go and sell all that you have a give it to the poor and then come and follow me. Charity to the poorest is the height of law keeping for a Jew. This was too much for him because he had great wealth. Christ had pin pointed the young mans one problem – the love of money. He went away sorry that he had come. Christ then commented to his disciples on how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God. The Disciples are amazed, none the least because they had retained their fishing boats when they followed Christ. They say who can be saved? But Christ said with man it is impossible but it’s not impossible for God. Peter says we forsook everything, so what will we get in return. Never has legalism under the law been stated more clearly! Christ promises that the twelve disciples will sit on twelve throne judging (Administrating) the twelve tribes of Israel in the Kingdom. And everything they had lost will be restored a hundred times and they will inherit eternal life. In contrast, the salvation that christians receive is not a reward for righteous living nor is it a deal stuck with God in which he blesses us if we do certain things. Rather it is a gift given to unworthy, it is salvation given on the basis of grace not reward.