Matthew 19

The early part of this chapter is of tremendous importance and certainly relevant to present-day society.


The Lord was beginning His last journey to Jerusalem. Crowds were following Him for healing and teaching.


Verse 3 The Pharisees were there also, trying, as usual to trap the Lord. The question of divorce was a sensitive one in those days. The Jews themselves were split. One school was very liberal. The other school was very strict.


The question which they asked was loaded, no matter how the Lord answered, He would offend one party or the other.


The question, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for every cause?


Verse 4 In His answer the Lord took them back to creation and reminded them that God created one wife for Adam. The principle here is that a man should only have one living wife.


Verse 5 This verse reminds us that the marriage relationship supercedes all other relationships, including the parental relationship. God also states that in marriage the two participants become one.


Verse 6 “What God hath joined” etc. It is God’s will that this divinely appointed union should not be broken by any human action or decree. See Ephesians 5:22-33.


Verse 7 The Pharisees thought that they had cornered Jesus, and reminded them of what Moses had said. Read.


Verse 8 Jesus replied, that Moses had permitted divorce because of Israel’s backslidden condition, but this was not God’s will.


Verse 9 In this verse the Lord introduced something new and final

(1) He declared with absolute authority that past leniency on divorce was henceforth discontinued. Every cause.

(2) That the only ground for divorce was fornication or adultery.


So then, everyone who has divorced their partners, for any other reason than adultery, and has remarried, is living in sin.


Those who have gone through divorce because of adultery, and both are living come under the teaching of Romans 7:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 7:39.


Jesus blesses the little children Verses 13-15

It was the parents who brought the children to Jesus. Parent’s responsibility. They brought them, “that He should put His hands on them and pray.” He took some of them up in His arms. What a privilege. The disciples thought that this was an unwarranted intrusion into the privacy of Jesus, and sought to turn them away.


Jesus intervened with those memorable words, “Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” A.S.V.


The lessons from this incident are obvious.

(1) Children who wish to receive Christ as Savior should be prayerfully encouraged---not held back. On the other hand children should not be pressured into making a profeesion. The dangers and delights of child evangelism. They should be protected from high-pressure methods of evangelism. No one knows the age of the youngest person in hell.

(2)  These words of the Lord answer the question. What happens to children who die before reaching the age of accountability? Jesus said, “to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Blessed thought.


Children do not have to become adults to be saved. But adults have to become like children to be saved.


The rich young ruler Verses 16-22. “The great refusal”


This incident is in contrast to the preceding one. There we saw that the kingdom of heaven belongs to little children. Here we see how difficult it is for rich adults to enter.


Note the apparent sincerity of this young man. Verse 16. He came running and kneeled before Jesus. Mark 10.


The question which he asked, “Good Master what must I do to inherit eternal life?” showed his ignorance and insincerity.

(1) He called Jesus, Teacher or Master, putting Him on the same level as other teachers of His day. Error on Mount of Transfiguration.

(2) He spoke of acquiring eternal life by his works and riches. “I do.”


Both of these concepts are vital mistakes.


Verse 17 Notice the grace of the Lord here. In response to the young mans salutation “Good”---master. The Lord said that only God was good; in this reply He gave the young man an opportunity to acknowledge His deity. No response.


In answer to the second part of his question, “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? The Lord answered him as living under the law. Keep the commandments in their absolute form and you will have life. Verse 17.


The reaction this should have produced in the young man was confession and repentance of sin and a plea for Jesus to save Him.


There was evidently no real sense of sin, and in order to evade the force of the Savior’s words asked, “Which?”---commandments.


Jesus listed five commandments. Verses 18 and 19. Then He climaxed them by saying “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”


This young man still untouched by any sense of sin or guilt, said “All these things have I kept from my youth up: What lack I yet?”


The Lord with the accuracy of a skillful surgeon exposed the cancer, “You say you love your neighbor as yourself, and yet you hold on selfishly to your wealth, while others around you are starving.”


Verse 21 If thou wilt be perfect, that is reach the ultimate goal of eternal life---confess your sin, acknowledge My deity, receive Me as your personal Savior, give your riches to the poor, lay up treasure in heaven, and come and follow Me. Conversion and discipleship---this applies to us all in some in some degree.


Verse 22 The young man was speechless, he was shocked at the cast of discipleship, he loved his riches, and the pleasure they brought. He turned his back on the Lord and walked away quietly in deep disappointment. “The Great Refusal.” In all possibility he put himself out with the grace of God. He would die a rich man, but would be a pauper in hell for eternity.


Verse 23 Quote. The prevailing opinion of the Jews was, that through their riches they could enter heaven. They were adamant in their belief. The Lord said, “It is only with great difficulty that a rich man will enter into the kingdom of heaven.”


Verse 24 In fact, He said 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.


The needle mentioned here is a surgeons needle or sewing needle. Note also the terms, “ Kingdom of God” and “ Kingdom of Heaven.”


Verse 25 The disciples were amazed at the Lord’s statement and asked Him “Who, then, can be saved?”


Our Lord’s ministry and history proves that “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called.” 1 Corinthians 1:26. Note it does not say “Not any” etc. It is not sinful to be rich, when one treats it as a stewardship entrusted to him to be administered for the glory of Him who gave it.


Verse 26 Humanly speaking, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom, but with God’s help there are some who do enter.


Humanly speaking it is impossible for anyone, rich or poor, to be saved. “Salvation is of the Lord.” But it is far more difficult for a wealthy man to surrender his will to Christ, for salvation, than a poor man.


The apostles reward now and in the future kingdom.


Peter had heard the Lord tell the rich young ruler to forsake earthly riches and lay up treasure in heaven. Verse 21 and follow Him.


He then said to the Lord, “We have forsaken all, and followed thee. What shall we have therefore?” “What then shall be our reward?”


Verse 28 Jesus said unto “them.” You that have followed Me in this life, will in the “regeneration” or Millennium, when I shall sit upon My throne of glory, you will sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel.


Verse 29 Then to all other believers who had forsaken houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands for My sake will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.


Verse 30 The Lord ended His discourse with a solemn warning. Those that seem to be first in the eyes of men may be last in God’s eyes. Those who are despised by men, God may count worthy to advance to first place.