Discussion about Divorce and Marriage: 19:1-12.
(Read Matt 19:1-12)
Jesus finished his ministry in Galilee and went to the region of Judea. The Pharisee wanted to test his wisdom by asking “Is it lawful to divorce wife for any reason”. Jesus was not afraid to confront the religious leaders who held the view that one could divorce his wife for any shameful conduct. Here Jesus gives God's view of marriage and adultery. Jesus asked them “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and man shall leave his father and his mother,and the two shall become one flesh (Gen 2:23-24). Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:4-6). Marriage is an agreement between man and woman. God instituted marriage in the garden of Eden and he hates divorce (Malachi 2:14; Pro 2:17). They asked then why Moses permitted divorce (Deut 24:3). It was to protect Hebrew women from being taken advantage of by verbal divorce. So, Moses permitted to divorce with a written letter. In the scriptures, divorce is never encouraged. Jesus gave one exception that man can divorce his wife if she commits adultery. Among the Jews, only the male could divorce. If a woman divorces and marries another, she commits adultery (Mark 10:12). The teaching of Jesus was in total contrast to popular teaching of that day. So, the disciples thought it is better not to marry. Jesus said some are permitted by God to be married and others are called to remain single. Many choose to remain single for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Unfortunately, celibacy was forced on priests in some Churches. There is a misunderstanding that single life is more spiritual than marriage. The single life should not be forced on anyone. The believers should follow Christ teaching rather than the cultural standards.
Jesus Councils the Rich Young Ruler: 19:13-30.
(Read Matt 19:13-30)
Jesus blessed the children brought before him. They are willing to come to him. By contrast the rich young man asks Jesus a complex question. "What must I do to have eternal life"? He calls Jesus good master. Jesus challenged him to understand the idea of good, which means divine. He desired to perform some good deeds to buy eternal life. Jesus tried to show him what was lacking in his life. His self-centered wealth make him blind to see his real need. Jesus said to him “Go, sell your possession and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and follow me”. Jesus reveals the rich man’s problem here. He loved money more than God. He loved himself more than the poor. He went away sorrowful because he had much possessions (Matt 19:22). Then Jesus said to his disciples “It is very difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven”. It is a hyperbole or an exaggerated illustration to prove the truth. Humanly it is impossible but with God everything is possible. The salvation of a rich sinner is just as miraculous as the salvation of a poor sinner. Money can easily take the place of God in our lives. Many people put their trust in money rather than in God. The best way to avoid the enslaving power of money is to use it for the glory of God. Our giving should be motivated by our love for Christ. Peter said “We have given up everything to follow you. What will we get?” Jesus said “You will sit on the twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt 19:28). This may happen during the millennial reign of Christ. Forsaking earthly possessions for the gospel will bring a hundredfold blessing now and everlasting life. To our surprise, many who are first now will be last and the last, first in the kingdom of God. Pray God to help you invest your life in the things that will yield the greatest eternal profit.