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Matthew Chapter 19

 Memory verses for this week:  2 Pet 3:14  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 

Introduction: In last week’s lesson, Christ taught how that we need to have faith like a child to enter into heaven.     He also taught about being the great shepherd who will seek out the one sheep if it goes astray, and then taught on the need to have continual forgiveness for those who trespass against us if they seek to get things right.   And if there is a problem in getting things right, how to use church discipline in the proper way to correct problems. 

I.  Jesus Returns to Judaea

Mat 19:1  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;

Mat 19:2  And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

Jesus finished the teachings about forgiveness that we covered last week at the end of Chapter 18, and then he leaves Galilee and travels unto the coasts of Judaea.  The great multitudes followed after the Lord.  There were many reasons why they followed.  Some were true disciples and had been saved and sought to follow him out of a pure heart.  These fishers of men no doubt were no doubt very pleasing to Christ.  Unfortunately, there were some that came to eat the loaves and be filled.   Free food has always been a big draw in any time period.   Some sought after Christ to seek healing for themselves or loved ones, and then there were the Pharisees who came always to dispute and argue with Christ.


II.  Christ Speaks on Divorce

Mat 19:3  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?

Mat 19:4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Mat 19:5  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?

Mat 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

We find the Pharisees coming to tempt Christ, and they ask him if it was permissible for a man to put away his wife for every cause?   Sounds a lot like the no-fault divorces I have read about in the newspaper that are legal in some states.  The Pharisees were not ignorant of the bible, but sought occasion to find fault with Jesus.  Jesus refers to Genesis 1:27 in answering their question.

Gen 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Gen 1:28  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Christ refers to Adam and Eve as the ideal marriage situation… one man and one woman totally dedicated to one another.  This oneness is God’s ideal plan for marriage.  Hard as man tries, he can not improve upon this plan.   We have a giant battle going on today with people trying to redefine the family and the meaning of marriage.  I believe we have an attempt being made right now to amend the constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, which is certainly God’s plan.

Mat 19:7  They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

Mat 19:8  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.

Mat 19:9  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.

The Pharisees are set in finding fault with everything that Jesus said.   If Jesus was right, then Moses must have been in error in giving them the ability to have a divorce.  Jesus clears it up quickly.  It was never God’s plan for man to have a divorce, but because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses gave them a writing of divorcement.   God’s original plan was for us to marry and stay with our original mate until death.   And I want you to notice that if there is adultery, we are given the option to get a divorce, but that is not a command.  I truly believe God would prefer for us to work things out if at all possible and stay together with our mate.   Adultery or fornication are the only biblical grounds for divorce as he clearly states here.    And if we do divorce, we are guilty of forcing the next marriage to be one created in adultery.   We should follow God’s plan.

Mat 19:10  His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

Mat 19:11  But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

Mat 19:12  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.

The disciples conclude that if things are so strict and serious, that it would be better to not marry.  Christ points out that marriage is in God’s plan for man and woman, but people can be blessed also if they stay single.   If a man or woman can wholly dedicate themselves to the work of the Lord and not sin in doing so, then to remain single is blessed of the Lord.   Paul had several comments concerning this issue in I Corinthians Chapter 7.


III.  Jesus Receives and Blesses Little Children

Mat 19:13  Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

Mat 19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 19:15  And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

Jesus had much to say about little children and the word of God.  Jesus was not a man so busy that he could not stop and talk with the children and pay attention to them.   My most dear aunt was a lady who always listened to me, even when I was too little to have much to say.   I remember her getting down in the floor and asking me how I was doing and what I had been doing.  And then she listened to what I said.  I always knew she did, because the next time I saw her she asked me about it.   Do you take the time to listen to little children?   Your attention to the little ones makes a big difference in their lives, and God only knows how much in a lifetime is learned from Godly people who will spend time molding the lives of a young child.   Jesus knew.. and he took the time.   Children always showed a love for Jesus, and some of my favorite pictures in religious settings is when Jesus is talking with the children.   As we read in last week’s lesson, the children believed what they were taught.  No doubt and fear.   If we want ultimate happiness, we must come that way to God and trust him with all our heart.   In verse 15, it says Jesus laid  his hands on them and then departed from that area of Judaea.

Matthew Henry said this about the little children.

 The little children should be brought to Jesus. We cannot do better for our children than to commit them to the Lord Jesus, to be wrought upon, and prayed for, by him. We can but beg a blessing for them, it is Christ only that can command the blessing.  [i] 

This next section is one of my favorite teachings in the bible, and often misunderstood. 

IV.  The Rich Young Ruler

Mat 19:16  And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

Mat 19:17  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.

This rich young ruler was apparently a good man, and was smart enough to recognize Jesus as a ‘Good Master.’   The man was intelligent in the fact that he was seeking a way to obtain eternal life.   How many ever question what will happen after death until it is too late.  But the big error in the man’s desire was that he looked for a way to ‘save himself’ which is what the world wants to believe.  Salvation never has been by works.   If we could obtain  salvation by works, then Christ’s death was in vain.  We would not need His shed blood if we could work our way into heaven.  But we can’t be saved this way.  Salvation by works is a false doctrine taught because it pleases the flesh.  It makes us feel like we have a part in salvation.  Eternal life is a GIFT of God.  It is available to all who will call upon Christ and seek forgiveness of sins through what Jesus did there on Calvary.  Some question why Jesus made the comment in verse 17 if he was truly equal to God.  He says “Why callest thou me good?”  A wise old teacher once told me that Christ’s comments were to make this young man focus WHOLLY on the heavenly Father.   God and God alone is good.  We are all lacking in our ability to reach God by our righteousness.


Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Rom 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 3:12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.


Isa 64:6  But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.


Mat 19:18  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,

Mat 19:19  Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Mat 19:20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Jesus tell the young man that is he wants to enter heaven, then he needed to keep all the commandments.   Christ was not teaching that the 10 commandments could save, but was using them to show this young man that he was guilty before God.  Paul said the law could not save, but it was our schoolmaster to show our true position before God.

Gal 3:24  Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Gal 3:25  But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Jesus quoted some of the commandments, and the young man declares that he has kept all of them from his youth up.

Mat 19:21  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.

Mat 19:22  But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

What is the first commandment?  To put God above all other things.  Nothing else should be more important to us than serving the Lord.

Exo 20:3  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Jesus told him to go and sell all his goods, and give the money to the poor, and he would have treasure in heaven, and then to come and follow Jesus.   What Jesus was pointing out to the young man was that his money was more important to him than his service to God.  Does this mean to be saved, we have to give up everything we have and give it to the poor?   No … that is not the point.  But IF God was to require that, we should be willing to do so.  I once met a missionary that said he had millions of dollars when God called him into the ministry, and he was given a clear message from the Lord to give up the money and to follow Christ.  And he did.   That is what it is all about… total dependence on God and total worship of the Lord.  If anything stands between you and your service to God, that has become ‘another god’ and needs to be put behind you.   It could be a set of golf clubs, an oblong spherical cone shaped ball (football for you sports fans), a fishing pole, or even a TV set.  Could be your own children or grandchildren.  Anything that stands between you and God is wrong.   Does God want us to forsake our families?  No… but they are not to interfere with what God would have us to do.   Unfortunately, this young man loved his riches more than the Lord… he went away sorrowful.

Mat 19:23  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 19:24  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.

Mat 19:25  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

Mat 19:26  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Jesus declare that most rich men love their money so much that they don’t have time for the Lord.  And unfortunately, the majority will die lost.   The money does not make you bound for hell nor will poverty bring you to heaven.  But the heart must change… we must come to Jesus for salvation.  And so many times, money gives us false hope.  Levi and I visited a family over on Berkeley Street Tuesday night.   That is a rich part of town over by the university, and I’m sure there are some good men and women who are Christians that live over there.  But that family was too busy to even listen to us.  One day, every knee will bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.  And if we don’t do it in this life, we have no hope in the next.

Phil 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Phil 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Phil 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Phil 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Phil 2:9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Phil 2:10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Phil 2:11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The disciples marvel and question how any rich person could be saved.  I haven’t seen many camels passing through the eye of needle, have you?   But Jesus tells them that it isn’t impossible with God.    If we see our need, even if we are the richest man on the face of the earth, we can be saved.  But we have to come to God on His terms… not on ours.  Some wealthy men and women are saved, and they live their lives to honor and glorify the Lord. 

V.  The Apostle’s Place in the Kingdom

Mat 19:27  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

Mat 19:28  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.

Mat 19:29  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.

Mat 19:30  But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Peter questions if all that they have given up would be worth it when the Lord established his kingdom.   Nothing we ever give up in this live for God will be lost… he saves we shall receive a hundredfold in the next life.   Don’t know many places you can get that kind of return on your investment.   Jesus tells them that the 12 apostles will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel during Christ’s earthly kingdom.  They are given this position because they left all and followed him.



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.