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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
What a chapter! His Last Departure from Galilee: Christ leaving Galilee, and coming into the coasts of Judea. His dispute with the Pharisees about divorce, and His discourse with His disciples upon occasion of it. Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's Sake. Blessing the Little Children. The Rich Young Ruler. Eternal Life. Rich Men and the Kingdom of God. Leaving All for Christ's Sake: His discourse with His disciples about this, concerning the difficulty of the salvation of those that have much in the world, and the sure reward to those that leave all for Christ.
Chapter 19 continues the subject of the kind of spirit, or character, that is suited to the Kingdom of Heaven. It probes deep into the principles which govern human nature. A question asked by the Pharisees about marriage gives Him a chance to explain His doctrine on marriage. He goes back to God's institution, according to which one man and one woman were to unite together, and to be one in the sight of God. He establishes, or rather re-establishes, the true character of the indissoluble bond of marriage; and it is indissoluble, except for the case of unfaithfulness.
He then renews His instruction with regard to children, while testifying and showing His affection for them. After this, He shows the nature of being totally devoted to God and to be willing to sacrifice all things, if necessary, to follow Him, IF they really wanted to please God. The spirit of the world was opposed at all points, both carnal passions and worldly riches.
The Lord’s talk about riches, makes Peter ask the question, What shall be the portion of those who have renounced everything? This takes us back to the glory in chapter 17. There would be a regeneration; the state of things would be completely renewed under the rule and authority of the Son of Man. At that time the apostles would sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. They would have first place in the running of the earthly kingdom. Every one would have his own place; for whatever any one renounced for Jesus' sake, he would receive a hundredfold plus everlasting life. However, these things would not be decided by appearance here; nor by the place men held in the old system, and before men, for some that were first would be last, and the last first.
In this movement in Matthew, our attention now is directed to the geography of the Gospel. Jesus again enters Judea as He moves to Jerusalem for the last time before His crucifixion. There is a specific intention in all that He does and says.
Jesus Re-enters Judea (Matthew 19:1-2)
Matthew 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; (KJV)
And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings . . . concerning humility, avoiding offences, the methods to be taken in reproving offenders, and the forgiveness that is to be exercised towards them.
He departed from Galilee . . . where He had mainly preached and wrought His miracles, no more to return there until after His resurrection.
And came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan . . . (Jn.1:28), meaning to that country which was called "beyond Jordan", bordering on Judea; coming closer and closer to Jerusalem, where He had just recently told His disciples, where He must go to suffer and die.
Matthew 19:2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. (KJV)
And great multitudes followed him . . . some were “of the sick and diseased"; but all that followed Him were not so, although many were. These came not only from Galilee, but from the neighboring parts, from the country beyond Jordan, and the coasts of Judea, where He had been formerly; and who come to Him again.
And he healed them there . . . in the above mentioned places, even as many of them as were sick and diseased.
Marriage And Divorce (Matthew 19:3-12)
The religious rulers come to Him with a question regarding divorce, again, trying to trap Him. Our Lord states God's ideal for marriage and the grounds for divorce.
Matthew 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? (KJV)
The Pharisees also came unto him . . . either from the places round about, or maybe from Jerusalem. They came to Him, NOT for learn, or to be instructed by Him; but to spy on Him, to watch what He said and what He did, and try with every opportunity to expose Him to the contempt and hatred of the people.
Tempting him . . . with a question about divorces, trying to trap Him.
Aand saying to him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? . . . there was a difference between the Jewish school of Shammai and the Jewish school of Hillell about this matter; the school of Shammai insisted that a man might not put away his wife except in case of uncleanness; but the school of Hillell allowed putting away for very trifling things: if she spoiled her husband's food by over cooking or over salting it; and, as one of the doctors say, if he found another woman that was more beautiful than her. See Matthew 5:31-32. . . . Their question was cleverly put to Christ; NOT because they wanted information, but because they wanted to criticize Him in some way. They hoped that He might incur the resentment of one of the parties.
Matthew 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, (KJV)
And he answered and said unto them . . . not by replying directly to the question, but by referring them to the original creation of man, and to the first institution of marriage,before the law of Moses.
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female? . . . (Gen.1:27-28). God, who in the beginning of the Creation, made all things, the heavens, and the earth, and all that is therein, and above all "man". He made the first parents of mankind, male and female, but one male first, and then, of him one female, who, upon her creation, was brought and married to the male. In this original establishment, absolutely NO provision was made for divorce, OR polygamy OR same sex marriage which is now the current rage. Either the Pharisees had read this account, or they had not; if they had not, they were guilty of great negligence and laziness; and if they had read it, they either understood it or they did not understand it. It was to their great shame, who pretended such great knowledge of the Scriptures, and to be able to explain them to others; and if they did understand it, there was no need for this question, which could only come of an evil plan.
Matthew 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? (KJV)
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife . . .(Gen.2:24). There it seems the words were from Adam, but here they are assigned to God, who made Adam and Eve; and as if they were spoken by Him, when He brought them together. This is easily reconciled, for the words were spoken by Adam, under the direction of a divine revelation; showing, that there would be fathers, and mothers, and children; and that the latter, when grown up, would enter into a marriage state, and leave their parents, and cleave to their proper yoke fellows.
And they twain shall be one flesh . . . the word "twain" is not in the Hebrew text in Genesis, but in the Septuagint version compiled by Jews. "And they two shall be one flesh". This is the proper sense, because neither more or less can possibly be meant. It means a close union, and strict merger, between a man and his wife, the wife being a part of himself, and both as one flesh and one body, and therefore NOT to be parted on every trivial occasion. They are to have a unique respect for one another which only should be between one man and one woman, lawfully married to each other (1 Cor.6:18-20). This union is between a man and a woman! God designed marriage so that they could multiply and replenish the Earth (Gen.1:27-28; 9:1). Same sex marriages are NOT able to do this.
Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (KJV)
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh . . . they were two separate people before marriage, but now so any more (Eph.5:28-29).
What therefore God hath joined together . . . by the first institution of marriage, they are so closely united together, as to be, as it were, one flesh, and one body, as husband and wife.
Let no man put asunder . . . woe to those who break that bond of marriage, dissolve the relationship, and separate the man from the woman. The sense here is, that the bond of marriage is being made by God Himself, is therefore sacred and unbreakable, and it should NOT be dissolved by any man . . . not by the husband himself or any other for him; or by any state or government. Marriage is a union that takes place in the Eyes of God, and should NOT be changed and altered by man at his pleasure, since it is not just a civil affair, but a sacred one, in which God is concerned.
Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? (KJV)
They say unto him . . . meaning the Pharisees, who bring up the law of Moses to Him, hoping hereby to trap Him, and expose Him bring on the anger of the people, should He reject that, as they thought He would.
Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and put her away? . . .
the Pharisees refer to Deut.24:1, which they thought Jesus was contradicting . . . and they did not know how to reconcile that to the doctrine Christ had delivered, concerning the original institution of marriage, and the extremely close union there is between a man and his wife. (Mat.5:31-32).
Matthew 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. (KJV)
He saith unto them . . . tn answer to their objection.
Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives . . . in which may be observed, that, even though it was by direction that Moses, in his system of laws, allowed divorces; but not God. In the beginning there was NO divorce and NO polygamy. The first polygamist was the race of Cain (Gen.4:19). WHY did Moses allow divorce? Because of the hardness of their hearts. Marriage was given to mankind, and it is the most tender and the sweet of all human relationships. There is nothing that can compare to it! Actually, marriage was to represent the relationship between Christ and His church. Therefore, only believers can set forth this high and holy relationship. BUT, when they fail, and bitterness and hardness of heart enter in, then that marriage becomes a pretense, and it is just a mockery. Marriage is made either in Heaven or in Hell. When marriage is made in the wrong place, it is in trouble to begin with. Even Christians find that marriage can become a very shaky proposition.
Because of the hardness of the human heart, Moses permitted divorce. God is SO very merciful to us! And my friend, His ideal is NEVER to divorce. I know that we are living in a culture which is extremely lax in this area. There are multitudes of divorced people everywhere! Some may even read this commentary. Let me tell you that the background of ALL divorce is always sin. But, when we come right down to it, we all are sinners. Since God can forgive any sin, He can also forgive divorced people. BUT we need to recognize that the root cause of divorce is sin.
But from the beginning it was not so . . . from the beginning of the Creation, or at the first institution of marriage, and in the first ages of the world, there was no such permission for divorce, nor any such practice. This was not the declared will of God at first, nor was it ever done by any good men before the times of Moses; we never read that Adam, or Seth, or Noah, or Abraham, put away their wives, for any reason.
Matthew 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. (KJV)
And I say unto you . . . any time the Lord Jesus uses these words, a hard lesson follows. He is speaking to His apostles, when they were with Him alone in the house, and had asked Him to explain more fully (Mk.10:10-11), although He said to them much the same things before in Matthew 5:32.
Whosoever shall put away in his wife . . . separate her from her husband, house and bed, and dismiss her as his wife, no more to be considered in that relation to him.
Except it be for fornication . . . or whoredom, for defiling his bed. This is not to be understood of fornication committed before marriage, but of uncleanness AFTER marriage, which destroys their being one flesh.
And shall marry another woman, committeth adultery . . . adultery breaks the marriage relationship and gives the innocent one ground for divorce. According to the Lord Jesus, divorce is allowed ONLY on one basis, adultery. Divorce is granted to allow the innocent party to remarry. This applies only to believers, because God does not regulate the lives of unbelievers, but holds them to the Message of the Cross FIRST. God wants the unbeliever to come to Christ. An unbeliever is lost and on their way to Hell whether he is married, divorced, or single. Until a person accepts the ONLY Way to Heaven and eternal life there, he is lost. It makes no difference about marriage until he accepts Christ. See: The Truth about salvation. . . . http://www.hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.htm
And whoso marrieth her which is put away, doth commit adultery . . . causing yet more sin of adultery, since he lives with the wife of another man (Mat.5:32).
Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. (KJV)
His disciples say unto him . . . what the Lord Jesus said to them was contrary to what they had been taught, and very different from the general practice of their nation.
If the case of a man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. . . they thought that it was their privilege of divorcing a wife when there was a quarrelsome disposition, or anything else that would make the marriage unhappy. So, they said, that if such was the case in such the condition on which men married, it was better not to marry.
Matthew 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. (KJV)
But he said unto them . . . with respect to the conclusion that the disciples formed from what He had stated.
All men cannot receive this saying . . . that it is not good to marry, but it is better to unmarried. Everyone does NOT have the gift of continency (self-restraint or abstinence in sexual activity), and in reality, very few, therefore it is better to marry. What the disciples said, although true in part, was not in the whole; and even though the saying might be right to some persons, it is NOT to all, except . . .
Save they to whom it is given . . . to live contently unmarried, having the gift of chastity (abstinence from sexual intimacy for the unmarried). This is not of nature, but of grace: it is the gift of God.
Matthew 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. (KJV)
For there are some eunuchs . . . the Lord explains the various sorts of persons, that can and do live in an unmarried state contently: some by nature, and others by violence to them, are rendered incapable of entering into a marriage state; and others, through the gift of God, and under the influence of His grace, abstain from marriage cheerfully and contentedly, in order to be more useful in the interest of serving Almighty God; but the number of these is extremely few, in comparison of such who choose a marital state.
Which were so born from their mother's womb . . . meaning those who had such defects in nature when born, that they were impotent and unable to perform the duties of a marriage state. Some are born without hands or feet, some were born without proper and perfect organs of generation.
And there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men . . . castration among the Romans was common, before Domitian the emperor finally forbid by a law; and more especially in the eastern countries, and to this day among the Turks, that they may the more safely be entrusted with the custody of their women; and this sort the Jews call "an eunuch of men", or "by the hands of men".
And there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs, for the kingdom of heaven's sake . . . meaning such, who have the gift of continency without mutilating their bodies, or indulging any unnatural lusts, can live a chaste life without being married, and choose celibacy. Again, these are few! Theses are rare! Consider all the horrible sex crimes of Catholic priests.
He that is able to receive it, let him receive it . . . whoever is able to receive and embrace the above saying concerning the convenience and goodness of a single life, and has the gift of continency, can live contently according to it.
Somebody says, "Do you think that the preacher ought to get married? Do you think the priest should be married?" May I say that this is a place where God puts down a principle. He says that it is up to the individual. Each person must make that decision for themselves.
Jesus Receives Little Children (Matthew 19:13-15)
Matthew 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. (KJV)
Then were there brought unto him little children . . . it does not say that they were new born babies. These were like those Christ called unto Him (Lk.18:16), and were capable of coming to Him by themselves, as His words following seem to say. Nor does their being brought to Him, or His taking them in His arms, contradict this; since the same things are said of those who could walk by themselves (Mk.9:36). Neither does it say whose children they were, or by whom they were brought. The important reason they were brought is stated. That he should put his hands on them, and pray . . . it was customary among the Jews, when blessings were sought for others in prayer, to lay the hands on the head of the person prayed for, implying a kind of consecration to God (Gen.48:14; Mat.9:18).
And the disciples rebuked them . . . not the children, but those that brought them (Mk.10:13), either because they came in a rude and disorderly manner, and were very noisy and clamorous; or they might think it would be too troublesome to Christ. . . . Those who imagine that there is a reference in this verse to infant baptism, or to infant church membership, are indebted NOT to their Bibles, but to their creeds.
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
But Jesus said, Suffer little children . . . this reveals His humility, that He was not above taking notice of anyone, young or old, and to teach His apostles to consider even the weakest believers, be they young or old.
And forbid them not to come unto me . . . now, or at any other time.
For of such is the kingdom of heaven . . . (Mat.18:3). Mark adds, he was much displeased at what the disciples said. Bringing the children was highly gratifying to Jesus, and He earnestly desired that children should be brought to Him; and it was very improper that the apostles should interfere. Neither the Kingdom as it now is, or the Kingdom as it will be, is composed of little children, but in both states of the Kingdom's existence, it is composed of persons with characters like little children (Mat.18:1-6). It is greatly to be hoped, that all infants will be saved. No contrary doctrine is taught in the sacred Scriptures. But it does not appear to be the design of this passage to teach that all infants will be saved. NO one but Almighty God knows who will be saved and who will not be saved. This simply means, that chilkdren should be allowed to be brought to Him as kind, likeable and loving, and uncorrupted by the world, and having traits of mind resembling those among true Christians.
Matthew 19:15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. (KJV)
And he laid his hands on them . . . "and blessed them", as Mark says. He put His Hands upon them, according to the custom of the country, and wished the best to them.
And departed thence . . . out of the house where He had been, and His apostles went with Him. Some versions read: "and they went from thence", from those parts, towards Jerusalem.
The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-26)
Matthew 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? (KJV)
And behold, one came . . . Luke calls him, "a certain ruler" (Lk.18:18), not of a synagogue, not an ecclesiastical ruler, but a civil magistrate: perhaps one of the Sanhedrim, which consisted of "twenty one" persons; or of that which consisted only of "three", as in some small towns and villages Mark represents him as "running"; because Christ was leaving the house (Mk.10:17). Others add, "kneeled to him"; thus paying Him civil respect, and honor; believing Him to be a good, worthy Man, and deserving of esteem and worship.
And said unto him, good master . . . he addresses Him as Good Master. He is willing to admit that He is good, where the enemies of Jesus would not have done that.
What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? . . . the other writers say, "inherit eternal life"; a phrase much in use with the Jewish Rabbis.
Matthew 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. (KJV)
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? . . . Jesus is NOT denying that He was good, because He WAS good, both as God and Man, in His divine nature and His human nature; and in all His offices, and the execution of them! He was good, and did good, and NEVER anything else but good! So, why the question? Because the young man thought that He was only a mere Man, and called Him “Good Master,” in comparison with God, the Fountain of all goodness. "Why callest thou me good?" Do you see what the Lord was after? Jesus wanted to set the man straight . . . that He was indeed God.
There is none good but one, that is God . . . He was saying in effect, "If you see that I am good, it is because I am God." He is directing the man’s thinking so that he might accept Him as the Christ, the Son of God. Then the Lord Jesus flashes on this young man's life the commandments that have to do with a man's relationship to his fellowman.
But if thou wilt enter into life . . . eternal life . . . which being sometimes expressed by a house, a city, a kingdom, by mansions and everlasting habitations. And enjoyment of it is rightly meant by entering into it. Anyone that HAS Jesus, HAS eternal life, NOW! (Jn.5:24). “Hath” = has!
Keep the commandments . . . meaning perfectly. He must do not only one good thing, but all the good things the law requires. He must not be deficient in any single action, in any one work of the law. My dear friend, NO one can do this! That is why we NEED Jesus! Because He fulfilled the Law (Mat.5:17). Everything must be done, and just as God in His law commanded it. We CANNOT do that! We must have the righteousness of Jesus applied to us by the Father (1 Cor.1:30). Christ said this, in order to show, that it is impossible to enter into, or obtain eternal life by the works of the law, since NO man can perfectly keep it; and to take this man away from off the legal foundation on which he was, and that he might drop all his dependencies on doing good things, and come to Jesus for righteousness and life. Amen!
Matthew 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, (KJV)
He saith unto him, which? . . . whether the moral commandments or ceremonial kind; or the commands of the written or of the oral law of God; or of the elders or of both; or some new commandments of Jesus, which he delivered as a Teacher sent from God.
Jesus said . . . according to the other writers, "thou knowest the commandments" (Mk.10:19; Lk.18:20); not the true nature, spirituality, and use of them, but the letter and number of them; being trained up from a child by his parents, in the reading them, committing them to memory, and the outward observance of them.
Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness . . . Christ does not mention the ceremonial law, or of the traditions of the elders, only moral precepts. These are such as refer to the second, not the first table of the law, which considers duty to the neighbor, not to God. This He does, because these commandments were much better known, and in common use. I think that He chose these, partly to show, that if men are under obligation to pay attention to these, they should be much more concerned about God, and too, to observe, that if men are slack in their duty to one another, they are much more so in their worship of God; and as a result, eternal life is never to be had and enjoyed by the continuance of these things.
Matthew 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (KJV)
Honour thy father and thy mother . . . this is the first commandment of the second table, yet here is mentioned last; which changing of order is of no consequence: so the "seventh" command is put before the "sixth", and the "fifth" omitted, in (Rom.13:9), and with the Jews it is a common saying, "there is neither first nor last in the law", meaning it is of no consequence which commandment is recited first, or which one last, as long as they are obeyed.
And thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself . . . this is not a separate command from the rest, or an explanation of the tenth and last, not mentioned; but a summary of them all, and said to be a complement and fulfilling of the law (Rom.13:9; Gal.5:14). Jesus' commands to believers! Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV)
Matthew 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? (KJV)
The young man saith unto him . . . although he was so very rich and in such a high position in life, being a ruler, it seems he was just a young man; and to be so serious and religious, in the midst so much riches and grandeur, even though it was external, was both remarkable and commendable. When he heard the answer from Christ, he was very pleased and overjoyed, he replies,
All these things have I kept from my youth up . . . as soon as he was able to learn, his parents taught him these laws; and ever since he had been careful to observe them; nor did he make any open and flagrant transgression of them. But he did not understand the internal and spiritual sense, therefore he asks,
What lack I yet? . . . in what have I come up short of doing these things? What else remains for me to do? If there are more laws to be obeyed, I am ready to observe them, if they are thought necessary to obtain eternal life. It seems he had a troubled conscience, and his mind was not assured of the approval of God. He clearly knew that something was lacking to make him truly happy.
Matthew 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. (KJV)
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, one thing thou lackest . . . “perfect” means complete.
Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven . . . neither the law of God, or the Gospel of Christ, demand this to be done by all men, at all times; for even though it is a duty, binding all to relieve the poor and the needy, yet a man is NOT obligated to give all that he has to them (2 Cor.8:11-13). Neither does legal or Christian perfection come from doing this, because a man may give all his goods to the poor and still have no love of God (1 Cor.13:3). The young man declared that he had kept the law. That law required, among other things, that he should love his neighbor as himself. It also required that he should love the Lord his God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind . . . meaning more that anything else! IF he had true love to God and man; IF he loved his Maker and fellow creatures more than he did his property, he would be willing to give up his wealth for the service of God and of man. Jesus thus commanded him to do this, to test his character, and to show him that he had NOT kept the law as he pretended; and thus to show him that he needed a better righteousness than he had (1 Cor.1:30). This man’s treasure was on Earth, NOT in Heaven where it should have been (Mat.6:20). This was and IS a very hard lesson for us to learn.
And come and follow me . . . IF the man had followed Jesus, He would have led him to see that he was NOT keeping the first commandments which have to do with a man's relationship to God. Something was keeping him from going after the Lord. His riches and power were his stumbling block. For you and for me it could be something completely different. To follow Jesus then, meant to be a personal attendant of His ministry; to go with Him from place to place, as well as to imitate and obey Him. Today it means: #1. to obey his commandments. #2. to imitate his example, and to live like him.
Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (KJV)
But when the young man heard that saying . . . that he must sell his property, and all his worldly substance, and the money was to be given away to the poor.
He went away sorrowful . . . NOT a godly sorrow for his sin and imperfections, but a sorrow of the world, which worketh death. 2 Cor. 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (KJV) He was ashamed and confused, that he could not do what he had just promised that he did. He was also grieved that he had not arrived to perfection, which he had hoped, and of obtaining eternal life; and now, he was most of all troubled, that he must part with his worldly substance.
He went away sorrowful . . .that he went away sorrowful rather than angry, speaks well for the young man. A man of extreme greed, or of little concern for eternal life, or of little faith in Jesus, would have been angered and offended at the extravagance of the demand. His sorrow shows that he had respect for the authority of Jesus.
For he had great possessions . . . which were very dear to him. He chose instead to turn his back on Christ, and forget his pursuits of the happiness of eternal life, than to part with the present, temporary enjoyments of this life. It was his money that was keeping him from the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, there are many things that keep people away from the Lord Jesus. Riches is only one thing; there are many other things; pride, pleasure, self-righteousness, work, and the opposite of being rich, being poor. The truth is, church membership keeps many people from Christ because it protects them from facing their sins. They feel secure because they have been through the ceremonies or have made their confession, and walked the aisle. But my friend, they may be as unconverted (an unforgiven sinner) as any pagan in the darkest place of the Earth. Is there something that is separating you from Christ? Is there anything that is keeping you from Him? Get rid of it! For this young man, it was riches.
Matthew 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. (KJV)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples . . . after the young man left. As Mark observes, He "looked round about" (Mk.10:23) with concern, and in order to affect their minds with this incident, and to raise their attention to what He was about to say:
Verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven . . . This is still very true in today's world; not many rich, not many noble, not many of the great ones of the Earth are TRUE Christians. They may profess to be, may say they are Christians, but in reality they do NOT possess Christ in their heart nor do they obey His commands. Those "that have riches" are by Christ said to "trust in riches"; and which rich men in common are very apt to do, as this young man did, against which the apostle Paul cautions (1 Tim.6:17-19). Shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven . . . shall have difficulty being saved, for they have much to struggle with; and it requires the greatest of human efforts to break away from the devil’s temptations and secure their salvation (1 Tim.6:9-10).
Matthew 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. (KJV)
And again I say unto you . . . again, Jesus tells the apostles how hard it is to resist riches. Rich men becoming followers of Christ is next to impossible, and now He expresses himself in this proverbial way.
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 . . . many people miss the humor that the Lord at times used, and this passage is an example. There are some people who come up with the explanation that there was a gate in Jerusalem called "The Eye of the Needle," and that for a camel to go through, it had to kneel to pass through it. The first time I heard that, I thought that sounded logical. But when I started searching the Bible for that gate, I could NOT find it. It is NOT in there. The meaning of that explanation is that a man had to become humble to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which is also logical. But I think that misses the point completely. I really do think that the Lord Jesus is talking about a real camel and a real needle with an eye. I have seen some fairly large needles with some fairly large eyes, but never one with an eye large enough for a camel to pass through. A question: Is it possible for a real camel to go through the eye of a real needle? NO, he will not make it! It is impossible. BUT . . . would it be possible for God to put a camel through a needle's eye? YES! With God all things are possible! God can do anything! And my dear friend, only God can regenerate a man. THAT is the point the Lord is making here. 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.
Many people today think they are going to be saved by who they are or by what they have, or what church they belong to. That is absolutely false! You are truly saved when you find out and admit that you are a sinner, a beggar in God's sight, with nothing to offer Him for your salvation. If a person thinks that he can do something or pay God for salvation, he can NO more be saved than a camel can go through the eye of a needle.
See: The Truth about salvation . . . http://www.hisservants.org/how_can_i_be_saved_h_s.htm
Matthew 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? (KJV)
When his disciples heard it . . . the difficulty of a rich man's entering into the
Kingdom of Heaven, and annoyed by the above proverbial expression,
They were exceedingly amazed . . . they were surprised at His first words; but when He confirmed them by the proverb of a camel's passing through the eye of a needle, they were, as Mark says, "astonished out of measure". They did not think there was any difficulty of rich men being accepted into the Kingdom of the Messiah, which they thought to be a worldly one, and would be filled with rich men, but when He stated by the proverb, the impossibility of such men becoming the subjects of the Kingdom, their amazement increased;
Saying, Who then can be saved? . . . as in Mark, "among themselves", privately to one another. The amazement of the disciples should be considered in connection with the incident which came after the astonishing remark. If they had been thinking of rich men who grind the poor and live licentiously, they would not have been surprised. But the case before their minds was that of a rich man who lacked only the one thing of being perfect. It was the statement that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for such a rich man to be saved, that amazed them and suggested the question, "Who then can be saved?"
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (KJV)
But Jesus beheld them . . . looking earnestly at them, and knowing their reasonings among themselves, although they did not speak out so as to be heard by Him. There
was no reason why they should be in so much concern, as their faces showed, or possess such fears.
And said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible . . . Mark adds, "but not with God; for with God all things are possible". No matter who you are, you are a candidate for salvation IF you recognize and admit that you have nothing to offer God but come to Him like a beggar with empty hands. When and IF you come to Him like that, He can and will save you, no matter what you have done in the past. With God all things are possible.
Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? (KJV)
Then answered Peter and said unto him . . . after Peter had observed what Christ said to the young man, telling him to sell all that he had, and give to the poor, and he would have treasure in Heaven, he addresses Jesus in the following manner,
Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee . . . although the apostles’ worldly substance was not as large as the young man's, nor did they have large estates to sell, to give to the poor, but, they all had they left all they had for Christ's sake: their parents, wives, children, houses, and worldly employments, by which they supported themselves and their families; and became disciples and followers of Christ, embraced His doctrines, submitted to His commands, imitated Him in the exercise of grace, they denied themselves, and suffering many hardships on His account: therefore they asked,
What shall we have therefore? . . . what is our reward for all this? what part in the Messiah's kingdom? or what treasure in Heaven?
Matthew 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. (KJV)
And Jesus said unto them . . . to all the disciples whom Peter represented.
Verily I say unto you . . . listen to Me, what I am about to say is important.
That ye which have followed me . . . Christ knew that they had forsaken all for
His sake, but only takes notice of their following Him.
In the regeneration . . . regeneration occurs only once elsewhere in the New Testament (Tit.3:5). It literally means a new birth, or being born again. Applied to man, it means the great change when the heart is renewed, or when the sinner becomes a child of God. This is its meaning clearly in Titus. But this meaning cannot be applied here. Christ was not born again, and in no proper sense could it be said that they had followed him in the new birth. Regeneration also means any great changes, or restoration of things to a former state, or to a better state. In this sense it is probably used here. When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory . . . that is, to judge the world. Throne of glory, is used to denote his character as a King and Judge, and to signify the great dignity and majesty which will be displayed by Him. (Mat.24:30; 26:64; Acts 1:11; 17:31).
Sit upon twelve thrones . . . I believe that this is symbolic. To sit on a throne means power and honor; and means that they should be distinguished above others, and be more highly honored and rewarded.
Judging the twelve tribes of Israel . . . Judge Jesus will be the Judge of the quick and the dead. Only He, and He alone is qualified for it; and the Father has given all judgment to the Son (Jn.5:22). To judge, means rank, authority, power. The ancient judges of Israel were men of distinguished courage, patriotism, honor, and valor. The word means not so much an actual exercise of the power of passing judgment, as the honor attached to the office. Just as earthly kings have those around them counsellors and judges, so Christ says His apostles shall occupy the same station in the great day. They shall be honored by Him, and by all, as apostles; as having in the face of persecution left all; and endured all the persecutions of the world.
Matthew 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. (KJV)
And everyone that hath forsaken houses, brethren or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, or lands, for my name's sake . . . not only the apostles of Christ, but any other believer in Him, in any age, that should be called to leave their homes, or leave their closest relations, friends, and substance:
Shall receive an hundred fold . . . Mark adds, "now in this time"; and Luke adds, "in this present time", in this world; which may be understood either in spiritual things, the love of God, the Presence of Christ, the comforts of the Holy Ghost, the unity of saints, and the joys and pleasures felt in the enjoyment of these things, being a hundred times more and better to them, than all they have left or lost for Christ's sake; or in temporary things of the world.
Even houses and brethren, and sisters and mothers, and children and lands . . .
they would NOT receive for the leaving one house, a hundred houses; or for forsaking one brother, a hundred brethren . . . which is true, as to a spiritual relation; but that the small meager amount of this world's goods, and the few friends they would have "with persecutions" along with them, and amidst them, would be so changed for the better to them, with the love and Presence of God, and that these would be more and SO much better to them than a hundred houses, fields, and friends, without them:
And shall inherit everlasting life . . . other writers add, "in the world to come", which is SO much better, for this is an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, which fades not away, reserved in the heavens for you (1 Pet.1:4), when all other inheritances are corruptible, defiled, fading and perishing; houses fall, relations die, friends fail you over and over again, and lands do not continue for ever. The children of God have the best of it, for they have been called, to quit all worldly enjoyments for Christ's sake, are favored with His Presence in the world to come, for they shall enjoy eternal glory and happiness with Him forever. There shall be a reward for ALL the saved ones who have sacrificed for Jesus' sake. Many unknown saints, of whom the world has never heard, will be given great rewards in His Presence someday. In that day I really think that many of the well known Christian leaders who receive extensive praise in this life, that will be ignored, while many unknown saints of God will be rewarded. What a glorious and wonderful picture this presents to us!
Matthew 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first. (KJV)
But many that are first shall be last . . . this may refer to, either the young ruler, signifying that he, and others like him, who were superior in riches and honor, were first in this world, of the first rank and figure, would be the last in the world to come.
And the last shall be first . . . the apostles, who were last in this world, being poor and lowest class, would be the first in the other world: or to the Scribes and Pharisees, who were in the chief place, and highest esteem in the Jewish church, and yet least in the Kingdom of Heaven; when, on the other hand, the publicans and sinners, who were in the lowest class, and in least esteem, would be first in it: or it could refer to persecution, when some, who seem so strong to endure it, but when it comes nearer, are quick to back away; while others, who seemed most fearful of it, and ready to shrink at the thoughts of it, instead bear it. This sentence is confirmed and illustrated, by a parable, in the following chapter, and seems should have been connected with the following chapter.
Gospel of Matthew
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