Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/The Gospel of Matthew/Chapter 19

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Matthew 19 (New International Version)[edit]

Matthew 19:1-30 (New International Version)
Matthew 19

Divorce

1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" 4 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female. 5 and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? 6 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." 7 "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" 8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery." 10 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." 11 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."

The Little Children and Jesus

13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. 14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

The Rich Young Man

16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" 17 "Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." 18 "Which ones?" the man inquired.Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself." 20 "All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?" 21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, "Who then can be saved?" 26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." 27 Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" 28 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.


Summary of Matthew 19[edit]

The nineteenth chapter of the book of Matthew is made up of three different pericopes or stories:

First, testing and questioning from the Pharisees about divorce,
Second, Jesus prays for the children, and
Third, a rich man questioning Jesus on how to obtain eternal life.

The first pericope begins with Jesus leaving Galilee and going into Judea. When Jesus gets there the Pharisees try to trap him and ask him questions about the law in order to make him say something wrong. They ask Jesus about divorce, when it’s lawful. Jesus answers the question with knowledge that comes full circle starting back in the beginning when God created man and woman.

From there Matthew goes into blessing and praying for the children. The disciples thought the Jesus had more important things to do then bless the children people had brought.

Next, Matthew goes into the story of the rich young man. A man comes to Jesus wanting to know how to obtain eternal life. Jesus answers with some commandments then tells him to sell everything and follow him. With this the man leaves Jesus truly sad for he has great wealth. Jesus then turns to his disciples and tells them that it is hard for a rich man to get into heaven. Then he goes on to tell them that with God all things are possible and that anyone who leaves anything and everything to follow him will receive a hundred times as much and will obtain eternal life.


Themes[edit]

Discipleship,the Law, blessing the children, obtaining eternal life, and the teachings of Jesus.

Paraphrase[edit]

Matthew 19[edit]

1 When Jesus was done he left Galilee and went to Judea. 2 large crowds followed behind and he healed them there.


Divorce & Marriage: Verses 3-12[edit]

3 Some of the Pharisees challenged him on the law. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" 4 Jesus relied, Haven’t you read? At the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female, 5 and 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6 they are now no longer two but one. God has made them and joined them together so man should not separate them.

7 Then the Pharisees asked why did Moses say that a man could give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away? 8 Jesus replies to their testing with, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 He goes on to say, I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

10 Then the disciples start to question as well,"If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." 11 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."[1]

  1. You have not acknowledged your heavy indebtedness to the NIV.

The Children: Verses 13-15[edit]

13 as time went on the little children were brought to Jesus so that he may place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples tried to turn away those who brought them. 14 When Jesus saw this he said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he was done praying for them, he went on from there.

The Rich Young Man: Verses 16-30[edit]

16 As time passed a young man came to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" 17 Jesus replied, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

18 "Which ones?" the man asks. Jesus replies, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" 20 With this the young man said. "All these I have kept," He wonders then says, "What do I still lack?" 21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this, he went away, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When the disciples heard this, they were worried and asked, "Who then can be saved?" 26 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

27 To this Peter answered him, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" 28 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Map of Galilee to Judea[edit]

This map shows the distance that Jesus and his Disciples walked. This also show how far the multitude of people walked to follow Jesus and hear his his teachings.


Galilee to Judea.gif [[1]]

Structural Analysis of Matthew 19[edit]

  • Divorce & Marriage: Verses 1-12
    • Vss. 1-2: When Jesus left Galilee and went to Judea on the other side of the Jordan.
      • Large crowed followed and gathered.
    • Vss. 3-6: The Pharisees came to test him.
      • They questioned him on the law about divorce.
      • Jesus replies that the Creator made male and female and the man is to be united to his wife. So they should not separate.’
    • Vss. 7-9: The Pharisees challenged “Why then, did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce?"
      • Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. “
        • Anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.
    • Vss. 10-12: Jesus’ disciples replied, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
      • Jesus says, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. "
  • The Children: Verses 13-15
    • Vss. 13-15: The children were brought to Jesus so that he may pray for them.
      • But the disciples turned away the ones who brought their children to see Jesus.
    • Jesus stated, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
  • The Rich Young Man: Verses 16-30
    • Vss. 16-17: A man asks Jesus what good thing must I do to get eternal life?
      • Jesus replies, obey the commandments.
    • Vss. 18-20: He asks, “Which commandments?”
      • Jesus answers, “do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, 'and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"
      • The young man states he has kept all of these commandments
    • Vss. 21-22: Jesus answered, " sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
    • The young man heard this and left
    • Vss. 23-26: Jesus said, "it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “
      • Disciples asked, then who can be saved?
      • Jesus said, with God all things are possible.
    • Vss. 27- 30: Peter said to Jesus, We have left everything to follow you, what is there for us?
      • Jesus said, at the renewal of all things, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones.
        • Everyone who has left everything to follow me will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.
        • But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Parallel Passages Study[edit]

Key:

Blue (Same text in Matthew, Mark, and Luke)

Yellow (Same text in Matthew and Mark)

Red (Same text in Matthew and Luke)

Green (Same text in Mark and Luke)

Dark Purple (Same text in Mark, Luke and John)

Solid Line (word-for-word).


Rich young man1-0.png
Rich young man1-1.png
Rich young man1-2.png


Comparisons with the other Gospels[edit]

Within the nineteenth chapter of Matthew the parable of the "Rich man" lines up with Mark chapter 10:17-31 and Luke chapter 18:18-30. The purpose of the parallels and comparisons of all three Gospels is to show how they each relate to one another and how they differ. By having this story written in more than one place we can get a better idea and understanding of what happen, what was meant to be thought, and was is to be learned. It also gives the parable or story credibility, belief, or trust because it’s written three different times. It’s easy to see that a slight difference in words or the placing of words can change the meaning behind the words and the meaning of the story. It is also easy to become to caught up with all the differences within each story or parable. It’s important to recognize that even though there are many small differences between the three Gospels each of them are stating the same story with the same point of the story. Even though it’s hard not to wonder what truly happen when the events occurred.

Questions and Observations[edit]

1. Throughout the three different accounts there are many parallels so it can be assumed that they are talking about the same event.

2. Why does it seem like Matthews version of the account flows as if it’s more of a full story father then a list of one of the many accounts of Jesus?

3. Mark and Luke seem to have more in common then Matthew with either one of them.

4. Why are the commandments out of order?

5. The fact that Matthew, Mark and Luke all have recorded what seems to be the same account does it show that this event is more true or less true because the accounts are not the same?

6. What is the real age of the man?

7. Does it make a difference if he if older or younger?

8. Does it make a difference if he is a ruler or not?

9. Why is it that the word “Good” is placed in different places?

10. Why do Mark and Luke call Jesus “good teacher” and Matthew doesn’t?

11. Is Jesus denying his goodness?

12. Does Jesus not know he’s God?

13. Why is it so hard for “rich” people to get into heaven?

14. What is the definition of “rich”?

15. The really who will go to heaven?

16. Why does it sound like it has to be through us doing/giving something?

17. Which gospel was written first?

18. Does this make a difference in the meaning of the story?


Verse by verse analysis[edit]

Divorce[edit]

Vss. 19:1-12

‘’’19:1-2’’’ In Matthew 19:1 it talks about Jesus leaving Galilee and going into the region of Judea. This transition for Galilee to Judea is an important mark in Jesus ministry and in His life. “He is beginning to fulfill his own prediction as to his fate.” (Eiselen 983). This is now showing the reader that he is now one step closer to fulfilling his own prophecy.

‘’’19:3’’’ This verse starts the strategy the Pharisees plan to trap Jesus in to saying something wrong about the law. The way Jesus responds “suggest that the Pharisees’ question was not genuine-indeed, that their motives were malicious" (Luz 489). “The issue was not divorce itself, the right to which they took for granted, but rather the justifiable grounds for divorce" (Hagner 547).

‘’’19:4-6’’’ Then Jesus responds to the Pharisees trap with ““Have you not read?” As if to say, “You people who are always boasting about your knowledge of the law, and you have not read (NT com).” Jesus refers back to the beginning to Genesis 1:1 with statement of man and wife with 2 becoming one. “Each, accordingly, was made for the other, with the definite purpose of joining together one man to one woman. Those who are eager for divorce ignore this fact" (Hendriksen 715).

‘’’19:7-9’’’ To this answer the Pharisees thought they had him beat. Then why, the Pharisees said, did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away? Jesus replies that Moses permitted one to divorce his wives because their hearts were hard. Then he refers back to the beginning one man one woman. Then Jesus states that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery. “His method is the same as theirs: he interprets one passage by reference to other scriptural passages" (Hare 220). “If you quote Moses then I will the God of Moses, and with him I am always strong" (Simonetti 91).

‘’’19: 10-12’’’ In this verse the disciples make their entrance. So the disciples then replied with then it is better to not get married at all according to what Jesus saying. “These men did not as yet fully understand that the spirit of love, service, and sacrifice, the very attitude of their Master, must be applied to every relationship of life, also to that of marriage" (Hendriksen 717). They need to realize that marriage is more than just a commitment between two people it is understanding life through the relationship of man and woman as being applied to everyday relationship. It is also because it relates to the relationship between human and Christ. Not everyone can accept lifelong celibacy. “To properly fulfill the responsibilities of marriage requires grace. This grace is God’s gift. Without this divine help true, God-glorifying marriage is impossible" (Hendriksen 718).

Children[edit]

‘’’19:13-15” Within this verse the children are brought to Jesus to be prayed for. The disciples intervene because they feel that they are not an adult and cannot be held responsible for their actions. It is suggested that the disciples did not want the children to approach Jesus because of their parents. “Was their reason, ‘Jesus must not be bothered; he has things to do that are far more important than blessing babies?’ (Hendriksen, 720)?” Jesus disagreed with them saying that they children had just as much right to as the adults to see him. After that Jesus prayed for them and blessed them. Shows good parenting in bringing children into the church. Baby/infant dedication. Important for parents to show Jesus to their children.

Rich Young Man[edit]

19:16-30

19:16-22 This parable starts off with a young man coming to Christ wanting to know what he can do to get eternal life. Jesus answers with giving the man a list of commandments he must follow such as, 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, ‘and 'love your neighbor as yourself. The fact that the man was so intent on “which one?” shows that he wants to know how to obtain eternal life. “If his purpose had been to put Jesus to a test, the Evangelist would have given some indication of this as he does in other cases, for instance, in the case of the lawyer (Simonetti, 99).” The man staying silent shows his strong desire to know which commandments would bring him life. After the man had heard this he confessed that he had kept the laws and asked what he could do to maintain eternal life. Jesus told him to sell, give, and follow. With this the young man left for he had great wealth.

19:23-30 Jesus begins talking to the disciples about why is hard for a rich man to get to heaven. “Jesus is saying that ‘a rich man with difficulty shall enter the kingdom of heaven.’ (Hindricksen, 726)” It is so difficult that it may even be impossible. He said that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven. It is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Then Jesus goes on to say that with man it is impossible but with God all things are possible. At this Peter immediately with “we have left everything to follow you. What then will there be for us?”. He began thinking about the wellbeing of himself and the other disciples. Jesus ends with anyone who leaves anything and everything to follow me will receive 100 times more than their possessions and will also receive eternal life.

Word Study[edit]

Adultery

μοιχάω (1) middle, of the man commit adultery, be an adulterer (MT 5.32; 19.9; MK 10.11); (2) passive, of the woman commit adultery, be an adulteress (MK 10.12)

Eunich

εὐνοῦχος, ου, ὁ from εὐνή (bed) and ἔχω (hold); (1) strictly one in charge of the bed chamber; hence eunuch, castrated male (MT 19.12b); often a trusted official in Middle Eastern courts (cf. AC 8.27-39); (2) of a male born without ability to reproduce (MT 19.12a); (3) figuratively, of one who imposes sexual abstinence on himself, celibate (MT 19.12c)


Pharisees

Φαρισαῖος, ου, ὁ transliterated from the Hebrew word meaning one who is set apart, separatist; Pharisee, a member or follower of the sect of the Pharisees, an organized society of Jews who claimed authority in interpreting the Scripture and setting rules for the observance of the law in daily life


'Theological application to today[edit]

When we start to think about how Matthew chapter nineteen could be applied today we can see how the significance of this passage is still seen. Regarding the verses 1-12 the significance is unreal. When the Pharisees ask Jesus if it’s lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason we get the answer to the divorce rate in our society today. We learn from Jesus answer that in the beginning God created one man for one woman and for us to separate what God has down and created is wrong. So in regarding the Pharisees question it is not lawful to divorce your wife for any and every reason. Now we know that this does not mean that there aren’t reasons for divorcing your significant other. In all reality we know there is but how can we forget that in the beginning God created the one significant other. When the Pharisees try to rebuttal with the quote Moses in verses 7-9 Jesus comes back to say Moses said that because their hearts were hardened. For the fact that their hearts were hardened this means that their heart wasn’t in it in the first place. This should always be taking in consideration when people are getting married and if they are considering divorced.

When trying relate Jesus blessing the children in verses 13-15 to a lesson that can be used today we can see

a. how Jesus handles and loves the children and
b. how the disciples handled the children and their parents.

When the parents of the children start to bring them to Jesus the disciples try to push them away thinking that Jesus doesn’t have time to bless the children and has better things to do. But when Jesus saw this he told them that everyone deserves to be blessed and they have a place in the kingdom of heaven as well. We need to remember that everyone is equal even children and they need prayer as much as the next person.

Another application can be within the parable of the rich young man in verses 16-30. We all come to Christ asking him what we can do to obtain eternal life with him in heaven. This rich man comes to Jesus wanting this knowledge. Jesus shows us right here that we must keep the commandments and then he goes deeper. Jesus comes to his last part of his answer sell, give, and follow me. Jesus says to the rich man, “go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The man leaves Jesus with this last answer. We, today, have a hard time with the giving and selling of our “things”. Why? We want so badly to know this knowledge but then when we do know we don’t act upon this last part of the answer. We struggle with this today and we don’t even realize it. At the end of this Jesus gives us hope as he always does in verse 26 Jesus says to his disciples, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” But with God all things are possible. How much more hope do you need. Even though we struggle with following everything we need to we must remember that we cannot do it on our own we need God with us because through him all things are possible.

Bibliography:[edit]

  • " Adultery." Logos 3.0, Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa Id. 30 Mar. 2010.
  • Friberg, T., Friberg, B., and Miller, N. F. 2000. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 4. Baker's Greek New Testament Library (265). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.
  • "Eunich." Logos 3.0, Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa Id. 30 Mar. 2010.
  • Hare, D. R. A. 1993. Matthew. Interpretation, A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox Press.
  • Hindricksen, William (1995). Matthew. New Testament Commentary (711-733). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  • Mays, J. L., Harper & Row, P., & Society of Biblical Literature. (1996, c1988). Harper's Bible commentary (Mt 19:1). San Francisco: Harper & Row.
  • "Pharisees." Logos 3.0, Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa Id. 30 Mar. 2010.
  • Simonetti, Manlio (2002). Matthew 14-18. Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (88-105). Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.
  • Zondervan NIV Study Bible. Fully rev. ed. Kenneth L. Barker, gen. ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008.[1]
  1. This is a confusion of styles. You have followed partly the SBL Handbook and partly MLA and partly made stuff up.