Wednesday Night Bible Survey

February 1, 1995

Matthew 19-20

Matthew 19

:1-2  Heading south

So, Jesus moves away from the northern part of the country, south to Judea.

:3-9  Divorce

:3  put away his wife

Or, divorce

:3  for every cause

or, "for just any old reason?"

:6  What therefore God hath joined together ...

Jesus' argument is based on Genesis 2, and He quotes from there in verse 5.

Genesis 2:22-AV And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  23And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.  25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

Note:  It was God that brought the woman to Adam.  It was God that put them together.

Jesus is saying that the model marriage is found in the first marriage, the one that God created.

In the first marriage, God made one man and one woman.

They were married when they cleaved together and became "one flesh"

If God has joined two people together into one flesh, then no human should be trying to split up what God has made.

In other words, Jesus is saying, "No divorce".


God wants permanence in marriage.

:7  Why did Moses then command ...

The Pharisees are responding to Jesus.

If Jesus is saying there should be no divorce, then how come Moses gave permission for it?

Moses' law:

Deuteronomy  24:1-4 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's [wife]. 3  And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife; 4  Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

:1  uncleanness - Some interpreted this to be just about anything a man wanted it to be.  If your wife burnt the toast, out she goes!  Some gave this a stricter interpretation, such as adultery.  The Hebrew word does actually have a kind of sexual tone to it.  It's usual translation is "nakedness".

Once divorced, a woman could marry another man.  But if she ends up divorced or widowed again, she was forbidden to go back to the first husband.

:8  because of the hardness of your hearts

It was by way of concession that God, through Moses, allowed man a way out of a marriage.

But originally, God intended man and woman to stay married.

Even today, God's best is still for husband and wife to stay married.

Even when there's been unfaithfulness in a marriage, God would rather have the offending party confess and repent, and the offended party to forgive, rather than for divorce.

God Himself, as shown in the life and writings of the prophet Hosea, has put up with all our unfaithfulness, and He still takes us back.

Hosea was told by the Lord to marry a prostitute.

After they got married, she went back to work.

Hosea had to buy his own wife, he had to pay for her like her other customers.

God said that His relationship with Israel was a lot like that.

But if a person just can't handle the unfaithfulness, God allows for divorce.

Proverbs   6:32-35  [But] whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he [that] doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33  A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34  For jealousy [is] the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35  He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.

God understands when a person gets to the point where they can't get over the hurt.

:9  except it be for fornication

Biblical reasons for divorce and remarriage:

(Note:  You could divorce your spouse for the wrong reasons, and if neither of you remarry or become intimate with another person, you are not guilty of adultery)

1.  Immorality

Here is the reason Jesus gives for divorce

porneia  defined as:

1) illicit sexual intercourse 1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse  with animals etc. 1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18 1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12

It's kind of a little broader term than just moixeia, which is strictly sex with a married person.

What I believe Jesus is doing here, is defining what should be meant as "uncleanness" in Deut.24:1.

He defines it as sexual immorality.

2.  Abandonment

We do believe there is one other justification for divorce and remarriage, and that is abandonment:

1Corinthians 7:15-AV But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace.

Some would put a strict interpretation on this, where the person leaving has to be an unbeliever.

Some see even a believing spouse that leaves as acting as though they were an unbeliever, and hence applicable.

The important point when it comes to whether or not you could be remarried is whether or not your spouse wants the marriage or not.

:9  whosoever shall put away his wife, except ...

So what do I do if I've been divorced and remarried, and it wasn't for Biblical reasons?

1.  Confess your sin to God.

Admit to God that you've blown it.

Ask God to forgive you!

1John 1:9-AV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2.  Stay with your current spouse!

According to Deut.24:1-4, it would be an abomination for you to go back to your former spouse now.

Stay in the condition you're in when God calls you!

1Corinthians 7:20-AV Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.

1Corinthians 7:27-AV Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

Why can't I just divorce my spouse, get remarried, confess my sin, and go on like everyone else?

God doesn't want you to commit sin.

When you commit sin, it's like pounding a nail into a piece of wood.

When you ask for forgiveness, God pulls out the nail.

But the hole is still there.

There are always consequences to sin.

God would much rather you stay with your old battle-axe, learn to love him/her like you should, and avoid the much greater pain of divorce.

Also, you'll most likely find the same problems in your next marriage, because you're still in the picture!

Changing spouses is no guarantee of happiness, but it is a guarantee of a lot of pain.

What if I'm separated from my spouse, or divorced, but neither of us are remarried?

Hold out for your marriage until:

Either the other spouse remarries

Or it is clear they've abandoned you and have no plans to come back.

:10-12  Eunuchs

:10  it is not good to marry

I think this is rather humorous.

In other words, the disciples are so bummed with Jesus' strictness on divorce, they are thinking that maybe nobody should ever bother getting married!

:11  All men cannot receive this saying

Hey guys, not everybody can do this celebacy-for-life kind of thing.

:12  eunuchs ...

Jesus gives three types of people who live their lives with not having sex:

1.  From the womb

People who were born with some kind of physical limitation.

2.  Made eunuchs of men

Ancient kings would castrate the servants who waited on their queens.

These were the kind of guys who were in charge of the harem.

Those ancient kings weren't dumb!

3.  Made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake

People who have been given the ability, by God, to abstain from marriage.

This is a "gift".  (vs.11, "to whom it is given")

It's not for everybody.

1Corinthians 7:7-9AV For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.  8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.  9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

Some have suggested that Paul was married at one time, but either widowed or divorced, because he was supposedly a member of the Sanhedrin.  They base this on:

Acts 26:10-AV Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against [them].

They suggest that Paul is saying that he cast his vote in the Sanhedrin.  All members of the Sanhedrin were to be married.But that's not necessarily so!.

The rule, that members must be married, was written by Rabbi Akiba, in the late 1st and early 2nd century, almost a hundred years after Paul.

There are no other scriptures that say that Paul was ever anything but single and celebate.

Help!  I'm afraid God's going to make me a eunuch!

Some of you are probably afraid of that, I was once too!

It doesn't work that way.

Psalms 37:4-AV Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

As long as you are seeking the Lord, and making Him the delight of your life, and then if you don't want to be a eunuch, that's proof that you're not gifted by God to be a eunuch!

You just need to be praying for your spouse!

Pray that God would be blessing and helping them grow in Him!

Pray that God will be making you the kind of spouse you are supposed to be!

:13-15  Jesus and the children

:14  forbid them not

Do you sense Jesus' heart for the children?

We as parents need to understand that Jesus wants us to bring our children to Him.

Lesson #1:

Don't hinder a child's relationship with Jesus

Did you notice Jesus' choice of words?

He almost makes it sound as if children would naturally want to come to Him.

It's important that we don't get in the way of that.


Some nights, being too tired, we don't read the Bible storybooks.

But David or Daniel say, "Can we read the Bible stories tonight?"

It's really tempting to say, "Not tonight, I'm too tired..."

Lesson #2:

Children's Ministry should be a big priority for us.

This verse is why I feel we need to make our Children's Ministry a priority.

Sunday School is not about "babysitting".

It's about leading these precious little ones to Jesus, and letting Him put His hands on them.

This is why I do silly things like have a "name that kid" contest at Sunday night's potluck.

Our children are precious to Jesus, and it is our desire that they love Him and love coming to church.

:16-22  The Rich Young Ruler

:17  there is none good but one, that is, God

Pay close attention here.

Jesus isn't saying that He's not good.

He is fascinated by the fact that the man hit it right on the head!

Jesus is Good.  Jesus is God.

:17  but if thou wilt enter into life ...

I think Jesus is going to lead this man in a round about way to look right into the mirror, right at himself!

:21  perfect


brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness; full grown, adult, of full age, mature

this man's talked about what he's done from his youth, and now Jesus is saying what he must do as a grown man.

:21  go and sell

Many people have had problems with this through the centuries.

We think that Jesus is saying that the way to get into heaven is to sell all you own and give it to the poor.

But I don't think Jesus is giving the normal requirements here.

He's just nailing this guy with his own personal problem.

This guy had a problem with money.

His money was getting in the way of following Jesus.

And Jesus very skillfully gets right to the point.

To another Jesus would say:

Matthew 10:37-AV He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.


Don't let anything keep you from Jesus

What is keeping you from following Jesus?

Is it drugs or sex?

You don't want to give them up?

Is it bitterness against someone?

"There's too many hypocrites in the church"

Are you saying that you're going to let those stupid hypocrites stand between you and God?

:23-26  The difficulty of riches and believing

:24  camel ... eye of a needle

Who says Jesus doesn't have a sense of humor?

Some have tried to explain this verse with some very stretched points, but they're missing the point.

The point is that it's VERY difficult for a rich person to be saved.


Because their money can be their god.

:25  amazed ... who then can be saved?

To the disciples, this was incredible.

After all, the rich people could have anything they wanted.

Doesn't money buy everything?

Do we ever think that way?

Have you ever heard of people saying that they "want it all..."?


Beware of a desire for wealth!


   Christina Onassis said, "Happiness is not based on money and the greatest proof of that is our family."


   In 1923, nine of the world's most successful financiers met at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel.  Financially, they literally "held the world by the tail" -- anything that money could buy was within their grasp -- they were rich -- rich -- rich!  Read their names and the high position each held:

 1. Charles Schwab, the president of the largest steel company.

 2. Samuel Insull, the president of the largest electric utility company.

 3. Howard Hopson, the president of the largest gas company.

 4. Arthur Cutten, the great wheat speculator.

 5. Richard Whitney, the president of the New York Stock Exchange.

 6. Albert Fall, the Secretary of Interior in President Harding's Cabinet.

 7. Jesse Livermore, the greatest "bear" on Wall Street.

 8. Ivar Kreuger, head of the world's greatest monopoly.

 9. Leon Fraser, president of the Bank of International Settlements.

   A tremendously impressive group -- right?  Would you like to change positions with one of them?  Before you decide, let's look at the picture 25 years later -- in 1948:

 1. Charles Schwab was forced into bankruptcy and lived the last five years before his death on borrowed money.

 2. Samuel Insull not only died in a foreign land, a fugitive from justice, but was penniless.

 3. Howard Hopson was insane.

 4. Arthur Cutten became insolvent and had died abroad.

 5. Richard Whitney had just been released from Sing Sing prison.

 6. Albert Fall had been pardoned from prison so he could die at home -- broke.

 7. Jesse Livermore had died a suicide.

 8. Ivar Kreuger took his own life.

 9. Leon Fraser also committed suicide.

   Now, are you still impressed with this group?  A vast amount of talent and potential went down the drain with these men.  What happened?

   Their lives were out of balance!

:26  with God all things are possible

God can even save a rich person.  Amazing!

:27-30  Rewards

:27  what shall we have therefore?

Unlike the young ruler, Peter reminds Jesus that he and the other disciples have given up everything to follow Him.

So, what kinds of rewards are they going to get?

:28  sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel

This judging of Israel would seem to be something specific to the twelve disciples.

Since there is a specific number tying them together.

But we too will be a part of thrones and judgment:

Revelation 3:21-AV To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

:29  shall receive an hundredfold

Mark adds to this:

Mark 10:30-AV But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

In other words, it's not just in heaven that we'll receive some of the rewards, but here as well.

How do we receive a hundredfold houses, brethren, sisters, etc.?

I think some of it is here right now.

God has made us a family.

For some of you, God's family is easily far better than any family you've ever known.

Welcome to the family!!!!!!

:30  first shall be last ...

This mysterious saying probably is kind of a rebuke to Peter for asking about rewards, and refers to ranks in the kingdom.

The following parable in chapter 20 illustrates it.

Matthew 20

:1-16  Laborers in the Vineyard

Note:  Jesus doesn't give us an interpretation, He leaves that up to the disciples.

Keep in mind the context.

Peter has been asking about what kinds of rewards and position that he and the others are going to get in heaven.

Lessons and implications

1.  Many are called

Many people are called into God's fields to work.

Apparently, not all respond.

Otherwise the master wouldn't have to keep inviting other to the fields.

2.  Some work longer.

Some are called to follow Jesus at an early age.

Some are grown up when they hear Jesus' call.

Some are on their death-beds.

3.  Don't resent the latecomers.

Those who work longer shouldn't be upset at the newcomers.

Those who follow Jesus from their youth shouldn't be bummed out because someone accepts Jesus on their deathbed.

Hey, they have eternal life!  That's what's important.

4.  God keeps His word.

He gave to each laborer whatever was agreed upon.

5.  Equal wages

All who serve Jesus will get the same penny.

What aspect of God's wages are equal across the board?

The penny is eternal life.

6.  The Master is the master (vs.15).

God is God.  He can do whatever He wants to do.

7.  This doesn't nullify rewards in heaven.

The point of this parable is to show the aspect of God giving eternal life too all who respond.

We learn more about rewards in other Scriptures.

:17-19  Another warning

:17  going up to Jerusalem

You'll find this phrase used a lot in the Bible.

We think of up and down in terms of a map, up being north and down being south.

But the people in this day thought of it as literally up and down.

Jerusalem was on a hill, and you had to go up to get to it.

Jesus is actually traveling south to Jerusalem, but He will have to climb the hill, or mountain to get up to the city.

In the Psalms, there are a series of songs called the "Songs of Ascents".  These merely refer to songs that were sung by the caravans of people who came to Jerusalem for the various Jewish Feasts, as they climbed up the hill to the city.

:19  and the third day he shall rise again

Note all the times that Jesus has been warning the disciples about the specific events that He and they would be facing.

Isn't it amazing that the disciples were so surprised at the resurrection?

:20-28  Great Servants

:20  the mother ...

A very good Jewish mother indeed, looking out for the welfare of her sons.

:20  Zebedee's children

Who were the two "sons of Zebedee"?

James and John.

Also known as "sons of thunder", apparently describing their level of patience and understanding.

:22  drink of the cup ... baptized with the baptism

Jesus is talking of the ordeal He would face in His death.

:23  not mine to give ... of my Father

Here we see a glimpse of Jesus' relationship with God the Father.

Jesus was in subjection to the Father.

This was one of the issues that the Father had control over.

:24  Ye shall drink indeed of my cup

Jesus is saying, "You're sure right you'll drink My cup".

James was the first apostle to die a martyr's death, by the sword by Herod.

John was tortured, even thrown into boiling oil.

:24  the ten ... indignation

They were upset because it looked like James and John are trying to secretly get favors from the boss.

Ever experience something like this at work?  Where someone is trying to kiss up to the boss and get next in line for a promotion?

Jesus is going to lay out for all of them what the keys to getting ahead in His business are.

:27  chief ... servant

In God's business, the way to get ahead is not by stepping on people, the way is by serving them.

Do you see people as people as things to use, or as people who need help?


The best thing you can be is a servant

With a servant, no job is too menial.

Jobs are simply things that need to get done, no matter how trivial or gross they are.

In a way, all of us who claim to be followers of Jesus should be on the Helping Hands ministry list.

:28  Even as the Son of man

If you're still having a hard time with this, you don't need to go any further than Jesus.

Was Jesus having a great time sitting behind His desk bossing people around?

He was out touching, healing, and teaching the people.

:29-34  Healing the blind men

:24  Jesus had compassion on them


1) to be moved as to one's bowels, hence to be moved with compassion,   have compassion (for the bowels were thought to be the seat of   love and pity)

This is a word that carries kind of a deep, moving sentiment with it.

What a great example Jesus gives of the previous section.

Everybody else is rebuking these men for getting in Jesus' way.

But Jesus isn't bothered by them.

They aren't "beneath" Him.

He just sees their need.

And He ministers to them.


Love the unloved