Matthew 19:13-30

Thursday Evening Bible Study

February 22, 2007


:13-15 Blessing Children

:13 Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them.

rebukedepitimao – to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely

The disciples are pretty hard on these people who are bringing their children to Jesus.

little childrenpaidion – a young child, a little boy, a little girl

This is the same word used to describe the children in the last chapter. This was the incident that happened when the disciples had actually first been arguing over which of them was the greatest:

(Mat 18:1-7 NKJV) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" {2} Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, {3} and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. {4} "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. {5} "Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. {6} "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. {7} "Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
Part of me is encouraged to see that the disciples are about as thick headed as I am. Jesus has just made it pretty clear about how important children are to Him.
It’s possible that the disciples might have thought that Jesus didn’t really mean “children”, he probably was just talking spiritually. But Jesus was really talking about real children.

What’s not to like about kids?

An ex-farmer writes, “We had spent the day moving from our farmhouse into our new house in town. Early the next morning, our 3 ˝-year old ran into our bedroom to wake us up. I dressed him and told him to play in the yard and to quit bothering us. About 20 minutes later, he came running back. Mommy, Mommy,” he exclaimed, “everybody has doorbells and they all work.”

:14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven."

Letaphiemi – to permit, allow, not to hinder, to give up a thing to a person

forbidkoluo – to hinder, prevent forbid; to withhold a thing from anyone; to deny or refuse one a thing

As a side note, it’s interesting that this particular Greek word is never used as a positive thing in relation to the believer.

For example:
(Luke 9:49-50 NKJV) Now John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us." {50} But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side."
(Luke 11:52 NKJV) "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered."

We probably ought to be careful not to be guilty of “hindering” the things of the kingdom.

:15 And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.

Jesus prayed for the kids. He blessed the kids.

The Bible doesn’t say a thing about having children baptized. It does say plenty about bringing children to Jesus and letting Him bless them.

As a church, we don’t practice infant baptism. The examples and teaching in the Bible of baptism always has to do with believing adults, not infants.

As a church, we DO practice baby dedications – an opportunity to begin the lifelong process of bringing our children to the Lord.

:16-22 Rich Young Ruler

:16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?"

:17 So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

Jesus is either saying that He is not good, or He is saying that He is God. The latter is correct.

Is Jesus saying that you are saved by keeping the Law?

Salvation is always through faith.

(Eph 2:8-9 NKJV) For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, {9} not of works, lest anyone should boast.

But if you are truly saved, your life will start to match the kind of life painted by the Law.

(James 2:14-26 NKJV) What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? {15} If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, {16} and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? {17} Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. {18} But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. {19} You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe; and tremble! {20} But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? {21} Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? {22} Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? {23} And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. {24} You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. {25} Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? {26} For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
It works like this – we are made right with God by simply trusting in Him. But the test of whether or not we are really trusting in God is whether or not our life produces works.
Abraham was made righteous simply by his faith. But his faith was proven by the fact that he was willing to obey God to the point of offering up his son as a sacrifice.

What Jesus says doesn’t contradict salvation by faith. He’s merely testing this man’s faith by challenging his life, by challenging his works.

:18 He said to Him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, " 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not bear false witness,'

:19 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"

The “Ten Commandments” (Ex. 20:1-17) are divided into two groups or two “tables”. The first “table” (or “tablet”) contained the commandments regarding man’s relationship with God. These are the commands that Jesus often summarized with the command “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God …” (Deu.t 6:5).

It’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t quote these first couple commandments to the man. These commandments are rather hard to prove. It’s hard to see if a man really loves God like he says.

The “second” table of the law had to do with our relationships with others. This is the group of laws that Jesus quotes from. Compare the list with what Jesus told the young man:

(Exo 20:12-17 NKJV) "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. {13} "You shall not murder. {14} "You shall not commit adultery. {15} "You shall not steal. {16} "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. {17} "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's."

Jesus adds to this list “love your neighbor” (Lev. 19:18), which is the commandment that summarizes all of these commandments.
Jesus repeats all of the commandments from the second table except for one, “You shall not covet”, the command that deals with the issue of greed, one of the main commands that deal with “stuff”, with material things. This young fellow’s problem is definitely with his “stuff”.

:20 The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?"

:21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."

It seems to me that Jesus is dealing directly with what is keeping this fellow from following after Jesus.

Note: Jesus is not saying that the key to getting to heaven is selling everything you have and giving it to the poor.

Jesus is simply pinpointing this particular fellow’s problem.

To another Jesus would say:

(Mat 10:37 NKJV) "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

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

Even though the young man says he’s kept these things, I think we can question whether or not he really did.

Could he really have loved his neighbor as himself if he was unwilling to sell his possessions and give to the poor?


Don’t let anything keep you from Jesus

Nothing is worth sacrificing your relationship with God.
Abraham was a great example for us to follow.
(Gen 22:1-18 NKJV) Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." {2} Then He said, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."

For Abraham, there was no treasure greater than his son. He had waited so long for God to give him a son. And now God was asking Abraham to give up his son. God was “testing” Abraham.

The test is: Who do you love more – God or Isaac?

{3} So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. {4} Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off. {5} And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the lad and I will go yonder and worship, and we will come back to you."

I don’t think Abraham was lying to the men when he said that he expected to come back with his son. The writer to the Hebrews said that Abraham believed that if it was necessary, God would raise his son from the dead (Heb. 11:19).

{6} So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. {7} But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?"

I imagine this might have been one of those “awkward” moments for Abraham. What does he tell the young man?

{8} And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering."

I see this as prophetic. God provided Himself as the lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God.

So the two of them went together. {9} Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood.

It’s interesting that Isaac seems to go along with this. He could easily overpower his father.

{10} And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. {11} But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." {12} And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

Note who stops Abraham. “The Angel of the Lord”, Jesus Himself.

Abraham had passed the test. There was no need to kill the young man.

{13} Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. {14} And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of The LORD it shall be provided."

This took place on the same mount that would one day be the home of the Temple.

{15} Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, {16} and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son; {17} "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. {18} "In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

Abraham brought blessing to the world because of his obedience.

Abraham’s example is one we ought to follow. We don’t withhold anything from the Lord.

There may be times when God will allow us to complete the sacrifice, to give up the thing that gets in the way with our relationship with Him.

There will be times when God simply wants to know if we’re willing, like Abraham.

:23-26 All is possible with God

:23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

:24 "And again I say to 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."

There are several ideas as to what Jesus is talking about.

Some suggest this might be talking about a small door found in some of the large gates to a city. Supposedly Jerusalem had this kind of a door in one of its gates. The idea was to allow people to come in and out of the city on the Sabbath, but not big wagons and animals carrying large loads. Supposedly these small doors in a gate were called “needles-eyes”. A camel could actually get through one of these doors, but in order to do it, the load had to be taken off the camel, the camel would have to get on its knees, and then it would have to shuffle through on its knees. If this is what Jesus was talking about, then a rich man could be saved as long as he dumps his load and humbles himself on his knees.

Others suggest this is all nonsense.

Jesus is talking about the eye of a sewing needle and trying to get a camel to fit through it.
Jesus isn’t trying to show that a rich man getting to heaven is hard but possible. He’s trying to show that it’s impossible, at least humanly speaking.
(Mat 19:26 NKJV) …But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

:25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"

astonishedekplesso – to strike out, expel by a blow, drive out or away; to be struck with amazement, astonished, amazed – we might say “they were blown away”

The rabbis taught that the closer you were to God, the wealthier you became. The disciples had trouble thinking that a wealthy man would have trouble getting into heaven.

:26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Jesus isn’t saying that a rich man can’t be saved. He’s simply saying that if it were up to us humans, it would be impossible.

But salvation isn’t up to humans. It’s up to God. And nothing is impossible with God.


A man dies. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.” “Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.” “That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!” “Three points?” he says. “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.” “Terrific!” says St. Peter. “That’s certainly worth a point.” “One point!?!! I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.” “Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,” he says. “Two points!?!!” Exasperated, the man cries, “At this rate it’ll just be by the grace of God that I ever get into heaven.” “Bingo, 100 points! Come on in!”

Know any people where it seems “impossible” that they’d come to the Lord?

(Luke 5:4-7 NKJV)  When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." {5} But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." {6} And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. {7} So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.
It’s not up to you, it’s up to Jesus.  He can fill your nets.

:27-30 Rewards for following Jesus

:27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?"

It seems to me that Peter is saying, “Well this fellow couldn’t sell everything and give to the poor, but we’ve given up everything for You, what are we going to get for it?”

:28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

When Jesus comes back, the disciples will rule over the nation of Israel.

With there being “twelve” tribes of Israel, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jesus chose twelve disciples.

:29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.

You may have lost your family when you decided to follow Jesus, but you gained another family in exchange – us!

:30 "But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

People you might think would have first place in heaven just might end up last.

Society in Jesus’ day would think that the wealthy people would have the best places in heaven.

In God’s eyes, the wealthy person without God in their life may most likely have received everything they’re going to get:
(Luke 6:24 NKJV) "But woe to you who are rich, For you have received your consolation.
People who have given up everything for the work of God will get their “consolation” when they get to heaven.

Some of us have the notion that pastors will probably be getting huge rewards.

The story goes that a New York Cabbie and a pastor both died on the same day and arrived at the gates of heaven at the same time. While they were waiting in line they introduced themselves to each other and got to hear about each other’s lives. When they arrived at the front of the line, the cabbie went first. Peter escorted the fellow into heaven and showed him a huge mansion on a hillside. The pastor was getting quite excited. He could hardly wait until his turn. He imagined that if the cabbie received such a huge mansion, his must be enormous. Peter took the pastor and showed him his place, a little shack in a canyon. The pastor was upset. He couldn’t understand why he got such a small shack when the cabbie got a huge mansion. “Well” said Peter, “When you preached, you put people to sleep. When he drove, people learned to pray!”
The problem of being a pastor is that some of what you do is done in front of people, and that means you already have your reward.
(Mat 6:5-6 NKJV) "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. {6} "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

There will be some people in heaven who will be receiving absolutely huge, tremendous rewards. And most of us standing on the sidelines watching will say to ourselves, “Who was that????”

This week I heard that there’s a little old lady from Texas that has a powerful ministry of prayer. Whenever Franklin Graham holds a crusade, they pay that gal’s way to fly to wherever they are, put her up in a hotel, and have her attend the meetings. Before they start the each meeting, someone usually asks, “Is she here yet?” You and I don’t know her name, most of the people in the Graham organization don’t know what she looks like or where she sits, but they know it’s important that she’s there. Why? Because she knows how to pray.

What would you do for God if you never got noticed, never got paid, even got persecuted because of it?

Things may not be what we expect in heaven.

People who have given up everything to follow Jesus in this life will find themselves at the head of the line in the next life.

Is it really worth giving up your worldly dreams to follow Jesus? Yup.