This chapter could be entitled, “A Day in the Life of Jesus.”
The Question of Divorce
The Pharisees had their own version of allowable divorce. They also knew that the 10 Commandments said not to commit adultery. They wanted to know where the line was so that they could get as close to it as possible without edging over it. Typical of all of us, no? They also wanted Jesus to trap Himself in either upholding the 10 Commandments and making Moses out to be wrong, or upholding Moses and abolishing (annulling) the 10 Commandments. Jesus did neither, but rebuked them because of the hardness of their hearts toward God’s ways. He then explained how it was supposed to be. When the disciples asked Him about it, He explained further. Matthew 19:10-12 gives a raw account of the disciples’ reaction.
10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” OUCH!
11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
Marriage back then was arranged. Marrying for love was a bonus at best and a pipe dream at worst. It was a commodity that one used to one’s advantage. The problem was that men had it much better than women. The new paradigm that Jesus gives reveals the true nature of mankind. We are so wrapped up in our feelings that we disregard God and His commands.
- Some people are born with physical disabilities and will never bear children.
- Some were made eunuchs to serve in the king’s house.
- Some choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. What??? You mean, sex is not #1 on everyone’s list? Culture would sure seem to make us think it is! When Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the first thing that happened to them was they became aware of each other’s bodies. If they were like the rest of us, desire was awakened. What did they do? They covered themselves. We should take a lesson! Our relationship with God must transcend even the most basic desires of our bodies. Eventually, we will move beyond the physical desires of the body and they won’t be needed anymore. The framework given in marriage keeps the physical relationship pure; it needs to stay that way in thought and deed. Single folks, you’re already on your way to heavenly thinking! Be pure for God!
The Little Children and Jesus
Jesus loves children! He told us that we must become pure in our faith–like them– in order to enter His kingdom. Children don’t need to know everything and then make an informed decision. They simply trust the Shepherd. We should, too.
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
This man was sincere. He hoped that Jesus would bless him because of his sincerity. Instead, Jesus revealed the one thing that kept his heart from being pure: Greed. He may not have been a bad ruler; he may not have wanted everything, but he DID want what he had: plenty of food, nice clothing, money to throw around, servants, position, prestige, etc. Jesus looked at him and loved him. I believe He looks at everyone that way. For this man, he missed the opportunity of a lifetime–or did he? We really don’t know. He may have gone home and done exactly what Jesus told him to do. Since Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to die, the man may never have had a chance to catch up with Him. One of these days, I hope to meet this man.
The prevailing thought of the day was that the rich were blessed and the poor were cursed. Jesus changed all that when He said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (25). Instead, Jesus called sinners, beggars, and lepers to follow Him. He made it a matter of the heart instead of outward “blessings.” Following Jesus above everything else is paramount. Verse 30 is that promise.
Jesus’ Third Prediction
Jesus told them a third time specifically what was going to happen. Wow!
Even then, James and John (their mother may have been involved-Matthew 20:20-28) came and asked for the privilege to sit at His right and His left in His coming kingdom. Double WOW! Did they not hear Him when He warned them about what was coming? Did they not understand that He was going to die?!!! They did, indeed, get to drink from the same cup of persecution, but the positions for which they asked were meant for others in heaven. Jesus then reiterated to them the need for them to serve rather than be served. Why? Because He wanted them to be like Him: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (45).
Jericho is a few miles east of Jerusalem. Jesus was almost there! Everyone from Judea was headed to Jerusalem, also, to celebrate Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Picking up Bart on His way created quite a stir as Jesus entered Jerusalem. The celebration had begun!
Tomorrow, we begin the last week of Jesus’s life. TODAY is the day we celebrate His entry into Jerusalem. We will look at that during SS this morning and tomorrow, as well.