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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 19

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-2

Introduction - Matthew 19:1-2 serves as an introduction to the fifth narrative section (Matthew 19:1 to Matthew 23:39). This introduction serves as a brief testimony of God’s redemptive aspect of divine healing in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Within the fifth narrative-discourse block of Matthew’s Gospel that emphasizes the Church’s eternal glorification, healing remains a vital aspect of God’s plan of redemption for mankind in this life.

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;

Matthew 19:1 “he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan” Comments The Greek phrase πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου (beyond the Jordan) is used eight times in the Gospels (Matthew 4:15; Matthew 4:25; Matthew 19:1, Mark 3:8; Mark 10:1, John 1:28; John 3:26; John 10:40), generally understood as a reference to the region of Perea, east of the Jordan valley.

Since the region of Judea lay west of the Jordan, many scholars believe that the phrase “and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan” means Jesus traveled from Galilee to Judea by way of Perea, the region east of the Jordan, which was a common travel route for the Jews in order to avoid Samaria. This view is supported by the fact that Jesus next travels through Jericho (Matthew 20:29). However, some scholars suggest that Matthew is using the term Judea broadly to include the region of Perea.

Matthew 19:1 Comments - Matthew 19:1 is the fourth transitional sentence in the Gospel of Matthew that takes us into the fifth major division. Each of these five lengthy discourses ends with the similar phrase, “when Jesus had finished these sayings (or parables),” giving these five sections a common division.

Matthew 7:28-29, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”

Matthew 11:1, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.”

Matthew 13:53, “And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.”

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;”

Matthew 26:1, “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,”

Thus, each of these five discourses is separated with large sections of narrative material, with the discourses being interwoven between the narratives. Each section of narrative material relates to and prepares us for the next discourse.

Matthew 19:2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.

Matthew 19:2 Comments Testimonies of Jesus’ Extesive Public Healing Ministry - Jesus Christ ministered healing to the multitudes throughout His earthly ministry, as each narrative section of Matthew’s Gospel testifies. Jesus began His public by healing the sick in the first (Matthew 4:23) and second (Matthew 8:1 to Matthew 9:38) narrative sections, and Matthew records similar accounts during His travels in the third (Matthew 12:15), fourth (Matthew 15:29-30), and fifth (Matthew 19:2) narrative sections.

Matthew 4:23, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

Matthew 12:15, “But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;”

Matthew 15:29-30, “And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:”

Matthew 19:2, “And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.”

The ten miracles recorded in Matthew 8-9 demonstrated the manner in which Jesus healed as a way of training His disciples to go forth in the next chapter to do the same. Each miracle that Jesus performed followed the pattern of healing recorded in Matthew 8-9. In other words, these healing were not strickly a divine work without the involvedment of man’s will to receive. The healing of the multitudes that Jesus performed followed the same distinct principles of healing time and again that Jesus demonstrated to His disciples in Matthew 8-9. Matthew simply chose ten distinct miracles in order to prepare the New Testament church to follow in the same footsteps and training as the Twelve.

Verses 1-30

Preparing for the King’s Departure and Second Coming Matthew 19:1 to Matthew 25:46 records the fifth major division of the Gospel of Matthew. The narrative material in this division (Matthew 19:1 to Matthew 23:39) emphasizes the need to serve the Lord after His departure while awaiting His expected Second Coming. [507] For example, the Parables of the Wicked Vinedressers and the Wedding Feast, which are found in this passage, teach on working in the kingdom while waiting for the return of the Master. We must await His Second Coming by doing the Father’s will. Jesus also teaches on key issues that affect our lives most dramatically regarding our readiness for His Second Coming, such as marriage and riches. The cares of this world that most hinder our sanctification are marriage (Matthew 19:1-12) and the pursuit of this world’s goods (Matthew 19:16 to Matthew 20:16). Those who do not heed His calling will perish if no fruit is shown. Jesus carries this theme of readiness and Christian service into His discourse with the Parables of the Virgins and the Parable of the Talents. Five virgins remained ready for the bridegroom. Two of the three servants were faithful with their master’s goods, but one foolish virgin and the man who kept his one talent were cast into outer darkness. A key verse for this narrative material is Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” This narrative passage ends with Jesus giving a final woe to the scribes and Pharisees as well as to the city of Jerusalem.

[507] Benjamin Bacon identifies the theme of the fifth narrative-discourse section of Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 19:1 to 25:46) as apocalyptic. He believes this theme follows a natural progression from the previous theme of Matthew’s fourth narrative-discourse, saying, “It was inevitable that Mt's fourth Book should lead up to a great Discourse on the Consummation as the climax of his Gospel.” See Benjamin W. Bacon, Studies in Matthew (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1930), 412-413.

The discourse that follows (Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46) teaches on the Second Coming of Jesus. Thus, He prepares His disciples for His departure and Second Coming. Much of this material can be found in the book of Revelation, which also deals with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Note that both narrative and discourse material contain warnings against being caught up with the cares of this world and exhortations to readiness for His Second Coming and to Christian service while waiting for His Return.

As with all of the narrative material, Matthew includes one Old Testament Scripture that is introduced with “that it might be fulfilled.” In Matthew 21:4-5 we find a quote from Zechariah 9:9 which sets the underlying theme of this division of Matthew on eschatology, which is the coming of the King.

Matthew 21:4-5, “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”

Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

Glorification: Deuteronomy Versus Fifth Discourse Which Establishes a Future Hope In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses gives the children the prophetic vision of their future hope for those who obey the Law and of future judgment for those who are disobedient. In like manner, the fifth discourse on Eschatology gives the prophecy of the future hope of the Church and judgment upon sinners.

The next narrative passage (Matthew 19:1 to Matthew 23:39) emphasizes the need to serve the Lord after His departure while awaiting His expected return. For example, the parables of the Wicked Vinedressers and the Wedding Feast teach on working in the kingdom while waiting for the return of the Master. This passage ends with Jesus giving a final woe to the scribes and Pharisees as well as to the city of Jerusalem. The discourse that follows (Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46) teaches on His Second Coming. Thus, Jesus prepares His disciples for His departure. This reminds us of the purpose of the book of Deuteronomy, which was to prepare the children of Israel for the Promised Land. Both this passage in Matthew and the book of Deuteronomy give promises of blessings to those who obey the Lord and both give severe warnings of divine judgments to those who do not serve the Lord.

The one Old Testament prophecy found in this division in Matthew’s Gospel is Matthew 21:4-5, which quotes Zechariah 9:9 and simply prophesies of the coming of the Messiah and supports the theme of this division of Matthew on eschatology.

Matthew 21:4-5, “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”

Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

A. Narrative: Jesus Prepares to Depart Matthew 19:1 to Matthew 23:39

B. Fifth Discourse: The King’s Second Coming Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46

Verses 3-30

The Testimony of Scripture Regarding Man’s Eschatological Hope Theme - The testimony of Scripture regarding man’s eschatological hope declares that God accepts man’s faith and obedience to Him from the heart rather than through his own efforts of good works. Salvation comes by God’s grace through man’s faith in Him. Perhaps the testimony of the Scriptures is offered first among the other testimonies of Jesus, John the Baptist, His miracles, and God the Father because the Scriptures offer the strongest testimony in this area of man’s redemption. This passage of Scripture is found within narrative material (Matthew 19:1 to Matthew 23:39) that immediately precedes the Escatalogical Discourse (Matthew 24:1 to Matthew 25:46). Since the five-discourse outline of the Gospel of Matthew reflects a common theme between the narrative material and the discourse that follows, this narrative passage in the fifth narrative section has an escatalogical emphasis as well the Olivet discourse that follows. Therfore, the rich young ruler’s question of what he must do to inherit eternal life is an escatalogical question. Jesus’ answer at the end of this passage is therefore cast in an escatalogical manner when He says, “So the last shall be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:16)

Structure The story of the Pharisees with their question on divorce is placed beside the story of Jesus blessing the children in order to contrast man’s efforts to obtain eternal life with the simplicity of entrusting oneself into God’ grace. The Pharisees knew the Scriptures well; yet they trusted in their own good works for a right standing before God. For this reason, they refused to come to Jesus, whom the Scriptures declared to be the Messiah and Son of God (Matthew 19:3-12). In contrast, the small children came to Jesus with little or no knowledge of the Scripture, entrusting themselves into His love and care in order to receive divine blessings (Matthew 19:13-15). A second contrast is made between the story of the rich young ruler and the disciple’s inquiry about forsaking all to follow Him. The rich young ruler was unable to fulfill the Law of Moses in that he could not relinquish his trust in earthly riches (Matthew 19:16-26), while the disciples forsook all to follow Jesus, entirely entrusting themselves unto Him (Matthew 19:27-30). Jesus concludes these two sets of lessons with the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard to explain how eternal rewards are not based upon the knowledge of the Law or upon good works, but solely upon divine grace being poure forth to those who in genuine faith entrust themselves into God’s tender care (Matthew 20:1-16).

Here is a proposed outline:

1. Trusting in the Knowledge of the Scriptures Matthew 19:3-15

2. Trusting in Earthly Riches Matthew 19:16-30

3. The Parable of Workers in the Vineyard Matthew 20:1-16

Matthew 19:3-15 Trusting in the Knowledge of the Scriptures to Receive Eternal Life (Mark 10:1-12 ) Matthew 19:3-15 Jesus reveals that eternal life does not come through the head knowledge of the Scriptures, but through simple faith in Jesus Christ, of whom the Scriptures testify to be the Son of God.

Here is a proposed outline:

1. Pharisees on the Law Matthew 19:3-9

2. The Inquiry of the Disciples Matthew 19:10-12

3. Example of Those Entering the Kingdom Matthew 19:13-15

The Scriptural Teaching on Marriage and Divorce - The focus of Matthew 19:3-12 is Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce in the Kingdom of Heaven. In this passage Jesus gives to us God’s commandments on marriage from three difference ages of mankind. Jesus addresses God’s commandments before the Mosaic Law (Matthew 19:3-6), then His commandments during the dispensation of the Law (Matthew 19:7-8) and finally God’s commandment during the dispensation of the Church (Matthew 19:9-12).

The Transition of Themes Reflected in the Teaching on Marriage in the Kingdom of Heaven While the fourth narrative section placed emphasis upon perseverance in God’sWord, the fifth narrative section emphasizes eschatology. Matthew 19:3-12 serves as a transitional passage in that Jesus explains the need to follow God’s original laws even in regards to the institution of marriage and not be offended by His Word in order to partake of the Kingdom of Heaven. [508]

[508] Christopher Smith says, “The first narrative episode after a discourse often serves both to recapitulate its theme and to introduce a new one.” Christopher R. Smith, “Literary Evidences of a Five-Fold Structure in the Gospel of Matthew,” in New Testament Studies 43 (1997): 549-550.

Matthew 19:3-9 The Pharisees on the Law In Matthew 19:3-9 the Pharisees came to Jesus to ask Him which interpretation of the Law regarding the institution of marriage has God’s blessings. Jesus explains God’s original purpose and plan for marriage, which takes priority over the Law. While the Pharisees sought God’s blessings through the Law, the children will gather around Jesus in Matthew 19:13-15 and receive His blessings on an entirely different base, that of divine mercy and grace. While the Pharisees based their right standing before God upon adherence to the Law, the children sought the priviledge to stand before Jesus based upon His love for them.

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?

Matthew 19:3 Comments Grant Osborne says there were two predominant schools of Jewish thought during the first century, the school of Shammai which developed first, and the school of Hillel, which came later and held a dominant role in Jewish society during the time of Jesus. He explains that the school of Shammai interpreted Deuteronomy 24:1 to mean that a man could only divorce his wife because of adultery, while the school of Hillel taught that a man could divorce for any reason. [509] The Pharisees knew the arguments over this issue, but they wanted to hear what Jesus said in order to find fault with Him.

[509] Grant R. Osborne, Matthew, in Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Clinton E. Arnold (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 703.

Deuteronomy 24:1, “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.”

With the context of this ongoing debate on the Law regarding marriage and divorce, the Pharisees were essentially saying to Jesus, “We are experts in the Law; and we are not sure how to interpret its view on marriage and divorce. Let us see how well you handle this issue.”

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,

Matthew 19:4 “Have ye not read” Comments - Jesus is saying, “You’ve read, but you have not read.” In other words, the Pharisees may have read the Scriptures, but they had missed the “spirit” God’s Word. Jesus used this approach on an earlier occasion with the Pharisees when discussing Jewish tradition and the Scriptures.

Matthew 12:3, “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;”

Matthew 12:5, “Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?”

Matthew 19:4 that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female Comments The phrase “made them male and female” is found verbatim in Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:2 in the LXX.

Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Genesis 5:2, “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”

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?

Matthew 19:5 Comments Matthew 19:5 is a close, but not exact, citation of Genesis 2:24 in the LXX, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Matthew 19:6 “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” Comments - A better reading says, “What God has joined together, man cannot divide.” Jesus refers back to God’s original plan for the institution of marriage. When a man and a woman join in holy matrimony, they become one flesh in God’s eyes. Although the couple may not live happily together and decide to divorce, this does not disannul God’s view that these two people are one flesh. Man’s legal decrees cannot disannul God’s Word, which declares the couple as one flesh. Therefore, Jesus will explain how a second marriage is an adulterous affair in God’s eyes (Matthew 19:8-9).

Illustration - We see how strong this sentence can be translated by looking at examples in Scripture. When Matthew wrote his Gospel, God still referred to Bathsheba as the wife of Uriah. Thus, Matthew wrote, “And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her (that had been the wife) of Urias;” (Matthew 1:6) The Greek text literally reads, “David the king begat Solomon of her of Urias.” The phrase “that had been the wife” was added later by translators.

This is why Jesus can say in verse 9 that whoever marries someone from a divorce that God had not honored commits adultery. Someone can only commit adultery with another man’s wife, but not with his own wife. If a marriage is not annulled by adultery or widowhood, then God does not recognize the divorce, and thus, further marriages by these partners become adultery.

Because David repented of his sin, God was able to sanctify his marriage with Bathsheba. It is important for married couples to repent of their sins if they have wrongly entered into unscriptural marriages, so that God’s blessings may be found.

In contrast, we see Herod taking his brother’s wife and being rebuked by John the Baptist, who states that this was an evil act. Herod was unrepentant.

Matthew 14:3-4, “For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.”

Matthew 19:4-6 Comments Original Purpose and Intent of the Institution of Marriage When the Pharisees asked Jesus to state His opinion on the current controversy over divorce and remarriage under the Mosaic Law, He went to the book of Genesis and explained the original purpose and intent of the institution of marriage.

Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?

Matthew 19:7 Comments The Pharisees quote Deuteronomy 24:1 from the Mosaic Law, which allowed a man to divorce his wife. Because the Pharisees depended upon the Law for their right standing with God and for their salvation, they had a great amount of knowledge regarding its statutes. The Pharisees discussed at length among themselves the various interpretations of marriage and divorce under the Law.

Deuteronomy 24:1, “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.”

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.

Matthew 19:8 Comments In Matthew 19:8 Jesus explains the purpose of the Deuteronomy 24:1, which was to give some measure of boundaries to the carnal mind in hopes of pointing an individual to his own need of redemption in Christ Jesus; for no man was able to fulfill the entirety of the Law as will be demonstrated in the passage that follows with the rich young ruler.

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.

Matthew 19:9 Word Study on “fornication” - Vine defines “fornication” as “unlawful, illicit sexual intercourse.”

Matthew 19:9 “And I say unto you Variations of the phrase “but I say unto you” are employed fourteen times in the Sermon on the Mount, six of those times immediately after quoting an Old Testament passage of Jewish regulation, as Jesus does in Matthew 19:9.

Jesus has just quoted from the book of Genesis when explaining God’s original purpose and intent of marriage (Matthew 19:4-6). He then explains how the Law allowed divorce because of the hardness of men’s hearts (Matthew 19:8). Jesus now says, “And I say unto you” as a way of reconciling these two passages of Old Testament Scripture and establishing the rules for the Kingdom of Heaven. He will then explain to His disciples that these rules will not be obeyed by everyone, only those whose hearts are able to accept them (Matthew 19:10-12).

Matthew 19:9 Comments In Matthew 19:9 Jesus explains the application of Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:24; Genesis 5:2 to the child of God. Because man and woman are one flesh in the eyes of God, a divorce made by man does not disannul God’s Word. God still sees this man and woman as one flesh, even when they enter into second marriages for reasons other than the death of a spouse or adultery on the part of a spouse. Therefore, such remarriages without biblical grounds constitute a state of adultery in God’s eyes.

God gave the institution of marriage to Adam and Eve before the Fall as individuals who had not yet committed disobedience. Therefore, the original purpose and intent of Genesis 1:27 still applies under the new covenant instituted by Jesus Christ, since the new covenant is God’s means of restoring mankind back to fellowship with Him and human immortality that existed in the beginning. In contrast, Deuteronomy 24:1 applies to the carnal man, both Jews and Gentiles, who is sinful by nature.

Matthew 19:10-12 The Inquiry of the Disciples In Matthew 19:10-12 the disciples inquire from Jesus about His dialogue with the Pharisees on marriage and divorce. The disciples had left all to follow Jesus so that those who were single became “eunuchs” for the Kingdom of Heaven, while Peter honored his existing marriage.

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.

Matthew 19:10 Comments The disciples respond by saying if the case of the man is such that he has put away his wife for other than reasons of fornication, then it is not good for him to remarry.

Matthew 19:11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.

Matthew 19:11 “to whom it is given” Comments - What is given? The word “it” refers to the saying that was given. Not everyone will follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Most men will follow the ways of the world.

Matthew 19:11 Comments Jesus could have simply said, “Yes, it is not good to marry after putting away a wife for any reason.” However, because God allows man the free will to choose whether to obey Him or not, Jesus explains that only certain men will be willing to follow this rule. Because of the hardness of men’s hearts, many will divorce their wives for reasons other than adultery.

Matthew 19:13-15 Example of Those Entering the Kingdom (Mark 10:13-16 , Luke 18:15-17 ) In Matthew 19:13-15 Jesus teaches us about the role of child-like faith in the Kingdom of Heaven using children as an example a humble and pure heart, a heart that characterizes those who seek the Kingdom of Heaven. Within the context of this narrative passage, this pericope follows after a teaching dealing with the hardness of men’s hearts in regards to the divine institution of marriage. In contrast to the hardness of heart of the Jewish leaders, children offer themselves to God in a humble and pure heart, a heart that characterizes those who seek the Kingdom of Heaven. While adults come to God believing they must offer good works in order to be received by Him, children come to God entirely dependent upon His grace. In contrast to the Pharisees who were very educated in the Scriptures, the child came to Jesus unhindered in simple faith and devotion.

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.

Matthew 19:13 Comments Matthew 19:13 begins with the Greek τότε is an adverb of time and means, “at that time,” or “that which follows in time…then, thereupon.” ( BDAG) This adverb places two events together, the questioning by the Pharsiees (Matthew 19:3-12) and the gathering of the children (Matthew 19:13-15). By using τότε , Matthew is able to contrast two opposing characters in the development of the narrative plot to explain the qualifications for eternal life, the hard-hearted Pharisees and the pure-hearted children.

While the Pharisees depended upon their good works under the Law to establish their right standing with God, the children had nothing to offer God as recipents of His blessings but their simple faith and trust in His willingness to bless them. In contrast to the educated Pharisees, the children had very little understanding of the Law; but their conscience was pure.

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.

Matthew 19:14 Comments - The question is sometimes asked, “When children die, do they go to heaven or hell?” Matthew 19:14 gives the clearest answer of any passage in the Scriptures on this subject when Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is opened to little children.

Matthew 19:15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

Matthew 19:15 Comments The parallel account in Mark’s Gospel says Jesus picked up the children and blessed them (Mark 10:16). The doctrine of the laying on of hands is one of the six foundational doctrines of the New Testament Church (Hebrews 6:1-2). This doctrine has its roots in the Old Testament. For example, Jacob (Israel) laid hands upon the sons of Joseph and pronounced a blessing upon them (Genesis 48:14; Genesis 48:17-18). Moses ordained Joshua through the laying on of hands (Numbers 27:18) so that he was filled with the Spirit of God (Deuteronomy 34:9). Some of the Old Testament sacrifices were presented to God through the laying on of hands (Exodus 29:10; Leviticus 1:4). Under the new covenant, the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6). Believers were also set apart and ordained through the laying on of hands (Acts 6:6; Acts 13:1-3, 1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6).

Verses 16-30

Trusting in the Works of the Law to Receive Eternal Life (Mark 10:17-31 , Luke 18:18-30 ) - In Matthew 19:16-30 Jesus explains to us the role and priority of riches and material possessions in the Kingdom of Heaven and cautions us on the dangers of covetousness. He takes the opportunity to teach on this subject when the rich young ruler asked Jesus about eternal life. Jesus explained that we must be ready to forsake the things of this world in order to partake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Any other choice is made because man trusts in his good works to please God. Jesus then illustrates this divine principle in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16).

Here is a proposed outline:

1. Earthly Riches and the Law Matthew 19:16-22

2. The Inquiry of the Disciples Matthew 19:23-26

3. Example of Those Entering the Kingdom Matthew 19:27-30

Matthew 19:16-22 Earthly Riches and the Law In Matthew 19:16-22 Jesus confronts a rich young ruler who asks Him how a man obtains eternal life (Matthew 19:16). Jesus replied by requiring this particular person to sell all that he has and give to the poor and come follow Him in order to obtain eternal life (Matthew 19:21). Jesus knew that this man trusted in his wealth to justify himself as a leader of society with much testimonies of doing good works (Matthew 19:20). Jesus knew that this man must turn loose of his wealth as an act of faith in order to look towards God for his eternal rewards. Jesus wanted the man to demonstrate his faith by obedience. Although the rich young rule focused his question on life after death, Jesus reveals that eternal life begins the moment a person trusts in Him and follows Him. After this young man leaves in sorrow, Jesus explains to His disciples that they will inherit a hundred-fold in this life, and glorification with Him in eternity.

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?

Matthew 19:16 Comments The opening participial phrase in Matthew 19:16 denotes a change in time and place in Jesus’ public ministry, a grammatical structure used often by Matthew to develop movement in the narrative plot.

The central idea of man seeking acceptance by God through his own good works is continued from Matthew 19:2-12 when the rich young ruler says, “Good Master…”

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.

Matthew 19:17 Comments - Jesus knew that this man who called Him “Good Master” did not recognize Him as God. In His reply in Matthew 19:17, He is not denying that He is God; rather, He was directing this man towards God in the way that he understood Him in an effort to help him discover eternal life. Jesus wanted this man to understand that no one could achieve salvation through good works, not even a Jewish “teacher.” Thus, Jesus said that there was no one that was good except God (Isaiah 64:6). Jesus then exposes the man’s sinful nature by having him evaluate his heart using the Ten Commandments, which was the tool that God gave the nation of Israel to direct them to their need for redemption. Galatians 3:24 says that the Mosaic Law was Israel’s schoolmaster, that was intended to direct them to their need of redemption through the coming Messiah.

Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

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,

Matthew 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Matthew 19:18-19 Comments The Commandment Regarding Covetousness - In Matthew 19:18-19 Jesus leaves off the last of the Ten Commandments, which dealt with covetousness. This man that Jesus was addressing had kept all but the last commandment. This one was not being kept by rich man. So, in verse 21, Jesus deals with this man's problem of covetousness.

Matthew 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

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.

Matthew 19:21 Comments In Matthew 19:16 the rich young ruler had asked Jesus to tell him “one good thing” that he could do to receive eternal life. In Matthew 19:21, Jesus tells the man what to do; yet, he rejected these words.

The act of forsaking all and following Jesus would demonstrate the rich young ruler’s sincere faith and trust in God for his salvation rather than his own good works. This young man would become utterly dependent upon God for every necessity of life, launching him into a deeper walk of faith in God, something the disciples have recently experiences.

Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

Matthew 19:23-26 The Inquiry of the Disciples After responding to the questions from the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) Jesus turns to His disciples and teaches them on the dangers of earthly riches in relation to the priority of entering into eternal life.

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.

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.

Matthew 19:24 Comments Grant Osborne captures the essence of Matthew 19:24 by defining this statement as “Jewish hyperbole.” Jesus asked His disciples to imagine the largest animal in the Orient trying to fit through the smallest opening known to them, which was the hole at the end of the needle. [510] Just as it is impossible for this to happen, so it is impossible for a rich man who trusts in his riches to go to Heaven.

[510] Grant R. Osborne, Matthew, in Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Clinton E. Arnold (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 719-720.

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 19:26 Comments It is impossible for men to fulfill the Law of Moses in the flesh. The rich man served as an example to the disciples of mankind’s inability to please God based upon good works.

Matthew 19:27-30 Example of Those Entering the Kingdom Just as the gathering of children served as a genuine example of those who are qualified to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:13-15), so do the disciples serve the same example because they have forsaken all to follow Jesus.

Matthew 19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

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.

Matthew 19:28 Word Study on “the regeneration” - The Greek word παλιγγενεσι ́ α (G3824) may be translated, “rebirth, new birth, new age, or next world.” BDAG translates it as “in the new (Messianic) age or world.” There are two uses in New Testament of this Greek word (Matthew 19:28, Titus 3:5).

Titus 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration , and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

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.

Matthew 19:29 Comments Strong family ties mark every culture of mankind. Breaking such strong bonds requires courage. Family members often do not understand such decisions to forsake all and follow Jesus in Christian service. They cannot see the practical benefit of such radical decisions. Because they love their family member, they often exert the most effort to prevent a loved one from forsaking all and following the Lord.

Illustration Moses forsook everything that Egypt had to offer him in order to serve the Lord (Hebrews 11:24-26). Yet, God sent him back to Egypt to spoil them of their riches. He led the children of Israel out of Egypt with the wealth of the nation (Exodus 12:35-36).

Hebrews 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”

Exodus 12:35-36, “And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.”

Matthew 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Matthew 19:30 Comments Matthew 19:30 serves as a summary of the central idea of Matthew 19:3-29. Those who are “first” in this life refer to those who are unqualified for Heaven; thus, they become last according to the principles of inheriting eternal life. Those who are “last” in this life refer to those who are dependent upon God’s grace; thus, they become first in that they are qualified for eternal life.

As I read this verse, the Lord quickened to me the word, “damned.” This word refers to those people who are first in this life, because in the end, they shall miss Heaven and become last, destined to eternal damnation. Others who are last, or despised in this life, shall be first in Heaven. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 19". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/matthew-19.html. 2013.
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