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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Matthew 19

Verses 1-2

Introduction - Matthew 19:1-40.19.2 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 7:28-40.7.29, “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 15:29-40.15.30), 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 15:29-40.15.30, “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 16-30

Trusting in the Works of the Law to Receive Eternal Life (Mark 10:17-41.10.31 , Luke 18:18-42.18.30 ) - In Matthew 19:16-40.19.30 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 20:1-40.20.16).

Here is a proposed outline:

1. Earthly Riches and the Law Matthew 19:16-40.19.22

2. The Inquiry of the Disciples Matthew 19:23-40.19.26

3. Example of Those Entering the Kingdom Matthew 19:27-40.19.30

Matthew 19:16-40.19.22 Earthly Riches and the Law In Matthew 19:16-40.19.22 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 19:2-40.19.12 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 19:18-40.19.19 Comments The Commandment Regarding Covetousness - In Matthew 19:18-40.19.19 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 19:23-40.19.26 The Inquiry of the Disciples After responding to the questions from the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-40.19.22) 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 19:27-40.19.30 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 19:13-40.19.15), 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 11:24-58.11.26). 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 12:35-2.12.36).

Hebrews 11:24-58.11.26, “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 12:35-2.12.36, “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 19:3-40.19.29. 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.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Matthew 19". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.