Matthew 19




Divorce (19:1-12)

(Mark 10:1-12)

1-9 See Mark 10:1-12 and comment.

10 Jesus, in teaching about marriage, had just said, “… what God has joined together, let man not separate” (verse 6). In other words, except for marital unfaithfulness, a man may not divorce his wife and marry another (verse 9). God’s plan and desire is this: Once a man and woman are married they should remain married. Men are not like animals (see 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 and comment).

The disciples knew that problems often arise between husband and wife. If divorce is not allowed, then it would be better not to marry, they thought. “Better no marriage than an unhappy marriage” was a Jewish saying (Proverbs 21:9,19).

11  But Jesus answered that the teaching “it is better not to marry” (verse 10) is not meant for most people. Only those whom God especially calls to remain unmarried can accept this teaching; that is, only those to whom it has been given should remain unmarried (see 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 and comment).

Most people are called to be married. Indeed, the Jews considered marriage a duty (Genesis 2:24). To marry was a command of God to be obeyed (Jeremiah 29:6). The fact that the yoke of marriage cannot easily be thrown off is not sufficient reason for us to avoid marriage.

12  Jesus then mentioned three kinds of people who are free from the duty to marry. First are those who are eunuchs from birth. A few people are born with some bodily defect that makes it impossible for them to have sexual intercourse. Second are those who have been made eunuchs by other men. In Jesus’ time, one cruel type of torture was to destroy or damage a man’s sexual organs. Third are those who have been called by God to remain single because of the kingdom of heaven. They have been called to give all their attention to serving Christ. The Apostle Paul was such a person (see 1 Corinthians 7:32-35).

Therefore, Jesus concludes: “The one who can accept this (teaching not to marry) should accept it.

The Little Children and Jesus (19:13-15)

(Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17)

13-15 See Mark 10:13-16 and comment.


The Rich Young Man (19:16-30)

(Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30)

16-30 See Mark 10:17-31 and comment.