Matthew 19

1 When Jesus finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the territory of Judea on the other side of the Jordan River.
2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3 Some Pharisees came to him and tried to trap him by asking, "Does our Law allow a man to divorce his wife for whatever reason he wishes?"
4 Jesus answered, "Haven't you read the scripture that says that in the beginning the Creator made people male and female? 1
5 And God said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.' 2
6 So they are no longer two, but one. No human being must separate, then, what God has joined together."
7 The Pharisees asked him, "Why, then, did Moses give the law for a man to hand his wife a divorce notice and send her away?" 3
8 Jesus answered, "Moses gave you permission to divorce your wives because you are so hard to teach. But it was not like that at the time of creation.
9 I tell you, then, that any man who divorces his wife for any cause other than her unfaithfulness, commits adultery if he marries some other woman." 4
10 His disciples said to him, "If this is how it is between a man and his wife, it is better not to marry."
11 Jesus answered, "This teaching does not apply to everyone, but only to those to whom God has given it.
12 For there are different reasons why men cannot marry: some, because they were born that way; others, because men made them that way; and others do not marry for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. Let him who can accept this teaching do so."
13 Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and to pray for them, but the disciples scolded the people.
14 Jesus said, "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
15 He placed his hands on them and then went away.
16 Once a man came to Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?"
17 "Why do you ask me concerning what is good?" answered Jesus. "There is only One who is good. Keep the commandments if you want to enter life."
18 "What commandments?" he asked. 5 Jesus answered, "Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely;
19 respect your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as you love yourself." 6
20 "I have obeyed all these commandments," the young man replied. "What else do I need to do?"
21 Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me."
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was very rich.
23 Jesus then said to his disciples, "I assure you: it will be very hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
24 I repeat: it is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle."
25 When the disciples heard this, they were completely amazed. "Who, then, can be saved?" they asked.
26 Jesus looked straight at them and answered, "This is impossible for human beings, but for God everything is possible."
27 Then Peter spoke up. "Look," he said, "we have left everything and followed you. What will we have?"
28 Jesus said to them, "You can be sure that when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne in the New Age, then you twelve followers of mine will also sit on thrones, to rule the twelve tribes of Israel. 7
29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake, will receive a hundred times more and will be given eternal life.
30 But many who now are first will be last, and many who now are last will be first. 8

Images for Matthew 19

Matthew 19 Commentary

Chapter 19

Jesus enters Judea. (1,2) The Pharisees' question about divorces. (3-12) Young children brought to Jesus. (13-15) The rich young man's inquiry. (16-22) The recompence of Christ's followers. (23-30)

Verses 1-2 Great multitudes followed Christ. When Christ departs, it is best for us to follow him. They found him as able and ready to help elsewhere, as he had been in Galilee; wherever the Sun of Righteousness arose, it was with healing in his wings.

Verses 3-12 The Pharisees were desirous of drawing something from Jesus which they might represent as contrary to the law of Moses. Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before they ask for advice. Jesus replied by asking whether they had not read the account of the creation, and the first example of marriage; thus pointing out that every departure therefrom was wrong. That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and kept to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to prepare us for, and preserve us to, the kingdom of heaven. When the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected, to consider their peace and happiness more than their own. As to ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by laws, from breaking the peace of society. And we learn that the married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and earnest prayer.

Verses 13-15 It is well when we come to Christ ourselves, and bring our children. Little children may be brought to Christ as needing, and being capable of receiving blessings from him, and having an interest in his intercession. We can but beg a blessing for them: Christ only can command the blessing. It is well for us, that Christ has more love and tenderness in him than the best of his disciples have. And let us learn of him not to discountenance any willing, well-meaning souls, in their seeking after Christ, though they are but weak. Those who are given to Christ, as part of his purchase, he will in no wise cast out. Therefore he takes it ill of all who forbid, and try to shut out those whom he has received. And all Christians should bring their children to the Saviour that he may bless them with spiritual blessings.

Verses 16-22 Christ knew that covetousness was the sin which most easily beset this young man; though he had got honestly what he possessed, yet he could not cheerfully part with it, and by this his want of sincerity was shown. Christ's promises make his precepts easy, and his yoke pleasant and very comfortable; yet this promise was as much a trial of the young man's faith, as the precept was of his charity and contempt of the world. It is required of us in following Christ, that we duly attend his ordinances, strictly follow his pattern, and cheerfully submit to his disposals; and this from love to him, and in dependence on him. To sell all, and give to the poor, will not serve, but we are to follow Christ. The gospel is the only remedy for lost sinners. Many abstain from gross vices who do not attend to their obligations to God. Thousands of instances of disobedience in thought, word, and deed, are marked against them in the book of God. Thus numbers forsake Christ, loving this present world: they feel convictions and desires, but they depart sorrowful, perhaps trembling. It behoves us to try ourselves in these matters, for the Lord will try us.

Verses 23-30 Though Christ spoke so strongly, few that have riches do not trust in them. How few that are poor are not tempted to envy! But men's earnestness in this matter is like their toiling to build a high wall to shut themselves and their children out of heaven. It should be satisfaction to those who are in a low condition, that they are not exposed to the temptations of a high and prosperous condition. If they live more hardly in this world than the rich, yet, if they get more easily to a better world, they have no reason to complain. Christ's words show that it is hard for a rich man to be a good Christian, and to be saved. The way to heaven is a narrow way to all, and the gate that leads into it, a strait gate; particularly so to rich people. More duties are expected from them than from others, and more sins easily beset them. It is hard not to be charmed with a smiling world. Rich people have a great account to make up for their opportunities above others. It is utterly impossible for a man that sets his heart upon his riches, to get to heaven. Christ used an expression, denoting a difficulty altogether unconquerable by the power of man. Nothing less than the almighty grace of God will enable a rich man to get over this difficulty. Who then can be saved? If riches hinder rich people, are not pride and sinful lusts found in those not rich, and as dangerous to them? Who can be saved? say the disciples. None, saith Christ, by any created power. The beginning, progress, and perfecting the work of salvation, depend wholly on the almighty power of God, to which all things are possible. Not that rich people can be saved in their worldliness, but that they should be saved from it. Peter said, We have forsaken all. Alas! it was but a poor all, only a few boats and nets; yet observe how Peter speaks, as if it had been some mighty thing. We are too apt to make the most of our services and sufferings, our expenses and losses, for Christ. However, Christ does not upbraid them; though it was but little that they had forsaken, yet it was their all, and as dear to them as if it had been more. Christ took it kindly that they left it to follow him; he accepts according to what a man hath. Our Lord's promise to the apostles is, that when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, he will make all things new, and they shall sit with him in judgement on those who will be judged according to their doctrine. This sets forth the honour, dignity, and authority of their office and ministry. Our Lord added, that every one who had forsaken possessions or comforts, for his sake and the gospel, would be recompensed at last. May God give us faith to rest our hope on this his promise; then we shall be ready for every service or sacrifice. Our Saviour, in the last verse, does away a mistake of some. The heavenly inheritance is not given as earthly ones are, but according to God's pleasure. Let us not trust in promising appearances or outward profession. Others may, for aught we know, become eminent in faith and holiness.

Cross References 8

  • 1. 19.4Genesis 1.27; 5.2.
  • 2. 19.5Genesis 2.24.
  • 3. 19.7Deuteronomy 24.1-4;Matthew 5.31.
  • 4. 19.9Matthew 5.32;1 Corinthians 7.10, 11.
  • 5. 19.18 aExodus 20.13;Deuteronomy 5.17; bExodus 20.14;Deuteronomy 5.18; cExodus 20.15;Deuteronomy 5.19; dExodus 20.16;Deuteronomy 5.20.
  • 6. 19.19 aExodus 20.12;Deuteronomy 5.16; bLeviticus 19.18.
  • 7. 19.28 aMatthew 25.31; bLuke 22.30.
  • 8. 19.30Matthew 20.16;Luke 13.30.

Matthew 19 Commentaries