Jesus Blesses the Children
Comments for Study 24
Memory Verse: 14
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I. The Two Will Become One (1-12)
>1. As chapter 19 opens, where was Jesus and what was his situation?
"'When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.'" (1-2)
* "When Jesus had finished saying these things" -Jesus did not spend much time in Capernaum. After Peter's confession and his transfiguration on Mt. Hermon to the north of Capernaum, Jesus began making his way south to Jerusalem and his crucifixion and resurrection.
* "the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan" -This is the east side of the river. The area is in Israel but very close to Gentile territory. The area consisted of mostly gentiles.
* Jesus would not return to Galilee until after he rose from the dead.
* Jesus did not leave until his mission of testimony there was finished, and we should do the same. (Rev. 11:7)
* "large crowds followed him" -Having crowds always follow is not easy, take for instance movie and music stars and their reactions to such crowds. Yet Jesus did not seek his own comfort, nor should we seek or expect personal comfort when we are doing God's work.
* "and he healed them" -It seems that the crowds came and followed Jesus to be healed.
>What vexing questions did the Pharisees ask?
"Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?'" (3)
* "Some Pharisees" -The Pharisees, religious leaders and Bible authorities who were always against Jesus. They did not accept his ministry or support his ministry. They criticized his ministry and followers. They discouraged people from following and supporting Jesus. They disrupted his gospel mission. They called him names and said he worked with the devil. They were respected by people and used that against Jesus' work. They looked good on the outside, eating and dressing well and used that against Jesus who was poor and eat from the gleamings in the fields. They did not help or support him or anyone who confessed Jesus' name. They did all they could to get ride of Jesus so they could do what they wanted to do. They set traps for him so that he would be publically humiliated and despised. They refused to acknowledge the miracles and transformed lives because it was not their idea and not officially supported by their religious headquarters. They were not aware of the Holy Spirit's direction and work. Many religous leaders, even those considered in the church of Christ follow in the Pharisees footsteps. If you are considered a religious leader, over one or a thousand, examine your heart toward those who may not be of you or doing what your heart desires to see if you are a Pharisee too. Jesus said, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." (Matthew 12:32)
* "divorce" -Divorce was a controversial subject of the time. Two sides of the Pharisees fought over this all the time. The conservatives who stated that a man can not divorce for any reason were the minority.
>What was in their minds?
* "test him" -They wanted to trap him. They assumed that since Jesus was not educated at their feet then he could not possibly know as much as them. They did not recognize that it is the Holy Spirit that reveals God and God's truths to men.
* They never came to Jesus with a learning mind. They had judged him even before listening to him.
* Jesus had taught his views on marriage in Galilee. (5:31-32) These Pharisee knew this so they devised a plan to trap him in his teachings. They would call him an enemy of the commandment of Moses, or so they called it a commandment.
* "for any reason" -These Pharisees did not like Jesus' teaching on divorce. He did not permit it. They did not like it because of their selfish desires and lives. They intended to discredit this teaching so they could do whatever they liked.
* By teaching against divorce Jesus would offend Herod. The Pharisees knew and hoped this.
* By teaching against divorce Jesus would also loose some of the popularity that he was now experiencing.
* To get an understanding on what the Pharisees were doing put yourself in Jesus' shoes in modern day terms. Say you were doing the work of God in the ministry God called you in and someone who secretly hated you decided to publicly deface you and your work. These people would then come to you while doing God's work and ask you a controversial question like abortion or creation verses evolution. How would you react? What would you say?
>2. How did Jesus answer them?
"'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.'" (4-6)
* "Haven't you read" -Jesus started with a question about what the Bible says. Jesus did not give them a yes or no answer. Instead he gave an in-depth Biblical account on marriage because it is such an important matter. Of course everyone knew that they not only read, but memorized most of the Bible (for them the Old Testament).
* Jesus gave the rule and the reason for it.
* "at the beginning" -Jesus answered from Genesis which was before Moses was given the law.
* "the Creator" -Jesus is the creator. (John 1:1-4, 14; Col. 1:15-20)
* "made them male and female" -The Pharisees saw marriage from selfish points of view. They did not see it from God's loving point of view.
>On what did he base his answer?
* Genesis 1:27, 2:24.
>What does Jesus teach here about marriage and its meaning? (4-6)
* If husband and wife are by the will and appointment of God joined together in the strictest and closest union, then they are not to be lightly, and upon every occasion, separated. If the knot is sacred, it cannot be easily untied.
* God made Adam and Eve to be a pair -a united strong bond.
* There was only two. Adam could not divorce Eve for another.
* Eve was from the rib of Adam so they were one flesh. How could he separate himself from part of himself.
* The relationship between a man and a women is closer then between mother and father for when the two are united they leave them.
* Children are pieces of their parents but a spouse is self. They are one flesh. No one hates his own flesh and separates himself from it. Instead he does all he can to preserve it.
* In Malachi 2:13-16 the Lord says why he was not accepting the Israelites sacrifices. "'Why? It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of you youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is you partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.'"
* "I hate divorce," says the Lord.
* Marriage is God's work. Divorce is man's plan. Divorce was never God's plan.
* Jesus has made an unconditional commitment to you and me. The church is the bride of Christ. He endures our sins, weaknesses and faults. How much more should we endure when our spouse sins against us? Marriage has its blessings and as long as we have a sinful nature and live in a cursed world there will be some strife in every marriage. Such events and occasions are areas to understand Jesus' love for us and grow and practice true love. The greatest love displayed is helping the person who hurts us. The greatest love is giving to someone who may never give back. The greatest love is to do something not only for no selfish gain, but contains self pain so that someone else may be benefited and turn to God.
>3. Why did they bring up Moses' teachings in Deuteronomy 24?
"'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorcee and send her away?'" (7)
* They hoped to point out a contradictions between Jesus' teaching from Genesis and the law given by Moses with the hopes of discrediting him before the people.
>Look at Jesus' answer in verses 8 and 9. Had Moses commanded divorce?
"Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.'" (8-9)
* "Moses permitted you" -He had not commanded it, he only permitted it. Actually it was not Moses but God himself who permitted it. Moses only wrote down what he received from the Lord. In this case Moses may have inquired of the Lord and this was the Lord's answer.
* "'If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defieded. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD you God is giving you as a inheritance.'" (Deuteronomy 24:1)
* The displeasing is probably fornication that the wife commuted before the marriage, for adultery was punishable by stoning in the Moses law. Even the word that Jesus used in verse 9 (marital unfaithfulness) can be interpreted fornication.
* God did not make it easy to divorce. She had to write a certificate of divorce to make it offical.
* The Pharisees took an mile when God had given them a inch.
>Why did he permit it?
* "because their hearts were hard" -This means that God's seed of love was not permitted to enter their hearts by their stubborn self centered lives. Their hearts were hard to their partners and marriage, and to God effort to soften their hearts.
* The Israelites hard hearts to their spouses would have caused them to physically, verbally and mentally beat, abuse, and bruise their wives. This is what it is means when it says in Malachi that the alter was covered with tears. It was the tears of the wives who were abused. So this tolerance was meant to protect the wife, not to satisfy the desires of the flesh.
* It is good to search the heart to see why we do all things.
* Divorce today is ramped because people are selfish. They either do not know or will not practice true love. They fear for themselves because they do not know God. People who are afraid will do anything and everything to save themselves. The divorce rate amongst people who confess to be Bible believing Christians is almost the same as those who do not. This is clear evidence that most in churches today not only don't know, study, or read the Bible, but they also do not know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. I suspect that on average in most churches today ten to twenty percent are of Christ. Do you think that is to low? Then why all the divorces? Why are congregations getting so small so that they cannot support a pastor and the building they inherited? What is happening? Revelation 3:14-22 is a prophetic message to the church today, "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
>4. How did Jesus' disciples respond to Jesus' teaching about marriage?
"The disciples said to him, 'If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.'" (10)
* Some of the disciples were married. For example we know that Peter was because Jesus healed his mother-in-law. (Matthew 8:14)
>What does this show about them?
* "not to marry" -The disciples did not like the law that Jesus gave concerning marriage and divorce. Like little children, if they couldn't have it their way they wouldn't have it at all.
* In a way they were saying we should forbid marriage, but this is not God's will.
* They didn't want to be trapped in a bad marriage. Perhaps they didn't see an example of a good marriage. This is true in many cultures today. We should understand that no matter what happens in the world around us that God really intended for marriage to be good and he blesses the couple that seek him and his kingdom first.
* Foolishness is for man to give up the blessings of this life because of the crosses that go along with it. We must accept blessings with its crosses and be thankful for them. (Ecc. 7:14)
>5. What did Jesus teach about God's different plans for different people regarding marriage?
"Jesus replied, 'Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.'" (11)
* "only those whom it is given" -Being single is not a question of whether the person is willing to marry or not, but if it is God's will for them to marry or not. The reason a person should be single is for the kingdom of God. To not marry is a gift of God, but one should not boast of a gift he does not have. (Proverbs 25:14) He should be sure that God has given him the gift. If God has given him the gift he will give him the strength to overcome any temptation that can come his way.
* "the one who can accept it" -The decision Jesus taught was meant to be made in the mind, not by some fleshly way.
* "should accept it" -Not marrying was for those who have attained a holy indifference to all the delights of the married state and have a fixed resolution in the strength of God's grace. This was not a binding vow made once, but a state of mind of the present. (1 Corinthians 7:1-9)
>What is the difference between a Christian and a worldly view of marriage? (11-12; Ephesians 5:32)
* "Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." (11-12)
* "This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:32) The reason a man should be single is for the kingdom of God.
* Marriage between a man and a women is a symbol of the marriage between Christ and his church.
* In previous years the marriage ceremony is constructed to symbolize the marriage between Christ and the church and the wedding feast of the Lamb. People's selfish desires and a lack of Biblical understanding has turn the marriage ceremony into a burden for all. The modern concept is based on selfish desires and romantic feelings which is subject to change. Some wedding proposals have ended before the wedding because of the preparations.
II. The Little Children and Jesus (13-15)
>6. After the Pharisees left, who came to Jesus?
"Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them." (13a)
* "little children" -These were probably very small children a year or two. These children are not said to be ill or demon possessed in any way.
* "were brought" -They were probably brought by their parents, or guardians, or nurses. The children didn't have the ability to come to Jesus on their own.
>Why did they come?
* "to place his hands on them and pray for them." -They had faith in Jesus.
>What can we learn from them?
* To bring the little children to Jesus to be blessed, physical and spiritual little children.
* To respect Jesus' blessing.
* To let even little ones receive blessings from Jesus.
>How did the disciples react to these people?
"But the disciples rebuked those who brought them." (13b)
* Jesus had just talked to the Pharisees which the disciples considered very important.
>Why did they act like this?
* They saw little meaning an importance in the blessing and praying for little ones.
* They thought that children had no place around the Messiah. He had much more important things to do.
* The disciples seemed to have good intentions; yet they did not understand the heart of Jesus.
* We should never be to busy to accept the little ones.
>7. What did Jesus teach his disciples about how to come to him?
"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'" (14)
* "the kingdom of heaven" -See the previous study.
* "belongs to such as these" -Simple, humble, and open.
* They loved Jesus and wanted to be blessed by him.
>How was this a contrast to the way the Pharisees came?
* The Pharisees came in unbelief to discredit Jesus, but these came to him by faith to get his blessings.
>How did Jesus receive the children who came?
* "When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there." (15)
* "placed his hands on them" -Jesus blessed them by placing his hands on them.
* Jesus actions to place attention on little children was somewhat revolutionary. Children had a low place in ancient societies.
>What can we learn?
* To let the little children come to Jesus.
* Jesus accepts children that are brought by their parents.
* To seek the heart and attitude towards Jesus like a little child.
III. To Have Eternal Life (16-30)
>8. What can we learn from this passage about the man who came to Jesus?
* He had a desire to obtain eternal life. (16)
* He considered Jesus a teacher.
* He was young. (20)
* He was a morally good man. (20)
* He had respect for a godly way of life.
* He was wealthy. (22)
* He was self righteous. (17)
* He was a ruler. (Luke 18:18)
* He was religious.
* He was a very good man.
* This man is like many people who say they are Christians today.
* From this passage we can learn how to help those who are like this man.
>What did he want?
"Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, 'Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?'" (16)
* "what good thing" -He did not mentions about avoiding bad things because he believed he was following the law.
* "must I" -the emphasis is on self doing; that is, works.
* "to get eternal life" -Eternal life here may mean not dieing and being saved) (Mark 10:26-27; Luke 18:26-27), the kingdom of God and heaven (Mark 10:24; Luke 18:24), and/or eternal life in heaven (Mark 10:17; Luke 18:26-27).
>Why would he ask such a question?
* He was not satisfied with this life. Even though he had everything a person wants he was not satisfied. So he looked forward to eternal life.
* He didn't realize himself before God. He judged himself by comparing himself to others in society; wealth, power, fame, and appearance.
* If this man were to walk in a church today he was be warmly welcomed and even elected as an elder.
>9. What did Jesus teach him about goodness?
"'Why do you ask me about what is good?' Jesus replied. 'There is only One who is good. If you waant to enter life, obey the commandment.'" (17)
* Jesus did not answer the man directly. Instead he challenged the man's thinking.
* Jesus wasn't impressed by outward appearances.
* Jesus saw the man's heart and his need for being taught the truth.
* Jesus was not a humanist. He did not teach, "Live the good life." He taught, "Live for God."
>Which commandment did Jesus tell him to obey?
"'Which ones,' the man inquired. Jesus replied, ''Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.''" (18-19)
* Jesus was not teaching we have eternal life by doing good deeds. Rather, the man needed to have an understanding of what God considered good. Love for God and neighbor is good. The concept of loving his neighbor was lacking. He was not as good as he thought he was.
>How are these commands a standard to show whether a person's life is selfish or sacrificial?
* Jesus did not site all the ten commandments. He only stated the ones that concern our relationship with love for our neighbor.
>10. What was the young man's response?
"All these I have kept,' the young man said, 'What do I still lack?'" (20)
* The man answered this way because he did not understand the true nature of the law. He kept them by the letter but not by the spirit of the law. There was no heart in his obedience and service. He himself knew he still lacked something, but did not know what it was.
>What did he lack?
"Jesus answered, 'If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" (21)
* Love for God and neighbor would have been displayed in this.
>How did Jesus try to help him sovle his mammonism and over come his selfishness?
* Jesus challenged him to live by faith in God.
* He challenged him to give all he had to his neighbor.
* The last commandment was the greatest to the man.
* Mammonism is love of wealth.
* "all" -The man had to give all that he loved to God. He had to be fully committed to Jesus.
>What was the young man's decision?
"When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth." (22)
* "he went away sad" -He came willing to do anything thinking he would do anything. Now he learned his true character and did not like it.
* The young rich ruler could not accept. He knew Jesus was right, but did not want to do.
* Jesus didn't try to keep him around. He let the young man go. How many preachers today would still accept the man because of his wealth, power, ability, and good looks.
>11. When the young man left, what did Jesus say to his disciples?
"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'" (23-24)
* "it is hard" -Not impossible, just hard.
* "to enter the kingdom of heaven" -That is choose God above all else; to believe by faith that leads to obedience. The man could have entered if he would have followed Jesus' words.
>What does this mean?
* "needle" -The needles we use today to sow thread was unknown in ancient times. A needle was a small aperture.
* "eye of the needle" -Some have said that a small gate in the wall of Jerusalem was called, "The eye of a needle." The camel needed to get rid of all its baggage and get on its knees to enter the city. There is not evidence of such a gate.
* "camel" -The largest animal in Palestine at the time.
* Jesus did not say it was impossible. The point is, in order for a camel to go through a small aperture was impossible for man to achieve, but not impossible for God.
* Those who love money cannot love God at the same time. He will be devoted to one and despise the other.
* A rabbinic equivalent is an elephant to go through the eye of a needle.
>What was their response?
"When the disciple heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, 'Who then can be saved?'" (25)
* "greatly astonished" -The disciples knew this rich young ruler lived a good life. He seemed to have the blessings of God because of devotion. They must have admired him. They hoped to be like him, knowing their sinfulness and poverty. Yet Jesus seemed to indicate that this man was not blessed by God nor going to gain eternal life. This troubled the disciples.
* The disciples concept of a holy life, the kingdom of God, eternal life and salvation was continually challenged by Jesus. From a human point of view their life was becoming more and more difficult for Jesus was teaching absolutes. In order to remain his disciples they needed to change their thinking.
>How can sinful, selfish people be saved?
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'" (26)
* "Jesus looked at them" -They might have started to walk after the man left. So here he stops to make eye contact. In doing so great emphasis is made.
* "with man this is impossible" -Man cannot have eternal life, enter the kingdom of God and heaven, and be saved by his own means, whether it be good works or possitive thinking.
* "with God all things are possible" -Only God can save man. This is through Jesus' death and resurrection as an atonement for our sins.
* Jesus was showing that they needed to have faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast."
* Jesus gave clear clues and they had to figure it out through contemplations.
>12. What did Peter ask?
"Peter answered him, 'We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?'" (27)
* Peter felt a little depressed while at the same time desiring and expecting eternal life. Peter was thinking about what Jesus told the rich young man, the noble quality of a man of God.
>What wonderful promise did Jesus give his disciples?
"Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left housed or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.'" (28-30)
* "at the renewal of all things" -God's work is the work of restoring all things. Jesus' death and resurrection is part of the restoration. His second coming is also part of the restoration.
* "when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne" -This is at his second coming. He is sitting at the right hand of God now. However, Jesus is referring to the restoration of things on earth. So the restoration he is refering to is to have him, the Son of God seated on a throne on earth. This will take place during the Millennial Reign and beyond.
* "glorious throne" -That which shines and is honored.
* "you who have followed me" -Jesus appreciated the sacrifice the disciples made in order to follow him.
* God is not a debtor to any man. He pays back all sacrifices greater than was made.