19:3 Some Pharisees [means “separated ones”] came to [with an ulterior motive] Him to test [tempt or trap rather than to seek spiritual guidance] Him. They asked, “Is it lawful [allowed] for a man to divorce [release] his wife for any and every reason [reflected the compromised view of the Pharisees]?”
Note: Verses 4-6 record Jesus response concerning God’s design for marriage.
19:4 “Haven’t you read [see Gen. 1:27],” He replied, “that at the beginning [before the Deuteronomy 24:1 account] the Creator ‘made [to complement and complete one another] them male and female [no room for same-sex marriage interpretation],’
19:5 and said [see Gen. 2:24], `For this reason a man [and woman] will leave [in order to give priority to his wife] his father and mother and be united [permanently glued or adhered] to his wife [spiritually, emotionally, bodily], and the two will become one flesh [physical intimacy and more]‘?
19:6 So [therefore: draws a conclusion from the preceding] they are no longer two, but one. Therefore [because God has not changed His intention for marriage] what God has joined [yoked] together [for a lifetime], let man [a third party] not separate [affirms God’s intention that marriage be a permanent union between one man and one woman for life].”
19:7 “Why then [if God’s intention is for marriage to be permanent as per vv. 4-6],” they asked, “did Moses command [see Deut. 24:1; not actually a command but an attempt to regulate what was occurring] that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce [see Matt. 5:31; enabled woman to seek another marriage] and send her away?”
Note: Jews debated meaning of “something indecent” in Deuteronomy 24:1. Rabbinical school of Shammai interpreted phrase to mean “sexual unfaithfulness.” School of Hillel said that a wife burning her husband’s food was “something indecent.” Hillel’s interpretation was popular in Jesus’ day.
19:8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted [not required] you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard [unwilling to repent, forgive, and reconcile]. But it was not this way from the beginning [God’s original intention was for marriage to be permanent; see also Malachi 2:16 concerning divorce].
19:9 I tell you that anyone who divorces [unjustifiably] his wife [including out of lust for another woman], except for [on the basis of] marital unfaithfulness [Gr. porneia: any form of sexual immorality; every kind of unlawful sexual intercourse; adultery puts personal pleasure above commitment and integrity; see also Matt. 5:32 and 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:15], and marries another woman commits adultery [against the first spouse].”
19:16 Now a man [rich (Mk. 10:22), young (Matt. 19:22), ruler (Lk. 18:18)] came up [eagerness, earnestness] to Jesus and asked [man believed Jesus could answer his question], “Teacher, what good thing must I do [man believed goodness defined by human achievement and that salvation must be earned] to get eternal life [life’s most important issue; cf. Jn. 17:3 re: Jesus’ definition of eternal life; man recognized that something was missing from his life – he did not have the assurance that he had eternal life]?”
19:17 “Why do you ask me about what is good [Jesus was not denying His own goodness and deity; wanted to know if the man was trying to flatter Him or really understood that God is the source of goodness]?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
19:18 “Which ones?” the man inquired.
19:19 Jesus replied [cf. Ex. 20; Deut. 5; Jesus cited the last six commandments], ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal [to rob, to deprive, holding back wages of one hired], do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'”
19:20 “All these I have kept [indication of spiritual pride or ignorance; man sincerely felt he had obeyed outward demands of the law but had obviously not heard Jesus’ inward interpretation of some of the commandments (Matt. 5:21-48); perhaps he thought so because he was comparing himself with others],” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
19:21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor [the man was trusting in his possessions as his basis for securing eternal life; the man’s riches were a barrier between himself and God; wealth occupied place in his life that belonged to God (violation of first commandment)], and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow [follow as a disciple] me.”
19:22 When the young man heard this [the man faced the most important decision of his life], he went away sad [grieving and sorrowful], because he had great wealth [his gold remained his god; his possessions possessed him].
19:23 Then Jesus said [Jesus took advantage of this teachable moment] to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard [because wealth breeds self-sufficiency] for a rich [word often means things or possessions: property, wealth, means] man to enter the kingdom of heaven [the rule and reign of God in the heart of an individual].
Note: Other rich men who missed eternal life…
• man preoccupied with wealth Lk. 12:16-21
• man indifferent to God & needy Lk. 16:19-31
19:24 [exaggerated illustration to make a point (hyperbole)] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel [the largest animal known to those who heard Jesus’ words] to go through the eye of a needle [Luke used word for surgical needle in Lk. 18:25] than for a rich man [perhaps because material wealth can make people blind to their spiritual needs] to enter the kingdom of God.”
19:25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished [to be overwhelmed; perhaps because many viewed wealth as a sign of God’s favor] and asked, “Who then can be saved [to rescue from a deadly plight]?“
19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this [refers to entering the kingdom] is impossible [human achievement cannot qualify anyone for eternal life], but with God [salvation is a divine accomplishment] all things are possible.”
19:27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you [implication is that they had done what the rich, young ruler had refused to do]! What then will there be for us?”
Note: The cost of following Christ…
• Peter & Andrew left fishing business
• James & John left fishing business / father
• Matthew left job as tax collector
19:28 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.
19:29 And everyone who has left [note precious things listed, a reminder that it costs to follow Jesus…] houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much [not a promise of material riches; some rewards may be material in nature, but greater rewards are spiritual] and will inherit eternal life.
19:30 [cf. Matt. 20:16; Mk. 9:35] But many who are first [for example, the rich] will be last [impoverished], and many who are last [according to the world’s standards] will be first [in Christ’s kingdom].