Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Matthew 19:16-26


16 And someone came to Him and said, ``Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?'' 17 And He said to him, ``Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.'' 18 Then he said* to Him, ``Which ones?'' And Jesus said, ``YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; 19 HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'' 20 The young man said* to Him, ``All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?'' 21 Jesus said to him, ``If you wish to be complete , go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.'' 22 But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. 

23 And Jesus said to His disciples, ``Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 ``Again I say to 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.'' 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ``Then who can be saved?'' 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, ``With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.''

NOTE the contrast between the rich man and the needy children in the previous paragraph. The problem is not that this man had wealth, but that the wealth he possessed had become his god. It was that which he was depending upon and therefore, it was the obstacle between him and God. Because of this property he owned, he was unable to follow Jesus. Jesus points out that it is very difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. In fact, with people it is impossible! But God is into handling impossibilities such as this! For a rich man or anyone else entering into the Kingdom is a supernatural transformation work of God Himself.

Note that most of your translations say that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. In the Aramaic translation of Jesus' words (the language Jesus actually spoke), the word is not "camel", but "rope". Now that makes more sense and more realistic to what the people understood.

The application here is to ask yourself what it is that is between you and God-between you and following Jesus. You were created to be dependent upon your Creator and if you are not dependent upon Him, then you will naturally become dependent upon something else (that may not be all that bad in itself, but becomes that which separates you from God). So, what is it that tends to come between you and your walk with Jesus?

Here's a good way to measure whether or not you are holding on to something too tightly or when something has become your god. Anything that is non-negotiable with God is now your God. Think about it! God, you can have everything, but my business, my spouse, my kids, my security, my house or my car. Anything that is non-negotiable with God is now your God. Think it over!

Matthew 19:13-15


13 Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, ``Let the children alone and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'' 15 After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.

The disciples seemed to feel that Jesus was too important to be bothered with little children. The term that Matthew uses refers to children in general of any age. Luke tells of this same incident that there were very little children among those brought to Jesus, nursing infants in fact, even babies. There was throughout the culture a low estimate of the importance of children. Jesus did not share that viewpoint. Jesus used the lowliness and unimportance of children to illustrate the humility that he requires of his followers. Everyone must be childlike in the sense that he understands himself to be needy, undeserving of the favor of God and man, and helpless apart from the grace of God.

NOTE: In my way of thinking children are possibly the most vivid and accurate illustration of what Jesus wants-they have nowhere else to turn. C.S. Lewis put it this way: "The gospel is not for the well-meaning, but for the desperate." The Lord made the same point in other ways when he accepted, to the amazement and absolute consternation of the Jewish religious authorities, the sick, the outcasts, Gentiles, and women.

When the blind men cry out for Jesus' attention near Jericho, later in 20:31, the crowd rebuked them for bothering the Master. Their attitude was the same as his disciples here. Jesus had better things to do, more important things, than attend to blind people, to outcasts. But Jesus' warm acceptance of all those who are in need, and now children, indicates this fundamental truth: that we do not qualify for Jesus' attention and help by some virtue or status that we have acquired. It is our need only that attracts Jesus to us. Jesus came as the great physician, looking for those who are sick and in need of Him. Whenever I think of this reference to Jesus my response is, "Over here, Jesus!"

Matthew 19:10-12


10 The disciples said* to Him, ``If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.'' 11 But He said to them, ``Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 ``For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.''

Based upon the adulterous nature of messing up within the marriage relationship, the disciples remark that maybe it is better to not marry at all. Jesus’ response has to do with 3 kinds of eunuchs—men who have been emasculated.
1. Born a eunuch.
2. Made a eunuch.
3. Choose to be a eunuch for the kingdom.

There is a myth making the rounds in some circles, that those people identified as eunuchs in scriptures were homosexuals. This is a totally ridiculous idea and nothing could be further from truth. It is indeed astounding that any learned person could come to such a conclusion.

FIRST--Remaining single and not entering into marriage is OK with Jesus.

SECOND--Jesus points out that some men (or women) may choose to be “not married” for the sake of the kingdom. To be single gives you a great opportunity minister full-time without consideration of your mate.

THIRD--Each person must choose, because it is a personal choice.

The bottomline and most important of all is the phrase “for the sake of the Kingdom”. Remember, Jesus said earlier to “seek first the Kingdom of God” and everything else will take care of itself. “For the sake of the Kingdom”. Does that phrase reflect how you evaluate your life decisions? FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM.