THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 19

1 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; 2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. 3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

When Jesus left Galilee and went to Judaea, great crowds followed him. While Jesus was teaching, He was also healing.

The Pharisees came, perhaps because they are quite jealous of the crowds gathering around Jesus. Their question was not designed to test and see if Jesus were really "Messiah" so they could follow Him. Their question was designed to "trip Jesus up," so they could refute His teaching and thus refute His claim to be Messiah.

4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Jesus went back to the beginning, where God made Adam and Eve. He quoted what Adam said, when God Himself performed that first marriage ( Genesis 2:23-24).

The idea that Jesus presented is that man should not be THINKING about divorce. His thoughts should be focused on the fact that he and his wife are made "ONE" by decree of God. When man's focus is upon God, he will be concerned with UNITY in the family and not divorce. And how can mere man annul what God has done?

God's view of the "man" showed him to be in NEED of a "helpmate." That's why God created the woman and gave her to the man in marriage (Genesis 2:18-22).

Marriage should be held sacred and holy because God Himself performed the first wedding. Since then, all marriages should be considered an imitation of what God performed in the Garden of Eden.

If marriage is sacred and holy, then it follows that all men and women under those vows should hold to one another in love and not be considering divorce as an alternative.

What follows, is a discussion about the fact that men and women don't always hold marriage sacred, and the results.

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

The Pharisees were right in the fact that Moses gave the command, and inferred is that God gave Moses that command. They were simply stating that the "Law" is holy because it came FROM God THROUGH Moses.

But Jesus showed it was not God's original intent that brought this law into effect. It was because "of the hardness" of man's hearts! Man, by the time Moses gave the "Law," had already devised many methods by which they could sever a marriage. For instance, if a woman cooked the biscuits too hard, they used that as an excuse to kick her out of the house.

Once the woman was kicked out, she was at the mercy of society. She had no "divorce" papers, and thus could not marry another man. She was considered an "outcast," and hardly anyone would employ her. Therefore, God gave a decree to "write her a BILL OF DIVORCEMENT" so that she would be free to marry again or to be employed (See Deuteronomy 24:1).

Now a man would look pretty silly writing down on a divorce paper that the woman cooked the biscuits too hard! And that's precisely why God gave the law: to DETER man from divorcing except for one reason - adultery.

And even adultery can be forgiven and the marriage repaired. Read the book of Hosea, it shows the focus on God's will, and the determination of a man to please God.

What's been said here about "men" also applies to women!

10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Now, at this point, one must remember that the disciples had been raised in the same school of thought as the Pharisees. That is: that a man could divorce his wife "for every cause" (see verse 3 above). And, from their statement in verse 10, they intimate that marriage is too great a "bond" without the opportunity for divorce "for every cause."

But Jesus set them straight with His answer. He has already referred to Genesis where God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone..." If it is "not good," then it is better that he marry!

Even with the difficulties of TWO being ONE, it is better that a man HAVE a "helpmate" than to NOT have one! The comforts, joys, unity, solidity, holiness of marriage outweigh the difficulties every time!

However, "ALL men cannot ...." There are some who are incapable of marriage because of birth deficiencies. There are some incapable of marriage because of the mistreatment of other humans. And, there are some who are so dedicated to God that they can focus ONLY on that relationship with God, and have no ability to focus on other relationships.

But for those who are able to "receive it," God has STILL SAID, "It is NOT good for the man to be alone...."

If a man and a woman, in their marriage, will both look up toward God and grow up toward God, they will draw closer together!

13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

The disciples thought Jesus was too busy teaching doctrinal issues to take time with children. But Jesus explained they should be ALLOWED to come to Him.

Many today believe that Jesus is too DEEP for children to comprehend. But even a child can realize conviction for sin. Even a child can realize the love and forgiveness of God.

During 26 years of pastoral servitude, I have faced this question many times: "When is a child OLD ENOUGH to understand salvation?" I always respond with, "When are YOU old enough to understand it?" The truth is, on this side of heaven, we'll NEVER undertand it. But we can REALIZE it!

Jesus explained, "of such" (Like little children) "is the kingdom of heaven."

It is imperative that we ALL come to Christ as little children in order to be saved. We cannot understand, but we can realize! We can participate. We can surrender and receive!

When a child, or an adult, feels conviction of sin and realizes that sin has caused Jesus' death; and, when they feel contrition for that sin - the need of repentance, then all that is needed is commitment to Christ through surrender to His Lordship.

Do not refuse children to come to Christ because they do not comprehend doctrine. It is the surrender in trust that brings salvation. Growing in doctrinal comprehension is what we do AFTER we are saved.

THE RICH YOUNG RULER!

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

The man was "young" (vs 22), and he was "rich" (vss 23-24). He did not expect to buy salvation with money, but he did expect to utilze what he had to earn it. The question "What good thing shall I do," included using his wealth to do good.

Let me say there is something wonderful about a person who uses their wealth to do good. And it is expecially wonderful if that person is surrendered to Christ, and using wealth for His glory rather than for personal fame.

But neither wealth nor works can earn salvation.

Notice Jesus' focus on "Good." He queries why the man would call Him "Good," since there is only ONE that is "GOOD!" The fact that Jesus stated this intimates that He KNEW the young man respected Him as a prophet and teacher, but not as GOD IN FLESH!

Therefore, Jesus pointed to the need of man to be PERFECT in order to be saved. And Jesus first only pointed the man toward his relationships with mankind. The commandments to which Jesus refers are the commandments dealing with man's relationship to man.

The man confessed that he had KEPT all those commandments since his youth. He had concentrated on the external aspects of keeping the law as all of us should. But the young man STILL had a LACKING in his soul! For after his confession of keeping the commandments, he asked, "What lack I YET?"

What the world calls "good" and what God calls "good" are two completely different things! The world calls a gentle, law-abiding citizen as "good." But God only calls a person good when they SURRENDER to Him as His children.

Since the young man acknowledged a "lacking" in his soul, Jesus pointed him toward the first table of the law: PUT GOD FIRST!

Jesus, in effect said, "Go...sell what you have...give it to the poor, and come follow the ONE Who is GOOD!"

It is only then that the young man (and any other person) would feel "Perfect," or mature and complete.

Notice that the young man went away sad because "he had great possessions." He still would rather hold onto his OWN than to be God's own! I'm afraid that is what holds many people back from salvation today.

Some people trust in money, works, education, philosophy, science. But none of those can make a person "perfect" before God! Only trust in CHRIST can do that! There is only ONE way to have knowledge of completeness - that is surrender to Jesus as Lord. Jesus said Himself, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father but by me." (John 14:6)

Jesus took advantage of the situation to explain something to the disciples. He said it is harder for a rich man to be saved than for a camel to go through a needle's eye! The disciples were confused at this statement. They felt like riches were a sign of divine favor. They thought if a rich man couldn't be saved, then no one could - because the rich man had every opportunity to "do good."

But what Jesus was explaining is that only God can overrule a man's desire for worldly fame and fortune. It is IMPOSSIBLE for man to be saved by his own works, merit, or fortune! But with God it is POSSIBLE! God can and will forgive the poorest or the richest persons.

But we first must surrender to CHRIST!

27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? 28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. 30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Peter understood! He GRASPED it! He was forgiven and SAVED! Now, having forsaken ALL, what shall he "have?"

YES! There are rewards beyond salvation. The greatest reward of course is God's eternal forgiveness and acceptance. But God has so much more for those who surrender to Him!

Jesus promised that "in the regeneration," these 12 would sit on thrones alongside Him governing the tribes of Israel during the millennium!

He ALSO promised that "everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my NAME'S sake, shall receive an hundredfold, AND shall inherit everlasting life."

YES! There are rewards for those who have realized that surrender and servitude go hand in hand!

But Jesus also issued a CAUTION! One cannot presume upon the receipt of rewards! Jesus said, "many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." It is not the prospect of rewards that begets servitude. It is the fact of putting God first in our lives simply because He should be FIRST in all we do!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.