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Matthew 19

Jesus Teaches About Divorce
1When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the area of Judea that’s on the other side of the Jordan River. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed many people there.
3Some Pharisees came to test Jesus. They asked, “Does the Law allow a man to divorce his wife for any reason he wants?”
4Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read that in the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’? 5He said, ‘A man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one.’ 6Since they are no longer two, but one, no one should separate what God has joined together.”
7They asked, “Then why did Moses say that a man could give his wife a letter of divorce and send her away?”
8Jesus replied, “Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because you were so hard-hearted. But that’s not the way it was from the beginning. 9I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
10The disciples said to him. “If that’s the way it is between a husband and a wife, then it’s better not to get married.”
11Jesus answered, “Not everyone can grasp this saying. God has to enable a person to do that. 12Others won’t get married, either because they were born unable to have children or because other people made them that way. Still others will choose not to get married so they can serve the kingdom of heaven single. But anyone who can grasp the saying should accept it.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13Then people brought little children to Jesus because they wanted him to place his hands on them and pray for them. The disciples started to tell the people that they shouldn’t do this.
14But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and don’t try to stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these.” 15He placed his hands on them, and then he went on his way.
Rich People and the Kingdom of God
16A man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?”
17“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only one who is good. If you want to enter the kingdom, obey the commandments.”
18“Which ones?” the man asked.
Jesus said, “ ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not be a false witness, 19honor your father and mother.’ And, ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ ”
20“I’ve obeyed all those commandments,” the young man said. “What else do I need to do?”
21Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have. Give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was very rich.
23Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it’s very difficult for someone who’s rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who’s rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25When the disciples heard this, they were amazed and asked, “Then who can be saved?”
26Jesus looked at them and said, “With people, it’s impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”
27Peter answered him, “We’ve left everything to follow you! What reward will we get?”
28Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, when all things are made new and the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, then you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones, judging the 12 tribes of Israel. 29Everyone who has left houses or fields, brothers or sisters, father or mother, or husband or wife and children because of me will receive 100 times as much. They will also receive eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
1-2When Jesus had completed these teachings, he left Galilee and crossed the region of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. Great crowds followed him there, and he healed them.
3One day the Pharisees were badgering him: “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”
4-6He answered, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”
7They shot back in rebuttal, “If that’s so, why did Moses give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?”
8-9Jesus said, “Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hard heartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. I’m holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery.”
10Jesus’ disciples objected, “If those are the terms of marriage, we’re stuck. Why get married?”
11-12But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”
To Enter God’s Kingdom
13-15One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.
16Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”
18-19The man asked, “What in particular?”
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
20The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”
21“If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
22That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.
23-24As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God’s kingdom? Let me tell you, it’s easier to gallop a camel through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.”
25The disciples were staggered. “Then who has any chance at all?”
26Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
27Then Peter chimed in, “We left everything and followed you. What do we get out of it?”
28-30Jesus replied, “Yes, you have followed me. In the re-creation of the world, when the Son of Man will rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel. And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields—whatever—because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life. This is the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first.”