This is part of a Daily Devotional Orwell Bible Church prepares each week. You can get a copy from our Downloads and Literature page.
Matthew now relates Jesus’ departure from Galilee to Judea and ultimately Jerusalem. Opposition toward Jesus escalates, resulting in his trial and crucifixion. The Pharisees sought to trap Jesus to say something contrary to the Law by asking him questions about divorce and remarriage. (The Pharisees themselves were divided about what were legitimate grounds for divorce.) Jesus pointed them to the Scriptures: God created marriage to be lifelong (vv. 4-6), and God through Moses permitted divorce only for sexual immorality (vv. 8-9), which is unfaithfulness to the marriage bond (cf. “one flesh,” Gen 2:28; Mat 19:5-6).
What is required for eternal life? Jesus taught that humble love of him is required (vv. 13-15). Mere outward obedience is not enough (v. 16-19); there must be inward obedience that springs from a controlling love for him and not love for things (vv. 20-22).
Jesus followed up by teaching how difficult it is for the wealthy to be willing to leave everything to follow him (vv. 23-26). Jesus said that the disciples—who did leave everything to follow him—will rule with him over Israel when he establishes his kingdom (vv. 27-28). Jesus’ last statements in verses 29-30 are illustrated and explained in the next passage, 20:1-16.
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Sexual relations are exclusively for marriage, expressing the covenant union between husband and wife. Jesus taught about this earlier (5:27-30). Resist the near-unanimous opinion of the world regarding this, and heed the will of God (1 Thess 4:1-8)!
- It is easier to “follow rules” than to follow Christ (vv. 16-22). Truly following Christ involves obeying his commands (v. 17) and leaving everything for him (v. 21).
- Christ’s kingdom will involve him sitting on and ruling from the glorious throne of Israel when he reigns in righteousness (v. 28). Everyone who truly follows him will enter that coming kingdom (vv. 29-30). It will be a kingdom characterized by his power, righteousness, peace, and love, not what this world is characterized by. What—who—are you living for now?