CHAPTER XXVIII

A GLIMPSE AT THE PEREAN MINISTRY

ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
(Matthew 19:1-20:16)


19 And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words, he left Galilee and went into the regions of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.

3 And Pharisees, trying Him, came and said, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for every cause? 4 And replying, He said, Did you never read that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female? 5 And He said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What, therefore, God has joined together, let a man not separate. 7 They said to Him, Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of separation and to divorce her? 8 He said to them, On account of the hardness of your heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been thus. 9 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another woman, commits adultery. 10 The disciples say to him, If the relation of the man with his wife is thus, there is no advantage in getting married. 11 And he said to them, All cannot receive this word, but only those for whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been thus from their mother's womb, and there are eunuchs who are made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who make themselves eunuchs because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who is able to receive this word, let him receive it.

13 Then little children were brought to Him, in order that He might lay His hands upon them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Allow the little children, and stop hindering their coming to Me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15 And He laid His hands on them and went on from there.

16 And, behold, one came to Him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do in order that I may have eternal life? 17 And He said to him, Why are you asking Me concerning the good? There is one good; but, if you want to enter into life, keep on observing the commandments. 18 He said to Him, Which ones? Jesus said, You shall not kill, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, 19 honor your father and your mother, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 20 The young man said to Him, All these things have I observed; what do I still lack? 21 Jesus said to him, If you want to be perfect, go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven, and come and keep on following Me. 22 When the young man heard this word, he went away, being very sorrowful, for he had many possessions.

23 But Jesus said to His disciples, In solemn truth I am telling you that with great difficulty will a rich man enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I am saying to you that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man
to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When the disciples heard this word, they were exceedingly astounded, saying, Who, therefore, can be saved? 26 Looking at them, Jesus said, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. 27 At that time Peter, replying, said to Him, Behold, we have left all and have followed Thee; what, therefore, shall we have? 28 Jesus said to them, In solemn truth I am telling you that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man will sit upon the throne of His glory, you also will sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or fields, because of My name, he will receive many times more and will inherit eternal life. 30 Many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

20 For the kingdom of heaven is like a man, a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. 2 When he had agreed with the workers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour¹ and saw others standing in the market place idle; 4 and to these he said, Go also into my vineyard, and whatever is right I shall give you. And they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh
hour he went out and found others standing and said to them, Why have you stood here idle all the day long? 7 They said, No one has hired us. He said to them, Go also into the vineyard. 8 And when evening had come, the master of the vineyard said to his foreman, Call the workers, and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling. 10 And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more, but they likewise received every man a shilling. 11 Receiving it, they began to grumble against the householder, 12 saying, These last ones worked only one hour, but you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden of the day and the heat. 13 And replying to one of them, he said, Friend I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a shilling? 14 Take your own and go; I want to give to this last one as also to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do whatsoever I wish with my own goods? Or is your eye wicked, because I am good? 16 Thus the last will be first; and the first, last.

¹ Third hour is 9 A.M. in our system of time.


I. SEPARATION AND DIVORCE

(Matthew 19:1-12)

In the first century there was a sharp controversy in Israel between the schools of Hillel and Shammai in regard to separation and divorce. The former was rather lax in its interpretation. On the other hand, the school of Shammai was very strict in this matter. Matthew 19:1-12 records the verdict of the Lord Jesus concerning this question. According to verse 9, there is but one scriptural cause for divorce. Additional teaching regarding divorce appears in Matthew 5:31,32; Luke 16:18; and Romans 7:1-4:

"31 And it has been said, Whoever divorces his wife, let him give to her a certificate of divorce. 32 But I am telling you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the matter of fornication, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries her who has been divorced commits adultery" (Matt. 5:31,32).

"18 Every one that putteth away his wife and marrieth another committeth adultery: and he that marrieth one that is put away from a husband committeth adultery" (Luke 16:18).

1 Or are ye ignorant, brethren (for I speak to men who know the law), that the law hath dominion over a man for so long time as he liveth? 2 For the woman that hath a husband is bound by law to the husband while he liveth; but if the husband die, she is discharged from the law of the husband. 3 So then if, while the husband liveth, she be joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if the husband die, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress, though she be joined to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God (Rom. 7:1-4).


II. JESUS BLESSING LITTLE CHILDREN
(Matthew 19:13-15)

Realizing the blessedness of a godly person's praying for others, certain ones brought little children to Jesus that He might pray for them. Some, not realizing the value of prayer, began to hinder those bringing the children. Jesus reprimanded them for this attitude, because "the supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working" (James 5:16).

Grave are the responsibilities of parents to care for the spiritual life of their children. Moses pointed out this parental responsibility in Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

4 Hear, 0 Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: 5 and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart; 7 and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates.

Those parents who are not meeting the spiritual needs of their children will be held accountable to God for their dereliction of duty. Whenever chastisement for misdemeanor and wrongdoing is necessary, the parents should in love administer it.

    13 Withhold not correction from the child;
    For if thou beat him with the rod, he will not die.
    14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod,
    And shalt deliver his soul from Sheol (Prov. 23:13,14).


    III. THE PERILS OF RICHES
    (Matthew 19:16-20:16)

    A rich young man who had lived a clean life asked Jesus what good thing he should do in order to obtain eternal life. Seeing the difficulty of the young man, the Lord went to the heart of his case and asked about his keeping the commandments. According to the young man, he had been very punctilious in the observance of all the commandments. Then he wished to know if he lacked anything. Knowing the deceitfulness of riches, Jesus informed him that, if he would be perfect, he should sell everything that he had, should give the proceeds to the poor, and should follow Him. Jesus did not require everyone who came to Him to sell all that he had and to give to the poor. But He did instruct this young man to do so—if he would be perfect. Evidently there was a reason. He loved his riches. They were a millstone, as it were, about his neck that would drown him in perdition. In instructing him, Jesus was trying to help him. In like manner, if anything which one has or longs for should take precedence over his spiritual life and relation with God, the Lord would tell him to give up all these hindrances and to come and follow Him, with the assurance of receiving eternal riches.

    The instructions to the rich young man caused Peter great concern. In his impulsiveness, he said immediately that he had left all and followed Jesus. Then he wished to know what he and the rest of the apostles who had made such sacrifices would have as rewards. Jesus told them exactly what they would have at the present time and in the future. "Jesus said to them, In solemn truth I am telling you that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man will sit upon the throne of His glory, you also will sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19:28).

    But God hates a dickering, bargaining spirit, such as the one which Peter manifested on this occasion. The spirit in which one serves the Lord and makes sacrifices will be one of the factors determining the rewards which he will receive. To illustrate this point, Jesus gave the parable of the laborers who were sent into the vineyard to work (Matt. 20:1-16). At the beginning of the day, the landlord hired some laborers for a shilling a day. He went to the market place about the third hour and found men unemployed whom he told to go into the vineyard and promised to give them whatever was right. He did likewise at the sixth and ninth hours. Finally, about the eleventh hour, he went and found others unemployed, whom he invited to go into his vineyard, promising to give them whatever was right. Those men who were invited at the eleventh hour went into the vineyard to work, trusting the goodness of the proprietor to do what was right. At the end of the day, therefore, they received as much as those who had borne the burden and the heat of the entire day, and who murmured against the house-holder, although he gave them what he had contracted to give them.

    Various portions of the Scriptures show that three factors enter into the awarding of rewards: the quality of service rendered (Matt. 25:14-30); the quantity of service accomplished (Luke 19:11-28); and the spirit in which one serves (Matt. 20:1-16).