Jesus opens up the topics of sex, power and money, topics that were as difficult to speak about when he addressed them as they are for us today. His solution is not to proclaim our rights in these areas but to ask us to surrender our desires to God and learn to depend upon our heavenly Father as children. There is great gain in contentment but we will need to trust God as we journey towards those gains.
Matthew 19.1-30 | Commitment
Our culture of rights
Surrendering desire (1-12)
Surrender to humility (13-15)
Surrendering our wealth (16-30)
The responsibilities of surrender
For further thought
Q: Jesus is countering the attitude of the Jewish leaders on divorce with God’s purpose for marriage. What are the contrasts? Could these contrasts help you to advise someone struggling in their marriage or recently divorced?
Q: See also the notes on Matthew 5.17-32. Many in our culture hold sexuality as a core human right that needs to be expressed. How can sex or relationships replace God in our hearts? How can we surrender our sexuality to God? What limitations are there to this (see 11-12 and also 1 Corinthians 7.1-9)?
Q: What is wrong with the rich man’s understanding of what is good (16)? Why does he know that he lacks something (20)?
Q: After Jesus says that it is impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven (24) the disciples are amazed since they take wealth to be a sign go God’s blessing (25). Why do the rich tend to assume that they are worthy? How does the rich person’s heart contrast with a child’s dependence (14-15)? What is closest to this person’s heart?
Q: Many Biblical heroes were wealthy (e.g. Abraham, Boaz, David, Solomon); and the teaching given through Moses and Solomon expect some measure of financial success to be a reward or consequence of obedience to God (e.g. Deuteronomy 32.44-47 mirrored in Proverbs 2). Proverbs also warns about the poverty that comes from laziness and self indulgence (e.g. Proverbs 10.4) Ecclesiastes warns of the exquisite punishment God gives of making someone wealthy while taking away their ability to enjoy their life (e.g. Ecclesiastes 5.10-12). From this, can you give a full Biblical picture of wealth?