Matthew 19:1 KJV 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;
Matthew 19:2 KJV And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
Guzik: (Mat_19:1-2) Jesus is now on the way to Jerusalem, the visit to Jerusalem which will ultimately end in His death and resurrection.
Gill: And he arose from thence,…. From Galilee, and particularly from Capernaum:
the further side of Jordan; which he crossed at the bridge of Chammath: the particular place he came to was Bethabara; see Joh_10:40, where John formerly preached, and baptized:
Robertson: A great deal has intervened between the events at the close of Mark 9 and those in the beginning of Mark 10. For these events See Matthew 18; John 7-11; Luke 9:57-18:14 (one-third of Luke’s Gospel comes in here). … Jesus has begun his last journey to Jerusalem going north through Samaria, Galilee, across the Jordan into Perea, and back into Judea near Jericho to go up with the passover pilgrims from Galilee.
Multitudes (ochloi). Caravans and caravans journeying to Jerusalem. Many of them are followers of Jesus from Galilee or at least kindly disposed towards him. They go together (sunporeuontai) with Jesus. Note dramatic historical present.
Matthew 19:3 KJV 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?
Guzik:Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife: Divorce was a controversial topic in Jesus’ day, with two main schools of thought, centered around two of its most famous proponents. The first was the school of Rabbi Shammai (a strict and unpopular view) and second was the school of Rabbi Hillel (a lax and popular view).
b. For just any reason: These words were the center of the debate. Each school of thought understood that the Mosaic law gave permission for divorce in Deu_24:1 : When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house. Each side knew and believed Deu_24:1; the question was, “What constitutes uncleanness?”
i. The school of Rabbi Shammai understood that uncleanness meant sexual immorality, and said that was the only valid reason for divorce. The school of Rabbi Hillel understood uncleanness to mean any sort of indiscretion, even to the point where burning the breakfast was considered valid grounds for divorce.
Testing Him: So in their question, the Pharisees are try to get Jesus to side with one teaching or the other. If He sides with the lax school of Rabbi Hillel, it is clear that Jesus does not take the Law of Moses seriously. If He sides with the strict school of Rabbi Shammai, then Jesus looses face before the multitude, who generally liked access to an easy divorce. They believe they have caught Jesus on the horns of a dilemma.
TPT: The reason this is important to note (vs 1) is that this places Jesus in the jurisdiction of Herod Antips, who had John the Baptizer beheaded at the request of his stepdaughter. Now the Pharisees are coming to test Jesus in hopes of setting him up for likewise being put to death by Herod.
Guzik: The debate centers around the Mosaic law which gave permission for divorce in Deu_24:1 : When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house. The debate among the rabbis tried to answer the question “What constitutes uncleanness?”
William Barclay on the teaching of Rabbi Hillel on divorce and the term uncleanness in Deu_24:1 : “They said that it could mean if the wife spoiled a dish of food, if she spun in the streets, if she talked to a strange man, if she spoke disrespectfully of her husband’s relations in his hearing, if she was a brawling woman, (who was defined as a woman whose voice could be heard in the next house). Rabbi Akiba even went the length of saying that it meant if a man found a woman who was fairer in his eyes than his wife was.”
Gill: And the: Pharisees came unto him,…. As they every where did; not to be instructed by him, but to ensnare him;
and asked him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? that is, as Matthew adds, “for every cause”; see Gill on Mat_19:3, for, a divorce might be lawfully made for a cause, or reason, namely, adultery, but not for any, or every cause; which is the sense of this question of the Pharisees; and, which they put, not for information, but
tempting him; trying to entangle him by opposing the authority of Moses, should he deny the lawfulness of divorces, or by objecting his former doctrine, Mat_5:32, and so expose him as an inconsistent preacher, should he allow them to be lawful for every reason.
Do you favor the teaching of men on this topic or the Lord?
Matthew 19:4 KJV And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
Matthew 19:5 KJV 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?
Matthew 19:6 KJV Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Guzik: (Mat_19:4-6) Jesus’ first answer to the Pharisees: get back to marriage.
Have you not read: The Pharisees wanted to talk about divorce, but Jesus will talk about marriage, indeed the first marriage – between Adam and Eve. This emphasis on marriage, rather than divorce, is a wise approach for anyone interested in keeping a marriage together.
i. Divorce cannot be seen as an option when things are hard. Marriage is like a mirror; it reflects what we put into it. If one has divorce readily in their mind as a convenient option, divorce will be much more likely.
b. He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”: In quoting Gen_1:27, Jesus indicates first that God has made men and women different, and that God is the one who joins men and women together in marriage. In this, Jesus asserts God’s “ownership” over marriage; it is God’s institution, not man’s, so His rules apply.
c. What God has joined together: Next, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that marriage is spiritually binding before God. Marriage is not merely a social contract, and as God has joined, He expects man to honor that joining and to keep the marriage together.
d. By bringing the issue back to the foundation of marriage, Jesus makes it plain that couples must forsake their singleness (a man shall leave his father and mother), and come together in a one flesh relationship that is both a fact (they are . . . one flesh) and a goal (shall become one flesh).
i. The term joined to his wife has the idea of gluing two things together. “Be glued to her . . . A husband ought to be as firm to his wife as to himself.” (Trapp)
ii. The term Jesus uses for joined together is literally yoked together. Like two animals yoked together, couples must work together and head the same way to really be joined the way God wants them to be joined.
iii. Here, there is a new and overriding unity. The bond between a husband and wife should be even stronger than the bond between parent and child. The marriage bond should be stronger than the blood-bond. “And the law of God was not, that a man should forsake his wife whenever he had a mind to it, but that he should rather forsake his father and mother than his wife; loving his wife as his own body.” (Poole)
iv. “Not only meaning that they should be considered as one body, but also as two souls in one body, with a complete union of interests, and an indissoluble partnership of life and fortune, comfort and support, desires and inclinations, joys and sorrows.” (Clarke)
Barnes:And he answered and said … – Instead of referring to the opinions of either party, Jesus called their attention to the original design of marriage, to the authority of Moses an authority acknowledged by them both.
Have ye not read? – Gen_1:27; Gen_2:21-22. “And said, For this cause,” etc., Gen_2:24. That is, God, at the beginning, made but one man and one woman: their posterity should learn that the original intention of marriage was that a man should have but one wife.
Shall leave his father and mother – This means, shall bind himself more strongly to his wife than he was to his father or mother. The marriage connection is the most tender and endearing of all human relations more tender than even that bond which unites us to a parent.
And shall cleave unto his wife – The word “cleave” denotes a union of the firmest kind. It is in the original taken from gluing, and means so firmly to adhere together that nothing can separate them.
They twain shall be one flesh – That is, they two, or they that were two, shall be united as one – one in law, in feeling, in interest, in affection. They shall no longer have separate interests, but shall act in all things as if they were one – animated by one soul and one wish. The argument of Jesus here is, that since they are so intimately united as to be one, and since in the beginning God made but one woman for one man, it follows that they cannot be separated but by the authority of God. Man may not put away his wife for every cause. What God has joined together man may not put asunder. In this decision he really decided in favor of one of the parties; and it shows that when it was proper, Jesus answered questions without regard to consequences, from whatever cause they might have been proposed, and however much difficulty it might involve him in. Our Lord, in this, also showed consummate wisdom. He answered the question, not from Hillel or Shammai, their teachers, but from Moses, and thus defeated their malice.
Mark 10:9 MKJV Therefore what God has joined together, let not man put apart.
Russell: Hath joined together — The marriage contract is similar to that between the Lord and the Church–perpetual.
MHCC: Let those who are for putting away their wives consider what would become of themselves, if God should deal with them in like manner.
Guzik: What God has joined together: Next, Jesus reminds the Pharisees that marriage is spiritually binding before God. Marriage is not merely a social contract, and as God has joined, He will keep together.
In using the terms joined together and separate, Jesus reminds us that divorce is really like an amputation. Sometimes, in the most extreme circumstances, amputation may be the right thing to do. But the “patient” must first fit the criteria before God will recognize the “amputation.”
Are you seeking to be loosed from your spouse?
Mark 10:10 MKJV And in the house His disciples asked Him again about the same.
Gill: his disciples asked him again of the same matter; concerning the affair of divorces, he had been discoursing with the Pharisees about; some things being said, they had not been used to, and which they did not thoroughly understand; and therefore chose privately to converse with him on this subject, for their further information.
Guzik: This is not a one-verse teaching of all there is to know about divorce and remarriage. Jesus is clearly following up His remarks earlier in the chapter, where He indicated that God did permit (not command) divorce in the case of sexual immorality. Here, Jesus answers the question, “Then what about a divorce gained on other grounds?”
When you don’t understand something that has been taught to you—do you ask for clarification?
If you don’t understand something in the scriptures, do you ask the Lord to show you the truth of the matter?
Matthew 19:7 KJV They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
Matthew 19:8 KJV 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.
Guzik:Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away: The Pharisees wrongly thought that God commanded divorce where there was uncleanness. A Rabbinic saying of that day went: “If a man has a bad wife, it is a religious duty to divorce her.” But Jesus noted the difference between “command” and “permitted” – God never commands divorce, but He does permit it.
Clarke: Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement? – It is not an unusual case for the impure and unholy to seek for a justification of their conduct from the law of God itself, and to wrest Scripture to their own destruction. I knew a gentleman, so called, who professed deep reverence for the sacred writings, and, strange as it may appear, was outwardly irreproachable in every respect but one; that was, he kept more women than his wife. This man frequently read the Bible, and was particularly conversant with those places that spoke of or seemed to legalize the polygamy of the patriarchs!
Wesley: Why did Moses command – Christ replies, Moses permitted (not commanded) it, because of the hardness of your hearts – Because neither your fathers nor you could bear the more excellent way. Deu 24:1; Mat 5:31; Mar 10:2; Luk 16:18.
Matthew 19:9 KJV 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.
Guzik:Because of the hardness of your hearts: Divorce is never commanded, but permitted by God in certain circumstances, and God permits it because of the hardness of human hearts.
i. Sometimes the heart of the offending party is hard, and they will not do what must be done to reconcile the relationship. Sometimes the heart of the offended party is hard, and they refuse to reconcile and get past the offence even with there is contrition and repentance. Often the hardness of heart is on both sides.
c. Except for sexual immorality: Jesus interprets the meaning of the word uncleanness in the Mosaic law – it refers to sexual immorality, not just anything that might displease the husband. Therefore, divorce – and the freedom to remarry without sin – is only permitted in the case of sexual immorality.
i. The ancient Greek word for sexual immorality is porneia. It is a broad word, covering a wide span of sexual impropriety. One may be guilty of porneia without actually having consummated an act of adultery.
ii. To this permission for divorce, Paul adds the case of abandonment by an unbelieving spouse (1Co_7:15).
iii. We note that incompatibility, not loving each other anymore, brutality, and misery are not grounds for divorce, though they may be proper grounds for a separation and consequent “celibacy within marriage” as Paul indicates in 1Co_7:11).
d. And marries another, commits adultery: The reason why a person who does not have a legitimate divorce commits adultery upon remarrying is because they are not divorced in the eyes of God. Since their old marriage was never dissolved on Biblical grounds, that marriage is still valid and they are actually guilty of bigamy and adultery.
i. We must come to grips with the fact that marriage, as a promise made to God, our spouse and the world, is a binding promise, and cannot be broken at our own discretion.
Benson: And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication — Which is a fundamental breach of the main article of the marriage covenant, by which they are one flesh; and shall marry another, committeth adultery — Against her that was his former wife, and who continues still to be so in the sight of God. As the law of Moses allowed divorce, for the hardness of men’s hearts, and the law of Christ forbids it, we learn from hence that Christians being under a dispensation of love and liberty, tenderness of heart may justly be expected among them, and that they should not be hard-hearted like the Jews. Indeed there will be no occasion for divorces if we bear with one another, and forgive one another in love, as those that are and hope to be forgiven of God, and have found him reluctant to put us away, Isa_50:1. Divorces are unnecessary if husbands love their wives, and wives be obedient to their husbands, and they dwell together as heirs of the grace of life. These are the laws of Christ, and such as we find not in all the law of Moses.
CTR: Put away his wife — May not marry unless a divorce be granted, on the ground of adulterous unfaithfulness. (Mat_19:9)
Mark 10:12 MKJV And if a woman shall put away her husband and marries to another, she commits adultery.
Benson: And if a woman shall put away her husband, &c. — “This practice of divorcing the husband, unwarranted by the law, had been (as Josephus informs us) introduced by Salome, sister of Herod the Great, who sent a bill of divorce to her husband Costobarus; which bad example was afterward followed by Herodias and others. By law, it was the husband’s prerogative to dissolve the marriage. The wife could do nothing by herself. When he thought fit to dissolve it, her consent was not necessary. The bill of divorce which she received was to serve as evidence for her, that she had not deserted her husband, but was dismissed by him, and consequently free.” — Campbell.
Guzik: If a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery: This statement of Jesus shows why it is important to take the whole counsel of God on any given topic. If this were the only passage on divorce and remarriage in the Bible, then we should say that if anyone divorces for any reason, they then commit adultery, therefore God never permits remarriage in the case of divorce. But taking the whole counsel of God into account, it is impossible to say this.
i. There are some that neglect the whole counsel of God and say that God never allows remarriage after divorce. But when we see what the entire Bible says on the subject, we see that if a divorce is made on Biblical grounds (adultery or abandonment by an unbelieving spouse), there is full right to remarry.
ii. If a divorce is not based on Biblical grounds – the kind of divorce Jesus refers to here – then there is no right to remarry. This is because as far as God is concerned, the marriage is still together, and to marry another would be adultery.
iii. This means that as God looks down from heaven, He does not have three categories: single, married, and divorced. He has two categories: single and married. You are either bound under a marriage vow, or you are not. If you are, you can’t marry another. If you are not, you are free to marry in the Lord. Understanding the whole counsel of God on this subject frees people from the stigma of “divorced” in the church.
Matthew 19:10 KJV His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
Matthew 19:11 KJV But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
Guzik: (Mat_19:10-12) The disciples ask a good question: if marriage is so binding, is celibacy better?
a. If such is the case . . . it is better not to marry: The disciples understood Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce clearly. They understood that it was not a commitment to be entered into quickly or lightly, and considered that since marriage is so binding before God, then maybe it is better not to marry.
b. All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: Jesus recognized that celibacy is good for some, for the one who is able to accept it (such as the apostle Paul, 1Co_7:7-9).
Benson: His disciples say, If the case of a man be so with his wife — If the marriage-bond be thus indissoluble, and a man cannot dismiss his wife unless she break that bond by going astray, but must bear with her, whether she be quarrelsome, petulant, prodigal, foolish, barren, given to drinking, or, in a word, troublesome by numberless vices; it is not good to marry — A man had better not marry at all, since by marrying he may entangle himself in an inextricable snare, and involve himself in trials and troubles which may make him miserable all the rest of his days.
But he said, All men cannot receive this saying — Namely, that it is not expedient to marry; save they to whom it is given — As a peculiar gift, to conquer those inclinations toward that state which are found in mankind in general, according to the common constitution of human nature.
Gill:His disciples say unto him,…. Being surprised at this account of things, it being quite contrary to what they had been taught, and very different from the general practice and usage of their nation:
if the case of a man be so with his wife; if they are so closely joined together in marriage; if they are, as it were, one flesh, or one body, that a man’s wife is himself: that the bond between them is so inviolable, that it is not to be dissolved, but in case of adultery; that if a separation be made by a bill of divorce, in any other case, and either party marry again, they are guilty of adultery; if a man cannot part with his wife lawfully, provided she be chaste, and is faithful to his bed, let her be what she will otherwise, though ever so disagreeable in her person, and troublesome in her behaviour; though she may be passionate, and a brawler; though she may be drunken, luxurious, and extravagant, and mind not the affairs of her family, yet if she is not an adulteress, must not be put away:
it is not good to marry; it would be more expedient and advisable for a man to live always a single life, than to run the risk of marrying a woman, that may prove very disagreeable and uncomfortable; to whom he must be bound all the days of his or her life, and, in such a case, not to be able to relieve and extricate himself. This they said under the prejudice of a national law and custom, which greatly prevailed, and under the influence of a carnal heart.
But he said unto them,…. With respect to the inference or conclusion, the disciples formed from what he had asserted:
all men cannot receive this saying; of their’s, that it is not good to marry, but it is more proper and expedient to live a single life! every man, as the Syriac version renders it, is not ספק לה, “sufficient”, or “fit”, for this thing; everyone has not the gift of continency, and indeed very few; and therefore it is expedient for such to marry; for what the disciples said, though it might be true in part, yet not in the whole; and though the saying might be proper and pertinent enough to some persons, yet not to all, and indeed to none,
save they to whom it is given; to receive such a saying, to live unmarried with content, having the gift of chastity; for this is not of nature, but of grace: it is the gift of God.
CTR:All men cannot receive this — The advice to remain unmarried is not imperative upon the saints.
Matthew 19:12 KJV 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.
Guzik: For there are eunuchs who were born thus: The term eunuch was used figuratively for those who voluntarily abstain for marriage. Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean biological eunuchs, though He certainly includes them among those who abstain from marriage.
CTR: Made themselves eunuchs — Figuratively, by determining not to marry, but to live celibate lives. A privilege, a sacrifice in order to render the better service to the Lord; not a command, not an obligation.
It is for each one of the Church to consider his consecration and to remember the example of Jesus who, by the power of his consecrated will, became a eunuch for the Kingdom of heaven’s sake.
None should make the mistake, however, of supposing that the responsibilities of a family already incurred can be ignored or set aside. After the marriage it is too late for one to decide for himself whether or not he prefers to live a celibate life.
Clarke: Eunuchs – Ευνουχος, from ευνην εχειν, to have the care of the bed or bedchamber; this being the principal employment of eunuchs in the eastern countries, particularly in the apartments of queens and princesses. These are they whom our Lord says are made eunuchs by men, merely for the above purpose.
So born from their mother’s womb – Such as are naturally incapable of marriage, and consequently should not contract any.
For the kingdom of heaven’s sake – I believe our Lord here alludes to the case of the Essenes, one of the most holy and pure sects among the Jews. These abstained from all commerce with women, hoping thereby to acquire a greater degree of purity, and be better fitted for the kingdom of God: children they had none of their own, but constantly adopted those of poor people, and brought them up in their own way.
He that is able to receive – Χωρειν χωρειτω. These words are variously translated: he who can take; let him take it; comprehend, let him comprehend it: admit, let him admit it. The meaning seems to be, Let the man who feels himself capable of embracing this way of life, embrace it; but none can do it but he to whom it is given, who has it as a gift from his mother’s womb.
Barnes:For there are some eunuchs … – Jesus proceeds to state that there were some who were able to receive that saying and to remain in an unmarried state. Some were so born; some were made such by the cruelty of men; and there were some who voluntarily abstained from marriage for the kingdom of heaven’s sake – that is, that they might devote themselves entirely to the proper business of religion. Perhaps he refers here to the Essenes, a sect of the Jews (see the notes at Mat_3:7), who held that marriage was unsuitable to their condition; who had no children of their own, but perpetuated their sect by adopting the poor children of others. Eunuchs were employed chiefly in attending on the females or in the harem. They rose often to distinction, and held important offices in the state. Hence, the word is sometimes used with reference to such an officer of state, Act_8:27.
Gill:He that is able to receive it, let him receive it: whoever is able to receive cordially, and embrace heartily, the above saying concerning the expediency and goodness of a single life, and having the gift of continency, can live according to it; let him take it, and hold it fast, and act up to it; he may have less of worldly trouble, and be more useful for God in the Gospel of Christ, and to the interest of religion; but this should be a voluntary thing: no man should be forced into it; and he that goes into it, ought to consider well whether he is able to contain, or not.
Matthew 19:13 KJV Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
Mark 10:13 TPT The parents kept bringing their little children to Jesus so that he would lay his hands on them and bless them. But the disciples kept rebuking and scolding the people for doing it.
Guzik: They brought little children to Him: The ancient Greek word used for brought (prosphero) suggests bringing the children to Jesus for dedication. “The word is commonly used of sacrifices, and suggests here the idea of dedication.” (Bruce)
Barnes: Should touch them – That is, should lay his hands on them, and pray for them, and bless them. Compare Mat_19:13. It was common to lay the hands on the head of a person for whom a blessing was asked. See the case of Jacob, Gen_48:14.
Russell: His disciples rebuked — Feeling that the Lord’s time was too valuable to be thus used.
Do we sometimes condemn or discourage others from coming to the Lord because we think its not right?
Do you bring your children to the Lord for a blessing?
Guzik:Then little children were brought to Him: How marvelous that in the midst of Jesus’ teaching on marriage, parents bring their children to be blessed. Today, parents should still bring their children to Jesus; He wants to bless them and welcome them into the kingdom of heaven.
Gill:that he should put his hands on them, and pray; not that he should baptize them, nor did he; which may be concluded from the entire silence of all the evangelists; and from an express declaration that Christ baptized none; and from the mention of other ends for which they were brought, as that Christ should “touch” them, Mar_10:13 as he sometimes used to do persons, when he healed them of diseases…or as here, that he might put his hands on them, and pray over them, and bless them, as was usual with the Jews to do; see Gen_48:14 and it was common with them to bring their children to venerable persons, men of note for religion and piety, to have their blessing and prayers (y):
and the disciples rebuked them; not the children, as the Persic version reads, but those that brought them, Mark observes; either because they came in a rude and disorderly manner, and were very noisy and clamorous; or they might think it would be too troublesome to Christ, to go through such a ceremony with so many of them; or that it was too mean for him, and below him to take notice of them…. However, from this rebuke and prohibition of the disciples, it looks plainly as if it had never been the practice of the Jews, nor of John the Baptist, nor of Christ and his disciples, to baptize infants; for had this been then in use, they would scarcely have forbid and rebuked those that brought them, since they might have thought they brought them to be baptized; but knowing of no such usage that ever obtained in that nation, neither among those that did, or did not believe in Christ, they forbad them.
Benson:Then were brought unto him little children — Luke says, βρεφη, infants. It is not said by whom they were brought, but probably it was by their parents or guardians: and herein, 1st, they testified their respect for Christ, and the value they set upon his favour and blessing: and, 2d, manifested their love to their children, not doubting but it would be for their benefit in this world and the next to have the blessing and prayers of the Lord Jesus, whom they looked upon at least as an extraordinary person, a holy man, and as a prophet, if not also as the Messiah, and the blessings of such were valued and desired. Observe, reader, they who glorify Christ by coming to him themselves, ought further to glorify him by bringing their children to him likewise, and all upon whom they have influence.
That he should put his hands on them and pray — It appears to have been customary among the Jews, when one person prayed for another who was present, to lay his hand upon the person’s head; and this imposition of hands was a ceremony used in ancient times, especially in paternal blessing: thus Jacob, when he blessed and adopted the sons of Joseph, laid his hands upon their heads, Gen_48:14-20.
And the disciples rebuked them — That is, them that brought the children; probably thinking such an employ beneath the dignity of their Master.
Clarke:Then were there brought unto him little children – These are termed by Luke, Luk_18:15, τα βρεφη, infants, very young children; and it was on this account, probably, that the disciples rebuked the parents, thinking them too young to receive good. See on Mar_10:16 (note).
Robertson:Rebuked them (epetimēsen autois). No doubt people did often crowd around Jesus for a touch of his hand and his blessing. The disciples probably felt that they were doing Jesus a kindness. How little they understood children and Jesus. It is a tragedy to make children feel that they are in the way at home and at church. These men were the twelve apostles and yet had no vision of Christ’s love for little children. The new child world of today is due directly to Jesus.
Matthew 19:14 KJV But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 19:15 KJV And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
CTR: Suffer — Permit, allow.
Little children — The Great Teacher was a lover of children, even though he did not generally give his time to them.
Of such is the kingdom — Those who will be of the Kingdom of God must be like little children: simple-hearted, true, teachable, obedient, honest and trustful of their heavenly Father.
The Kingdom of heaven will not be literally composed of little children.
Guzik: Let the little children come to Me: This also shows us something remarkable able Jesus’ character. He was the kind of man that children like – and children are often astute judges of character.
Benson: But Jesus said, Suffer little children to come unto me — Mark says, that when Jesus saw it, that is, observing his disciples rebuking those that brought the children, he was much displeased, namely, to find his disciples so defective in benevolence toward objects whose innocence and helplessness entitled them to great affection from persons of riper years. He ordered them therefore to let the children be brought to him; saying, For of such is the kingdom of heaven — The Church of God on earth, and his kingdom in heaven, is composed of persons who resemble little children in their dispositions…
Mark 10:14 MKJV But when Jesus saw, He was much displeased and said to them, Allow the little children to come to Me and do not hinder them. For of such is the kingdom of God.
Guzik: Let the little children come to Me: Children love to come to Jesus, and it says something about Him that children loved Him and that He loved children. Children don’t love mean, sour people.
- Jesus’ attitude towards children “can only be properly appreciated within the context of the calloused attitudes toward children that still prevailed within Hellenistic society in the first century. A papyrus dated Alexandria, June 17, 1 B.C., contains a letter of instruction from a husband to his expectant wife, who he supposes may have had her child: ‘if it was a male child, let it live; if it was a female, cast it out.’“ (Lane)
c. The disciples rebuked those who brought them: Because children love to come to Jesus, we should never block the way – or fail to provide them a way. We know more about Jesus than the women of Judea did. Is there any good reason for us not to bring our own children to Jesus?
i. This is a duty especially for parents. The prayers and words of a parent can mean so much in the salvation of a child.
He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them: Jesus simply yet powerfully, blessed them. The ancient Greek verb is emphatic, literally meaning to fervently bless.
i. How could children receive such a blessing from Jesus? Because children can receive the blessing of Jesus without trying to make themselves worthy of it, or pretending they do not need it. We need to receive God’s blessing the same way.
e. For of such is the kingdom of God: Children are not only for blessing; they are also examples of how we must enter the kingdom with a childlike faith, not with a childish faith. We must come to God with a faith that trusts God just like a little child with trust his father – and leave all the problems up to daddy.
i. The emphasis isn’t that children are humble and innocent, because sometimes they aren’t. But the emphasis is on the fact that children will receive, and don’t feel they have to earn everything they get. Children are in a place where often all they can do is receive. They don’t refuse gifts out of self-sufficient pride. So we must receive the kingdom of God as a little child – because we surely will by no means enter it by what we do or earn.
Are you childlike or childish?
Mar 10:15 TPT Listen to the truth I speak: Whoever does not open their arms to receive God’s kingdom like a teachable child will never enter it.”
Mark 10:16 MKJV And taking them up in His arms, He put His hands on them and blessed them.
Barnes: Blessed them – Prayed for them, sought a blessing on them, or gave them the assurance of his favor as the Messiah. How happy would it be if all parents thus felt it to be their privilege to present their children to Christ!
Matthew 19:16 KJV And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
Matthew 19:17 KJV 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.
Guzik: (Mat_19:16-17) A man asks Jesus the most important question one can ask.
What good thing shall I do to inherit eternal life: This question demonstrates that this man, like all people by nature, has an orientation towards a works-righteousness.
b. Why do you call Me good? In this, Jesus does not deny His own goodness. Instead, He asks the man, “Do you understand what you are saying when you call Me good?”
c. If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments: Jesus’ answer to the man’s question is straightforward. If you want to gain eternal life by your doing, you must keep the commandments – all of them, and in the fullest sense.
Mark 10:17 MKJV And when He had gone out into the way, one came running up and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
Barnes: Running – Thus showing the intensity with which he desired to know the way of life.
Russell: There came one — A Jew of a prominent family, a ruler. A young ruler of the synagogue. Notwithstanding the persecuting spirit of the rulers and teachers in Israel against the Lord and all who believed in the validity of his claims, he came to him openly.
Kneeled to him — Saluting him with that reverence due to so great a teacher.
What shall I do — He was anxious for a perfect conformity to the will of God; and so anxious that he manifested his willingness to bear reproach for it in coming to Jesus.
If you are sincere, you ought to be ready to accept whatever answer he will give me as divine direction, and should promptly obey.
Guzik: Good Teacher: This title was never applied to other Rabbis in Jesus’ day, because it implied sinlessness, a complete goodness. Jesus and everyone else recognized that He was being called by a unique title.
i. “There is no instance in the whole Talmud of a rabbi being addressed as ‘Good Master’.” (Plummer, cited in Geldenhuys) Only God was called “good” by ancient rabbis.
b. Why do you call Me good?
c. What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? The focus of the man’s question is what shall I do. He thought eternal life was a matter of earning and deserving, not of relationship. As he bowed down on his knees in front of Jesus, the mere closeness of that relationship made him closer to salvation than anything he could do. He didn’t want Jesus to be his savior, he wanted Jesus to show him the way to be his own savior.
i. The man really didn’t know who he was also. He thought that he was righteous, and didn’t really know the kind of person he was. When you don’t know who Jesus really is, you probably won’t know who you are either. And knowing Jesus comes first.
Mark 10:18 MKJV And Jesus said to him, Why do you call Me good? No one is good except one, God.
Robertson: Why callest thou me good? So Luk_18:19. Mat_19:17 has it: “Why asketh thou concerning that which is good? “The young ruler was probably sincere and not using mere fulsome compliment, but Jesus challenges him to define his attitude towards him as was proper.
Expositor’s: The doctrinal importance of this remarkable utterance is what most affects us, who look back through the dust of a hundred controversies. But it was very secondary at the time, and what the ruler doubtless felt most was a chill sense of repression and perhaps despair. It was indeed the death-knell of his false hopes. For if only God is good, how can any mortal inherit eternal life by a good deed? And Jesus goes on to deepen this conviction by words which find a wonderful commentary in St. Paul’s doctrine of the function of the law. It was to prepare men for the gospel by a challenge, by revealing the standard of true righteousness, by saying to all who seek to earn heaven, “The man that doeth these things shall live by them.” The attempt was sure to end in failure, for, “by the law is knowledge of sin.” It was exactly upon this principle that Jesus said “Keep the commandments,” spiritualizing them, as St. Matthew tells us, by adding to the injunctions of the second table, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” which saying, we know, briefly comprehends them all.
Clarke: Good, etc. – Much instruction may be had from seriously attending to the conduct, spirit, and question of this person.
1. He came running, (Mar_10:17), for he was deeply convinced of the importance of his business, and seriously determined to seek so as to find.
2. He kneeled, or caught him by the knees, thus evidencing his humility, and addressing himself only to mercy. See Mat_17:14.
3. He came in the spirit of a disciple, or scholar, desiring to be taught a matter of the utmost importance to him – Good teacher.
4. He came in the spirit of obedience; he had worked hard to no purpose, and he is still willing to work, provided he can have a prospect of succeeding – What good thing shall I do?
5. His question was the most interesting and important that any soul can ask of God – How shall I be saved?
CTR:Came and said unto him — Notwithstanding the persecuting spirit of the rulers and teachers in Israel against the Lord and all who believed in the validity of his claim, he came to him openly.
That I may have — He perceived that even the best men of his nation had failed to gain eternal life under this covenant; that all had died.
Eternal life — He had the right idea, that eternal life is the grand hope of all hopes before the human family.
Barnes: One came – This was a young man, Mat_19:20. He was a ruler (Luke); probably a ruler in a synagogue, or of the great council of the nation; a place to which he was chosen on account of his unblemished character and promising talents. He came running (Mark); evincing great earnestness and anxiety, He fell upon his knees (Mark); not to worship him, but to pay the customary respectful salutation; exhibiting the highest regard for Jesus as an extraordinary religious teacher.
Good Master – The word “good” here means, doubtless, most excellent; referring not so much to the moral character of Jesus as to his character as a religious teacher. … “Master” here means teacher.
What good thing shall I do? – He had attempted to keep all the commandments. He had been taught by his Jewish teachers that people were to be saved by doing something – that is, by their works; and he supposed that this was to be the way under every system of religion. He had lived externally a blameless life, but yet he was not at peace: he was anxious, and he came to ascertain what, in the view of Jesus, was to be done, that his righteousness might be complete. To “have eternal life” means to be saved.
Keep the commandments – That is, do what God has commanded. He in the next verses informs him what he meant by the commandments. Jesus said this, doubtless, to try him, and to convince him that he had by no means kept the commandments, and that in supposing he had he was altogether deceived. The young man thought he had kept them, and was relying on them for salvation. It was of great importance, therefore, to convince him that he was, after all, a sinner. Christ did not mean to say that any man would be saved by the works of the law, for the Bible teaches plainly that such will not be the case, Rom_3:20, Rom_3:28; Rom_4:6; Gal_2:16; Eph_2:9; 2Ti_1:9. At the same time, however, it is true that if a man perfectly complied with the requirements of the law he would be saved, for there would be no reason why he should be condemned. Jesus, therefore, since he saw he was depending on his works, told him that if he would enter into life that is, into heaven – he must keep the commandments; if he was depending on them he must keep them perfectly, and if this was done he would be saved. The reasons why Christ gave him this direction were, probably:
1. Because it was his duty to keep them.
2. Because the young man depended on them, and he ought to understand what was required if he did – that they should be kept perfectly, or that they were not kept at all.
3. Because he wanted to test him, to show him that he did not keep them, and thus to show him his need of a Saviour.
CTR: Why callest thou me good — Our Lord parried the question to draw out the young man.
Why do you acknowledge me as a good teacher? I am either the Messiah, as I claim, or an impostor and far from good. Do you accept my Messiahship? If you do not, how can you call me good? Unless you believe from the heart that I am the Son of God and not a falsifier, hypocrite and blasphemer. If you really believe me to be good, you must believe in me as a teacher sent of God, the All-Good. More than this, that I proceeded forth from God, that I am the Son of God.
One, that is, God — Everything that is really good is of God and in accordance with God.
Keep the commandments — The Law Covenant was still in force. It had not yet been “nailed to the cross.” (Col_2:14)
Matthew 19:18 KJV 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,
Matthew 19:19 KJV Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Guzik: You shall not murder . . .: Jesus asked the man about the commandments which primarily deal with a man’s relation to man. In response, the young man claimed All these things I have kept from my youth – claiming to fulfill all God’s commands regarding how we must treat other people.
CTR:Do no murder — Ignoring the commandments relating to Jehovah, realizing that the young man was seeking to know and do the will of the true God.
Matthew 19:20 KJV The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Expositor’s: But the ruler knew not how much he loved himself: his easy life had met no searching and stern demand until now, and his answer has a tone of relief, after the ominous words he had first heard. “Master,” and he now drops the questionable adjective, “all these have I kept from my youth;” these never were so burdensome that he should despair; not these, he thinks, inspired that unsatisfied longing for some good thing yet undone. We pity and perhaps blame the shallow answer, and the dull perception which it betrayed. But Jesus looked on him and loved him. And well it is for us that no eyes fully discern our weakness but those which were so often filled with sympathetic tears. He sees error more keenly than the sharpest critic, but he sees earnestness too. And the love which desired all souls was attracted especially by one who had felt from his youth up the obligation of the moral law, and had not consciously transgressed it.
What is your attitude when you come to Jesus?
Guzik: We can also know that this man had not perfectly kept the law, because he still knew that there was something missing in his life (What do I still lack?) There was still something lacking in his life, reflecting a lack in his relationship with God.
Mar_10:21 tells us that Jesus loved him in reply. Jesus has compassion on this man, so misguided as to think that he really could justify himself before God.
Mark 10:20 MKJV And he answered and said to Him, Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.
Guzik: In his reply, this ruler says of himself that he has kept all these commandments, and that he has done so since his youth. Is this possible? Yes and no. “Yes” according to the way these commandments were commonly interpreted but “no” according to the true meaning God had for these commandments.
i. In Php_3:6, Paul says that in the eyes of the religious Jews, he could say that for him, concerning the righteousness which is in the law, [he was] blameless.
ii. But Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, gave us the real meaning of the law – it goes to the heart, not just to your actions. You can have a heart filled with adultery even if you never commit it; a heart filled with murder even if you never do it; a heart that steals even if you never steal. And God looks at the heart as well as the actions.
iii. The man should have responded, “There is no way I have kept or can keep the law of God completely. I need a savior.”
Russell: All these have I observed — He was trying to do right in every way. He had been living a most exemplary life; but that was merely his duty; no one has a right to live a bad life.
Matthew 19:21 KJV 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.
Guzik: (Mat_19:21-22) Jesus tests him by “the first table of the law” – the aspects of the Mosaic law which deal with man’s relationship to God.
Sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me: The call to forsake everything and follow Jesus is a call to put God first in all things. It is full obedience to the first table of the law, which dealt with a man’s relation to God.
Mark 10:21 MKJV Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him and said to him, One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, take up the cross and follow Me.
Russell: Beholding him — He was a noble character, even though he was not a disciple.
Loved him — It would have been impossible for the Lord not to love such a grand character. Loved his endeavors to keep the Law and loved his manifestation of humility and earnestness in coming as he had, in a public manner, to ask the way to life eternal.
One thing thou lackest — With all his morality there was inconsistency. He possessed wealth, and should use it to the glory of the Lord. There was a lack. His attitude, although he did not realize it, was not that of entire consecration to the will of God. He had failed to keep the Law in those two most important principles–supreme love to God and love to the neighbor as to self.
Sell whatsoever thou hast — You must do more than merely avoid sin. God is now calling for sacrificers. If you do not sacrifice yourself, you cannot become my disciple. Possessions, time, reputation, ambition. Not that the Lord’s people should be penniless, dependant upon the charity of others, but their possessions all must be consecrated to the Lord to be used in his service.
If that young man had assented and made further inquiry as to the particulars, it is our opinion that the Lord would have modified his statement–suggesting that the selling and giving to the poor be not done all at once, but gradually, as the necessities might seem to open up.
Give to the poor — Use that which you consecrated as wisely and as thoroughly as you know how, as God’s steward. Not that the riches should be given away recklessly or indiscriminately but, as God’s steward, to distribute it according to the wisdom which God would give.
Treasure in heaven — Additionally, he might become a joint-heir with Jesus in glory, honor and immortality. (Rom_2:7; Rom_8:17)
Take up the cross — There is no other way to come into Christ but by way of the cross. We must bear it as he bore it.
Guzik: One thing you lack: Instead of challenging the man’s fulfillment of the law (which Jesus had every right to do), Jesus instead took him further down his own path. “So you want to find fulfillment and salvation by doing for God? Then here, do it all.” Jesus wanted the man to see the futility of finding fulfillment or salvation through doing, but the man wouldn’t see it.
i. He also could not love God more than his wealth, even though Jesus specifically promised him treasure in heaven. The man was more interested in man’s earthly treasures than in God’s heavenly treasures. Essentially, this man was an idolater. Wealth was his God, not the true God of the Bible. He put money first.
e. Then how can we be saved? This man, like all men by nature, has an orientation towards a works-righteousness; he asks what shall I do. If we really want to do the works of God, it must begin with believing on Jesus, whom the Father has sent (Joh_6:29).
MacLaren: We may be sure that it was this man’s money which stood between him and eternal life. If something else had been his chief temptation, that something would have been signalised as needful to be given up. There is no general principle of conduct laid down here, but a specific injunction determined by the individual’s character. All diseases are not treated with the same medicines. The command is but Christ’s application of His broad requirement, ‘If thine eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out.’ The principle involved is, surrender what hinders entire following of Jesus. When that sacrifice is made, we shall be in contact with the fountain of goodness, and have eternal life, not as payment, but as a gift.
Have you given your “all” for Jesus?
CTR: Sell that thou hast — Use earthly things with great moderation and self-denial. You must do more than merely avoid sin; God is now calling for sacrificers. All thy possessions, all thy time, all thy reputation, all that hitherto has been dear to thee. The poor man must give up the idols of his imagination and ambition, his covetousness; the rich man must sacrifice, not only what he possessed, but all for which he hoped. He might have been kept busy for many years disposing of his goods. The selling of that which he had would go on proportionately as he could find use for the money.
Dispose of your natural abilities and talents, wisely of course, for the benefit of yourself, your family, and all who have need of such services.
Give to the poor — Wisely, however, as becometh God’s steward. Reckon yourself God’s steward, commissioned by him to use all those goods, as well as your personal talents, to his glory in serving those about you. Not necessarily with the bread that perisheth; but first, rather, to feed the spiritually hungry with the bread of life.
“Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” (Rom_13:10
Treasure in heaven — Instead of on earth. Joint-heirship with Christ in the Messianic Kingdom; glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature.
And follow me — Sacrifice also your earthly reputation and become my follower. Taking up the cross of self-denial thus involved.
Clarke: and come and follow me – be my disciple, and I will appoint thee to preach the kingdom of God to others. This was the usual call which Christ gave to his disciples. See Mat_4:19; Mat_8:22; Mat_9:9; Mar_2:14; and it is pretty evident, from this, that he intended to make him a preacher of his salvation. How many, by their attachment to filthy lucre, have lost the honor of becoming or continuing ambassadors for the Most High!
Barnes:If thou wilt be perfect – The word “perfect” means complete in all its parts, finished, having no part wanting.
Matthew 19:22 KJV But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Guzik:He went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions: In this, the wealthy questioner fails utterly. Money is his god; he is guilty of idolatry, and this is why Jesus, knowing the man’s heart, asked him to renounce his possessions.
Both tables of the law will test every person before God. It isn’t enough to do good by our fellow man and be decent folk; we must do right by God, and give Him the glory and honor He deserves
CTR: Went away sorrowful — Evidently convinced that he yet fell short of the requirement of the law. He saw himself as never before. It became a new test with him.
No doubt the heart of Jesus was sad also, when he saw the blight of selfishness and self-will attacking that promising half-blown rose of character. For centuries this has been called “The Great Refusal.”
Gill:he went away sorrowful; not with a godly sorrow for his sin and imperfections, but with the sorrow of the world, which worketh death: he was ashamed and confounded, that he could not perform what he had just now so briskly promised, at least tacitly, that whatever else was proper he would do; as also grieved, that he had not arrived to perfection, which he had hoped he had, but now began to despair of, and of obtaining eternal life; and most of all troubled, that he must part with his worldly substance, his heart was so much set upon, or not enjoy it:
for he had great possessions; which were very dear to him; and he chose rather to turn his back on Christ, and drop his pursuits of the happiness of the other world, than part with the present enjoyments of this.
Whittaker: It makes an intriguing study in circumstantial evidence to bring together the various lines of argument which support, without completely proving the conclusion that this young man was Barnabas, who later became Paul’s companion in travel.
First, it is possible to go a long way towards establishing that this rich ruler was a Levite (as, of course, Barnabas was; Acts 4 :36).
Barnabas, it is interesting to observe, was a Levite of Cyprus. So apparently the letter of the Law was observed by his owning no property in Israel. The “inheritance” Moses wrote about was, of course, in the land of Promise. So that estate in Cyprus was a neat circumvention of the spirit of the Mosaic covenant, and now Jesus bade him recognize it as such.
Jesus went on to quote also from Moses’ great prophecy concerning the tribe of Levi: “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time …” In spirit, and also in detail, this is very much like Deuteronomy 33 :8,9: “And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim (‘ If thou wouldst be perfect. . .’) and thy Urim be with thy holy one . . . who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children .. .”
Even more impressive is the Lord’s demand that this earnest seeker sell all and come and follow him, for this is exactly what the Law prescribed when a Levite wished to give himself to full-time service of the sanctuary (Dt. 18 :6-8). There must be first “the sale of his patrimony,” and the devotion of the proceeds to the sanctuary. Instead of the temple Jesus substituted his own poor disciples, the new temple of God. But this was to be done only if the Levite came “with all the desire of his mind.”
More specific identification?
It is now possible to explore further and find clues suggesting identification of this rich Levite with Barnabas, who when he came to prominence in the early church is mentioned as selling an estate and putting the proceeds into the common fund for the benefit of the poor brethren – which is precisely what Jesus had told the rich young man to do (Acts.4 :36). The Greek word used to describe the estate Barnabas disposed of is the same as was used by Jesus (Mk. 10:29).
And apparently it was then that Joseph was given his new name Barnabas, “the son of exhortation,” that is, the man who did what he was exhorted to do. The rich young man was also a “ruler,” that is, a member of the Sanhedrin. There is fair evidence that Saul of Tarsus also was a member of the Jewish Council Here, then, is a likely explanation of the singular fact in Acts 11 :25 that it was Barnabas who went off to Tarsus specially to find Saul at a time when Gentiles were being added to the church at Antioch. These two remarkable men had apparently been colleagues in the Sanhedrin (see “Acts”, by H.A.W., ch. 34).
The same passage describes Barnabas as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (11 :24). The linking of the last two phrases suggests a special gift of faith through the leading of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor.12 :9). Then was it through God’s power and guidance that Barnabas was brought to his great act of renunciation of considerable wealth? This link excellently with Christ’s comment on the rich young ruler: “With men this impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” The extreme rarity of the same kind of decision in these days makes it more evident than ever that Barnabas’ act of faith was a gift from God.
A further detail about Barnabas now takes on clearer meaning. The first missionary journey began from the instruction: “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13 :2). That perfect tense prompts the enquiry: At what earlier time had these two been called by Christ? The call of Saul was, of course, on the road to Damascus (see Acts 9 :15). But when had Barnabas been called? The answer to this enquiry is either that the call of the rich young ruler is what is referred to, or else there has to be an assumption that there was some other direct call of Christ which neither Gospels nor Acts mention at all.
Is there also some special significance in the fact that it is only Mark’s record about the rich young ruler which tells that “Jesus, looking on him, loved him”? John Mark was “sister’s son to Barnabas” (Col.4:10).
…The conclusion drawn from a study of this kind varies with the individual. Points of evidence which are nearly decisive for one are of negligible value to another. But it is surely remarkable that in such very brief records concerning two men so many points of resemblance or connection can be traced.
Mark 10:22 MKJV And he was sad at that saying and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.
Russell: He was sad — But he had no complaint to make. He was anxious to do God’s will, but not sufficiently anxious to be accounted worthy of membership in the Little Flock. He was willing to do right, to do justly, but unwilling to sacrifice. No doubt the heart of Jesus was sad also when he saw the blight of selfishness and self-will attacking that promising half-blown rose of character.
Went away grieved — Sorrowful; he did not want to give everything to the Lord, but preferred to hold on to his wealth. With all his morality, there was inconsistency. He possessed wealth, and should use that wealth to the glory of God. He must not be selfish, or he could not be Christ’s disciple. Declining to have the eternal life which Jesus was offering on the only terms now attaching to the offer.
Meyer: Youth, with all its fervor and impetuosity, is very beautiful to the Lord Jesus. In this case it was combined with station, high standing, and wealth. It is not necessary that all should sell their goods, and give away the proceeds; indeed, it is often harder to retain and administer them rightly for God. But it was necessary for Christ to prove to this young man that he was not living the life of love, as he seemed to suppose. That alone can fulfill the law, and secure the highest and most perfect blessedness of which we are capable. It was a severe but necessary test for this young man.
MacLaren: ‘His countenance fell,’ or, according to Mark’s picturesque word, ‘became lowering,’ like a summer sky when thunder-clouds gather. The hope went out of his heart, and the light faded from his eager face. The prick of the sharp spear had burst the bubble of his superficial earnestness. He had probably never had anything like so repugnant a duty forced upon him, and he cannot bring himself to yield. Like so many of us, he says, ‘I desire eternal life,’ but when it comes to giving up the dearest thing he recoils. ‘Anything else, Lord, thou shalt have, and welcome, but not that.’ And Christ says, ‘That, and nothing else, I must have, if thou art to have Me.’ So this man ‘went away sorrowful.’ His earnestness evaporated; he kept his possessions, and he lost Christ. A prudent bargain! But we may hope that, since ‘he went away sorrowful,’ he felt the ache of something lacking, that the old longings came back, and that he screwed up his resolution to make ‘the great surrender,’ and counted his wealth ‘but dung, that he might win Christ.’
Guzik: Jesus’ purpose wasn’t to make the man sad; but he could only be happy by doing what Jesus told him to do. So he went away grieved. How many have almost everything, yet are grieved!
There is a thought that this could be Barnabas who traveled with the Apostle Paul. Barnabas did sell all his goods and was totally devoted to the Lord.
Are you willing to let go of what keeps you from following the Lord?
Matthew 19:23 KJV Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Guzik: Assuredly, I say to you: We should not diminish the strength of Jesus words, nor fail to see their application in our own affluent society. Who among us would not be considered richer than this rich young ruler was?
b. It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven: Riches are a snare because they tend to make us satisfied with this life, instead of longing for the age to come. As well, often riches must be acquired at the expense of acquiring God.
Mark 10:23 MKJV And Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, How hardly those having riches will enter into the kingdom of God!
Guzik: We are like the disciples; it is hard for us to see how riches would hinder us from the kingdom of God. We think that riches can only bring blessing and good.
i. The words of Jesus amaze the disciples because they assume that wealth is always a sign of God’s blessing and favor. After all, if the rich aren’t saved, then who is?
ii. Remember what Paul said to Timothy: But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1Ti_6:9-10)
i. We may contrast the dependence of a child with the independence of a rich man – which does Jesus say is more likely to inherit the kingdom of God?
Russell:How hardly — The difficulty was that he had set his heart upon his riches, demonstrating that he loved God and the divine will less than he loved his earthly property. The possession of wealth, in combination with selfishness, leads to a measure of satisfaction with present circumstances and conditions unfavorable to faith in God’s heavenly promises.
Shall they — The Doctors of the Law, the prominent Pharisees, the rulers in the synagogues, the members of the Sanhedrin, etc., were the wealthiest of Israel.
That have riches — Not because God is opposed to riches, for he himself is rich above all others. Though generally applied to money, it may properly be applied to any valuable possession–talents of music, oratory or mental endowment–which carry with it weight of influence among men. We should have no idols–either wealth, fame or selfish ease–which might attract our devotion away from God.
The kingdom of God — Used interchangeably with “kingdom of heaven.” (Mat_19:23) Not the earthly nominal church which rich men find little difficulty in getting into, but the glorified Body of Christ.
Do you trust in riches or God?
Mark 10:24 MKJV And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answering again said to them, Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Gill: And the disciples were astonished at his words,…. For they expected, in a little while, that the kingdom of the Messiah would be set up in great worldly pomp and grandeur; and that all the rich men of the nation would come into it, become his subjects, and join to support the glory and splendour of it:
Barnes: Children – An expression of affection, perhaps also implying a reproof that their slowness of understanding was like that of children. When they should have seen at once the truth of what he said, they were slow to learn it. It became necessary, therefore, to “repeat” what he had said.
MacLaren: How universal the application of His words! Riches may become a hindrance to entering the kingdom. They do so when they take the first place in the affections and in the estimates of good. That danger besets those who have them and those who have them not. Many a poor man is as much caught in the toils of the love of money as the rich are. Jesus modifies the form of His saying when He repeats it in the shape of ‘How hardly shall they that trust in riches,’ etc. It is difficult to have, and not to trust in them. Rich men’s disadvantages as to living a self-sacrificing Christian life are great. To Christ’s eyes, their position was one to be dreaded rather than to be envied.
So opposed to current ideas was such a thought, that the disciples, accustomed to think that wealth meant happiness, were amazed. If the same doctrine were proclaimed in any great commercial centre today, it would excite no less astonishment. At least, many Christians and others live as if the opposite were true.
Are you astonished at this teaching too?
Matthew 19:24 KJV 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.
Barnes: It is easier for a camel … – This was a proverb in common use among the Jews, and is still common among the Arabians.
To denote that a thing was impossible or exceedingly difficult, they said that a camel or an elephant might as soon walk through a needle’s eye. In the use of such proverbs it is not necessary to understand them literally. They merely denote the extreme difficulty of the case.
Benson:It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, &c. — A common proverb among the Jews to express the extreme difficulty of a thing. …Besides, the camel being the largest animal they were acquainted with in Judea, its name was become proverbial for denoting any thing remarkably large, and a camel’s passing through a needle’s eye came, by consequence, as appears from some rabbinical writings, to express a thing absolutely impossible.”
Our Lord, therefore, here represents the salvation of a rich man as being next to an impossibility. It was especially so in those early days, when the profession of the gospel exposed men to so much persecution.
… riches are a dangerous snare in several other respects. 1st, It is difficult to possess them and not inordinately love them, and put that trust in them which ought to be put only in the living God. For rich men “obtaining all the necessaries and superfluities of life by means of their riches, are apt to consider them as the sources of their happiness, and to depend upon them as such, forgetting altogether their dependance on God. … But, 3d, The most difficult thing of all is, to possess them and make a right use of them, even that use which God wills all to make in whose hands he hath lodged them. In other words, To use them as those who are persuaded that, properly speaking, they are not proprietors, but merely stewards of them, and will certainly be called by the great Lord of all to give an account how they have employed every part of them, and what use they have made of the advantages and opportunities for doing and receiving good above others, which riches put in their power.
Guzik:It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God: With man, salvation is like a camel going through the eye of a needle. With God, it is possible.
i. “The camel was the largest animal found on Palestinian soil. The violent contrast between the largest animal and the smallest opening expresses what, humanly speaking, is impossible or absurd.” (Lane)
ii. “Attempts have been made to explain Jesus’ words about the camel and the eye of a needle in terms of a camel shuffling through a small postern gate, or by reading kamilon ‘cable’ for kamelon ‘camel’. Such ‘explanations’ are misguided. They miss the point that Jesus is using a humourous illustration.” (Morris)
Matthew 19:25 KJV When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
MacLaren: No wonder that the disciples thought that, if the road was so difficult for rich men, it must be hard indeed. Christ goes even farther. He declares that it is not only hard, but ‘impossible,’ for a man by his own power to tread it. That was exactly what the young man had thought that he could do, if only he were directed.
Gill: And they were astonished out of measure,…. They were still more amazed, their surprise increased exceedingly upon our Lord’s using the above comparison; which, in their apprehension, showed, that it was utterly impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God; and they expressed their astonishment,
If Jesus was talking about a city gate, would the apostles have been astonished beyond measure over what Jesus said?
What does the word “saved” mean?—Make whole.
How does Jesus make us whole?
Clarke:Who can be saved? – The question of the disciples seemed to intimate that most people were rich, and that therefore scarcely any could be saved. They certainly must have attached a different meaning to what constitutes a rich man, to what we in general do. Who is a rich man in our Lord’s sense of the word? This is a very important question, and has not, that I know of, been explicitly answered. A rich man, in my opinion, is not one who has so many hundreds or thousands more than some of his neighbors; but is one who gets more than is necessary to supply all his own wants, and those of his household, and keeps the residue still to himself, though the poor are starving through lack of the necessaries of life. In a word, he is a man who gets all he can, saves all he can, and keeps all he has gotten. Speak, reason! Speak, conscience! (for God has already spoken) Can such a person enter into the kingdom of God? All, No!!!
Matthew 19:26 KJV But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Guzik:They were exceedingly amazed: The great amazement of the disciples is based on the assumption that riches were always a sign of God’s blessing and favor.
d. With God all things are possible: However, God’s grace is sufficient to save the rich man; we have the examples of people like Zaccheus, Joseph of Armithea, and Barnabas – rich men who still were able to put God first, not their riches.
Mark 10:27 MKJV And Jesus looking on them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.
Russell: With men it is impossible — According to the Law no such thing was possible, but God made possible this plan of salvation through Jesus.
All things are possible — If the rich man be honest-hearted and humble, and his riches alone stand in the way, the Lord would show him how to use his wealth, or else strip him of it.
Robertson: But not with God –The impossible by the side of men (para anthrōpois) becomes possible by the side of God. That is the whole point and brushes to one side all petty theories of a gate called needle’s eye, etc.
Do you work with God?
Matthew 19:27 KJV Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
Barnes: We have forsaken all – Probably nothing but their fishing-nets, small boats, and cottages.
But they were their all – their living, their home; and, forsaking them, they had as really shown their sincerity as though they had possessed the gold of Ophir and lived in the palaces of kings.
What shall we have, therefore? – We have done as thou didst command this young man to do. What reward may we expect for it?
Matthew 19:27 TPT Then Peter blurted out, “Here we are. We’ve given up everything to follow you. What reward will there be for us?”
Gill: behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee. Though their worldly substance was not so large as the young man’s, they had not such estates to sell, nor that to give to the poor, he had; yet all that they had they left for Christ’s sake, their parents, wives, children, houses, and worldly employments, by which they supported themselves and families; and became the disciples and followers of Christ, embraced his doctrines, submitted to his commands, imitated him in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty, denying themselves, and suffering many hardships on his account: wherefore it is asked, what shall we have therefore? what reward for all this? what part in the Messiah’s kingdom? or what treasure in heaven?
Guzik: See, we have left all and followed You: In contrast to the rich young ruler, the disciples have left all to follow Jesus; what will be their reward? Why does this question seem so typical of Peter?
Russell: What shall we have — If it had been wrong for them to have the promises of Kingdom honors in mind, it would have been wrong for the Lord to have given them these promises.
Have you left all to follow the Lord?
What is your hope?
Matthew 19:28 KJV 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.
CTR:That ye — The Church, Head and Body, will be the judges.
Which have followed me — In the narrow way of self-sacrifice in the present life.
“To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me in my throne.” (Rev_3:21)
In the regeneration — Greek, palingenesia, restitution, restoration, renovation. Literally translated: “a new birth day.”
The expression signifies to “give life again,” but in no way implies that it will be given in the same way as now. When the world is born from the dead. The general regeneration of the Millennial age.
The same time which St. Peter styles the “times of restitution,” the Millennium, the times of “resurrection by judgment” (Act_3:19-21; Joh_5:29, R.V.).
The coming forth from the tomb will be merely the beginning of the work of regeneration. The creating of man was a momentary act; but the re-creating, the re-generation, the re-newing, the re-storing of his heart, will be a gradual work.
This is the age of generation, the one to follow is the age of re-generation.
He waits for his bride. The world cannot be regenerated until the Redeemer first applies his merit, his ransom-price “for all the people.”
Son of man shall sit — Rest securely. “His rest shall be glorious.” (Isa_11:10)
Not in “masterly inactivity,” but the very opposite. He is very active, and his strength is equal to his activity. During his Millennial reign. Figurative, indicating that the position of the Son of Man, invested with all executive authority and power, has been established; and not merely established, but permanently established.
In the throne — A throne is the seat of a priest or king, and it is often used as the emblem or symbol of sacerdotal or regal authority. Not merely first in executive authority, but first in executive power also, in the accomplishment of the divine purpose regarding the salvation of man.
Of his glory — The glory of the divine nature. The glory of our blessed Lord is of the same kind as that of the Most High himself.
Ye also — The Church glorified will be the judge. As Eve was associated with Adam in sin and disobedience, so the elect Church, when completed, glorified, will be Christ’s associate in the regeneration.
Sit upon twelve thrones — Participate in the rulership. The apostles shall be associates with him in judging and ruling the world. Implying that they which have passed to that life would be in the condition of the enthroned. Only twelve apostolic thrones, no more. This gives every apostle a throne. Not that the number of thrones is restricted to twelve, or that he who is to occupy a throne must be of necessity an apostle. Luke speaks of “thrones” without restricting them to twelve or any definite number. (Luk_22:28-30)
All the Lord’s faithful followers will have a share. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” (Rev_3:21)
Judging — Greek, krino, judgment or trial. Ruling. The whole world shall be judged, not again representatively, but individually.
Barnes: Verily I say unto you – Jesus in this verse declares the reward which they would have.
They were not to look for it now, but in a future period.
That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration – This word occurs but once elsewhere in the New Testament, Tit_3:5. It literally means a new birth, or being born again. … but the word also means any great change, or a restoration of things to a former state or to a better state. In this sense it is probably used here. It refers to that great revolution – that restoration of order in the universe – that universal new birth which will occur when the dead shall rise, and all human things shall be changed, and a new order of things shall start up out of the ruins of the old, when the Son of man shall come to judgment. The passage, then, should be read, “Ye which have followed me shall, as a reward in the great day of the resurrection of the dead, and of forming the new and eternal order of things – the day of judgment, the regeneration – be signally honored and blessed.
Judging the twelve tribes of Israel – Jesus will be the Judge of quick and dead. He only is qualified for it, and the Father hath given all judgment to the Son, Joh_5:22. To be a judge denotes rank, authority, power. The ancient judges of Israel were people of distinguished courage, patriotism, honor, and valor. Hence, the word comes to denote not so much an actual exercise of the power of passing judgment, as the honor attached to the office; and as earthly kings have those around them dignified with honors and office – counselors and judges, so Christ says that his apostles will occupy the same relative station in the great day. They will be honored by him, and by all, as apostles, as having, in the face of persecution, left all; as having laid the foundations of his church, and endured all the persecutions of the world.
Matthew 19:29 KJV 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.
CTR:Hath forsaken houses — We are not to get the mistaken idea from this that the Lord wishes us to sacrifice others. It would be wrong to deprive our families of necessary comforts and temporal provisions; but having provided these, the remainder is the Lord’s.
An hundredfold — A reward a hundred times greater than that which we lose. The greater our present losses, the greater our reward both now and hereafter. Those who sacrifice nothing need expect no reward. Those who receive little of the Lord in the present life and have small hope of a share in the Kingdom are those who have sacrificed little for his sake.
Barnes:And every one that hath forsaken houses … – In the days of Jesus, those who followed him were obliged, generally, to forsake houses and home, and to attend him.
In our time it is not often required that we should literally leave them, except when the life is devoted to him among the pagan; but it is always required that we love them less than we do him, that we give up all that is inconsistent with religion, and that we be ready to give up all when he demands it.
For my name’s sake – From attachment to me. Mark adds, “and for the gospel’s;” that is, from obedience to the requirements of the gospel, and love for the service of the gospel.
Shall receive a hundred-fold – Mark says “a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters,” etc. A hundred-fold means a hundred times as much. This is not to be understood literally, but that he will give what will be worth 100 times as much in the peace, and joy, and rewards of religion. It is also literally true that no man’s temporal interest is injured by the love of God. Mark adds, “with persecutions.” These are not promised as a part of the reward; but amid their trials and persecutions they should find reward and peace.
Mark 10:29 MKJV And Jesus answered and said, Truly I say to you, There is no man that has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my sake and the gospel’s sake,
Russell: Verily I say unto you — Jesus did not fully endorse Peter’s statement. He knew about Judas and that with Peter some self-will still remained.
Hath left house — If a man has made proper provisions for his family, it is for him and not them to decide how his time, energy and further means shall be spent. Sometimes the Lord’s people put too much value on money and not enough on service.
Or wife, or children — Our Lord certainly did not mean that we should sacrifice others in order to be his disciples; it is ourselves that we are to deny, ourselves that we are to sacrifice.
Not that the Lord would have us deprive our families of necessary comforts. He that provides not for his own is worse than an unbeliever. (1Ti_5:8)
And the gospel’s — Whatever is more than our responsible provision of necessities, is held merely as a steward for use in the Master’s service.
What have you given up for the Lord?
Mark 10:30 MKJV but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions, and in the world to come, eternal life.
Guzik: There is no one who has left house or brothers . . . who shall not receive a hundredfold: There will be universal honor for all who sacrifice for Jesus’ sake. What ever has been given up for Him will be returned to us a many times over, in addition to eternal life.
Barnes: An hundred-fold – One hundred times as much.
In this time – In this life. In the time that he forsakes all.
Houses … – This cannot be taken literally, as promising a hundred times as many “mothers, sisters,” etc. It means, evidently, that the loss shall be a hundred times “compensated” or made up; or that, in the possession of religion, we have a hundred times the “value” of all we forsake. This consists in the pardon of sin, in the favor of God, in peace of conscience, in support in trials and in death, and in raising up “friends” in the place of those who are left – “spiritual brethren, and sisters, and mothers,” etc. And this corresponds to the experience of all who ever became Christians.
With persecutions – Persecutions, or the contempt of the world, and bodily sufferings on account of their religion, they “must” meet. Jesus did not conceal this; but he consoled them. He assured them that “amid” these, or perhaps it should be rendered “after” these, they should find friends and comfort. It is well to bear trial if “God” be our Friend. With the promises of the Bible in our hand, we may hail persecutions, and thank God that, amid so many sorrows, he has furnished such abundant consolations.
Popular NT: Mothers. ‘Nature gives us only one,—but love, many’(see Rom_16:13). We do not find ‘fathers’ here, or ‘wives’ (‘wife’ being of doubtful authority in Mar_10:29), the new relations being spiritual. The former is omitted, probably for the reason suggested in Mat_23:9 (‘One is your father,’ etc.), and the omission then contains a lesson. Christian love and hospitality literally fulfil this promise. But the hope of such a reward is not the proper motive. The promise is made only to those who do this ‘for my sake and the gospel’s sake.’
With persecutions. According to the gospel the persecutions are a part of our best possessions (Mat_5:12; Rom_5:3, etc.), and really prevent the others from becoming a curse. This phrase not only serves to spiritualize the whole promise, but to guard against its misuse.
How many brothers and sisters do you now have in Christ?
How many mothers do you have in Christ?
Are you not welcome in all their homes?
Do you understand the blessing of being of the body of Christ?
Gill: And everyone that hath forsaken houses,.… Not only the then disciples of Christ, but any other believer in him, whether at that time, or in any age, that should be called to quit their habitations, or leave their dearest relations, friends, and substance: as
brethren or sisters, or father or mother, or wife or children, lands, for my name’s sake; or, as in Luke, “for the kingdom of God’s sake”; that is, for the sake of the Gospel, and a profession of it. Not that believing in Christ, and professing his name, do necessarily require a parting with all worldly substance, and natural relations, but when these things stand in competition with Christ, he is to be loved and preferred before them; and believers are always to be ready to part with them for his sake, when persecution arises, because of the word. All these things are to be relinquished, rather than Christ, and his Gospel; and such who shall be enabled, through divine grace, to do so,
shall receive an hundred fold: Mark adds, “now in this time”; and Luke likewise, “in this present time”, in this world; which may be understood either in spiritual things, the love of God, the presence of Christ, the comforts of the Holy Spirit, the communion of saints, and the joys and pleasures felt in the enjoyment of these things, being an hundred times more and better to them, than all they have left or lost for Christ’s sake; or in temporal things, so in Mark it seems to be explained, that such shall now receive an hundred fold,
even houses and brethren, and sisters and mothers, and children and lands; not that they should receive, for the leaving of one house, an hundred houses; or for forsaking one brother, an hundred brethren, &c. which last indeed might be true, as to a spiritual relation; but that the small pittance of this world’s goods, and the few friends they should have “with persecutions” along with them, and amidst them, should be so sweetened to them, with the love and presence of God, that these should be more and better to them than an hundred houses, fields, and friends, without them:
and shall inherit everlasting life. The other evangelists add, “in the world to come”, which is infinitely best of all; for this is an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, which fades not away, reserved in the heavens, when all other inheritances are corruptible, defiled, fading and perishing; houses fall, relations die, friends fail, and lands and estates do not continue for ever: they then have the best of it, who being called, in providence, to quit all terrene enjoyments for Christ’s sake, are favoured with his presence here, and shall enjoy eternal glory and happiness with him in another world.
Matthew 19:30 KJV But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Barnes: This verse should have been connected with the following chapter
Russell: But many that are first — Position, honor of men, wealth and education were barriers to becoming disciples. Those who were first or most prominent were really less favored; those who had less opportunity were really first or most favored. Many possessing great privilege and opportunity for exaltation to the kingdom will fail to embrace it, while others, naturally less favored, will gain the great prize. Again, those who first had the opportunity of becoming disciples of Jesus at his first advent will not, on that account, have any advantage over others of the Lord’s followers in the future.
In point of time God called fleshly Israel first; but in point of favor, and in time of realization, spiritual Israel comes first.
The last first — The less learned, less noble, less influential, less wealthy were advantaged. It was easier for them to humble themselves, to sacrifice.
Guzik: But many who are first will be last, and the last first: To anyone who looked, the rich young ruler stood first and the disciples stood last. But God didn’t look at it the way man does.
Gill:But many that are first shall be last,…. This may refer unto, or be occasioned by, either the young ruler; signifying that he, and others like him, who were superior in riches and honour, were first in this world, of the first rank and figure, should be the last in the world to come:
and the last shall be first; the apostles, who were last in this world, being poor, mean, and abject, should be the first in the other: or to the Scribes and Pharisees, who were in the chief place, and highest esteem, in the Jewish church, and yet least in the kingdom of heaven; when, on the other hand, the publicans and sinners, who were in the lowest class, and in least esteem, went first into it: or to the case of persecution, when some, who seem most forward to endure it at a distance, when it comes nearer, are most backward to it; whilst others, who were most fearful of it, and ready to shrink at the thoughts of it, most cheerfully bear it: or to the apostles themselves, one of which, who was now first, Judas, should be last; and the apostle Paul, who was last of all, as one born out of due time, should be first: or to Jews and Gentiles, intimating, that the Jews, who were first in outward privileges, would be rejected of God for their unbelief, and contempt of the Messiah; and the Gentiles, who were last called, should be first, or chief, in embracing the Messiah, professing his Gospel, and supporting his interest. This sentence is confirmed, and illustrated, by a parable, in the following chapter.