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The Fourfold Gospel

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19:1  And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words1, he departed from Galilee2, and came into the borders of Judaea beyond the Jordan;

    JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM. CONCERNING DIVORCE. Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12

  1. When Jesus had finished these words. The words contained in Matthew 18, which are the last teachings in Galilee recorded by any of the Evangelists.

  2. He departed from Galilee. Having come into the borders of it again from Ephraim. It seems likely that Matthew takes in at one view both departures from Galilee, viz.: that mentioned at Section 75, John 7:9, and that at Section 95, see Luke 17:11. for Matthew records none of the intervening events, and Jesus spent no time in Galilee between the two journeys, merely returning to the border of the land and making a second journey thence to Jerusalem. He now left Galilee to return thither no more until after the resurrection (Matthew 28:16,17; John 21:1).

19:2  and great multitudes followed him1; and he healed them there.

  1. Great multitudes followed him. See Mark 10:1.

19:3  And there came unto him Pharisees, trying him1, and saying, Is it lawful [for a man] to put away his wife for every cause2?

  1. There came unto him Pharisees, trying him. See Mark 10:2.

  2. Is it lawful [for a man] to put away his wife for every cause? That is, for every cause satisfactory to the husband.

19:6  So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder1.

  1. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. See Mark 10:9.

19:7  They say unto him, Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put [her] away?

  1. Why then did Moses then command, etc. See Mark 10:4.

19:8  He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives1: but from the beginning it hath not been so.

  1. Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives. See Mark 10:5.

19:9  And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication1, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery.

  1. Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, etc. See Matthew 5:32.

19:10  The disciples say unto him, If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry1.

  1. If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry. The disciples illustrate not only the hardness of heart of which Jesus spoke, but also the wisdom of allowing divorce under the law of Moses.

19:11  But he said unto them, Not all men can receive this saying1, but they to whom it is given.

  1. This saying is the saying which Jesus himself had just uttered concerning divorce (Matthew 19:9).

19:12  For there are eunuchs1, that were so born from their mother's womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

  1. For there are eunuchs, etc. His teaching is that the prohibition of divorce does not apply to eunuchs. If a woman finds herself married to a eunuch, she is not bound to him. So with a man married to a hermaphrodite.

    NOTE.--I dissent from the above interpretation for many reasons: If the cases be confined to the two instances given, the rule presents nothing but what every man and woman would gladly receive, which is contrary to what Jesus says about the saying. But, if the cases be extended to those who make themselves eunuch for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and it be contended that evangelists and others who sacrifice their home ties for the good of the cause thereby give to their wives a right of divorce, the saying becomes on the other hand too hard for any to receive.

    My understanding of the passage is this: The disciples, startled by the Lord's declaration as to the indissolubility of marriage, declared that marriage was inexpedient. Jesus accepts their saying, because applicable to but three cases. Jesus is therefore speaking with regard to "celibacy" and "divorce". He says that eunuch are unfit for marriage, whether made so by nature or by the violence of man. The two first--the "physical" eunuch--are introduced to illustrate the last or "spiritual" eunuch--the man whose intense interest in the affairs of the kingdom of heaven makes him prefer the celibate state. The saying with regard to him is indeed hard to receive, for it borders on the abnormal and unnatural, and hence it is no command save to those who, being in that abnormal and almost unnatural condition, are in a shape to receive it. Marriage is the natural condition of man, and celibacy is abnormal, but to some extent Biblically countenanced. The trend of Scripture shows that Jesus here speaks about celibacy and not about divorce, for it has much to say about the celibate principle involved here--those who prefer to be eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and nothing to say about women obtaining divorces because of their husbands' sacrifices for the kingdom of heaven.

    The Scripture everywhere treats of celibacy as a difficult problem, and the teaching is this: When any in the kingdom of heaven feel called to such extreme labors therein as render marriage impracticable (Acts 13:2; 1 Corinthians 9:4,5), they are permitted to abstain from marriage; and when seasons of persecution seriously interfere with the regular order and course of life among Christians, they may find it expedient to live as eunuchs (1 Corinthians 7:25-34). But in no case must celibacy be practiced unless it can be done so without the sin of incontinency (1 Corinthians 7:1-9). The Bible nowhere countenances any celibate vow, for it teaches that celibacy is to be continued only so long as it is expedient. Much less does it give countenance to the doctrine that a church can pass laws enforcing celibacy on the whole class of clergy, without any regard for their natural constitution, their spiritual powers, or their faithful continuance.--Philip Y. Pendleton.

19:13  Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should lay his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

    BLESSING CHILDREN. CONCERNING CHILDLIKENESS. (In Perea.) Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17

  1. Then were brought unto him little children, etc. See Mark 10:13.

19:14  But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me1: for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven.

  1. Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me, etc. See Mark 10:14.

19:15  And he laid his hands on them1, and departed thence.

  1. And he laid his hands on them. See Mark 10:16.

19:16  And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life1?

    THE RICH RULER. PERIL OF RICHES. REWARD OF SACRIFICE. PARABLE OF THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD. (In Perea.) Matthew 19:16-20:16; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30

  1. Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? See Mark 10:17.

19:17  And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good1? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments2.

  1. Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? Jesus' reply to the "question" of the young man "What good thing", etc. (Matthew 19:16). See Mark 10:18.

  2. But if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments. By referring the ruler to the commandments, Jesus not only answered the question as to obtaining life, but he emphasized the confession of his divinity contained in the question, "Why askest", etc. God, who knows what is good, had revealed that good in the commandments which he had given. Yet the ruler had asked Jesus to be wise above God's revelation, and to propound a law or rule of goodness in addition to that already given, and of such a nature as to more fully insure the attainment of life by obeying it. The ruler's question reveals that common weakness in man which prompts him to look to his fellow-men for religious and moral instruction; forgetting that only God can propound the absolute standards of goodness. We should note, too, that the young man, being under the law given through Moses, was bidden to attain life by keeping the law. After the death of Christ a new law was given. Had the man waited until that time, he would have been directed to this new law, and obedience to it would have been required. Compare Acts 2:37,38 2 Thessalonians 1:8.

19:18  He saith unto him, Which1? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

    Matthew 19:18,19

  1. He saith unto him, Which? etc. See Mark 10:19.

19:19  Honor thy father and mother1; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

  1. Honor thy father and mother. Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16.

  2. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. For the last commandment, "Thou shalt not covet" (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21), Jesus substitutes its equivalent, being a summary of all the six commandments. See Leviticus 19:18.

19:20  The young man saith unto him, All these things have I observed1: what lack I yet?

  1. All these things have I observed. See Mark 10:20.

19:21  Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me1.

  1. Go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. See Mark 10:21.

19:22  But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful1; for he was one that had great possessions.

  1. But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful, etc. See Mark 10:22.

19:23  And Jesus said unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven1.

  1. It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. See Mark 10:23.

19:24  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye1, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

  1. It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, etc. See Mark 10:25.

19:25  And when the disciples heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, saying, Who then can be saved1?

  1. Who then can be saved? See Mark 10:26.

19:26  And Jesus looking upon [them] said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible1.

  1. With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. See Mark 10:27.

19:27  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee; what then shall we have1?

  1. Lo, we have left all, and followed thee; what then shall we have? See Mark 10:28.

19:28  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory1, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel2.

  1. In the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory. By the term "regeneration", Jesus in this case means the period in which the process of regenerating men would be in progress; that is, the period of the mediatorial reign. After his ascension Jesus sat upon his throne (Matthew 25:31; Acts 2:33-35; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Hebrews 1:13). And on the day of Pentecost next following (Acts 2:1), he began this process of regeneration.

  2. Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Having enthroned himself, Jesus enthroned the apostles also, not as kings but as judges, having jurisdiction over all questions of faith and practice in the earthly kingdom. During their personal ministry, they judged in person; and since then they judge through their writings. True, we have written communications from only a part of them, but judgments pronounced by one of a bench of judges with the known approval of all, are the judgments of the entire bench. Moreover, the passage must be construed metaphorically, for the apostles are judges in the church of Christ--the true Israel--and not over the literal twelve tribes of Jacob. And again, the twelve who then heard Jesus speak were not all enthroned, Judas having fallen from his position before the day of enthronement (Acts 1:16-18), and Matthias and Paul were afterwards added to the group (Acts 1:26; Acts 9:17-19). Jesus here causes the number of the judges to correspond to the number of the tribes, to indicate that there will be sufficiency of judgment commensurate to the need.

19:29  And every one that hath left houses, or brethren1, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold2, and shall inherit eternal life.

  1. Every one that hath left houses, or brethren, etc. See Mark 10:29.

  2. Shall receive a hundredfold. See Mark 10:30.

19:30  But many shall be last [that are] first; and first [that are] last1.

  1. But many shall be last [that are] first; and first [that are] last. See Mark 10:31.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 19". "The Fourfold Gospel". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/tfg/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=019>. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.  

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