BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 5: Matthew 19:16-22

Summary of passage:  A man asks Jesus what good thing he must do to get to heaven.  Jesus said there is only One who is good and to obey the commandments to enter life.  The man asked which commandments and Jesus said don’t murder, steal, commit adultery, or give false testimony, and honor your mother and father and love your neighbor.

The man asked what he still lacked once he has done this.  Jesus told him to sell all of his possessions, give to the poor for treasure in heaven, and follow him.  The man went away sad, unable to do so.

Questions:

11a)  The man had a limit as to what he would sacrifice for Jesus.  The children do not.  They love whole-heartedly.  The man loved his material things more.

b)  Jesus told him it was more important to store up treasure in heaven, not on earth as the man believed.  The man was of the world.

12a)  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

b)  His earthly life, his great wealth on earth.

13a)  Jesus knew the man lacked love for others and acceptance of him as a Savior.  He knew the man’s heart was not his.  He knew the man was not willing to give up everything for him.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The gospel (and hence God) is stronger than man and man himself can never hope to follow it without God and Jesus.  With Jesus, we can be whom God called us to be.  Without Jesus, we cannot.  Jesus showed us what matters is the heart.  If our heart is not his, then everything else in life is not worthwhile.  It is meaningless.

With regards to the teachings on marriage, when we weaken God’s word, we all suffer as does society.  Look at our society now compared to the past.  Even 150 years ago, we were stronger.  We must take all of God’s word and not just parts.  It was not meant to be compartmentalized.  We either believe the Truth or we don’t.  We are either God’s or we’re not.  There is no middle ground, gray area, or wiggle room.

Conclusions:  I was hoping to read all of Matthew 19 and am unsure why BSF is breaking this up into two weeks (guess I’ll find out next week).  I wanted to read Jesus’ response to the man and analyze it.  Just too much to cover I guess!

End Notes:  This story is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  All say he was rich.  The man appears to be seeking reassurance from Jesus; yet, because he asked him what he is still lacking, he must sense that he is not fully God’s.

Jesus asked the man to “follow me”, similarly to how Jesus called other disciples (Matthew 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; Mark 2:14).  He asked him to be his disciple, which in this case meant selling what was standing in the way of him and God (his material items) and committing fully to God.  The man, too attached to this world, could not do it.

Note the man is miserable before and miserable afterwards.  Life is a waste if you are miserable and yet do nothing to change it.  It is interesting to note human nature here.  Even after being told what he must do to have eternal life, man turns his back.  Wonder how many of us would do that if tested as the man were?  I would hope if God himself or Jesus told me what I was lacking, I’d change it.

Both Mark and Luke record the man as calling Jesus “good”, which is why Jesus here explains that only God is good, meaning if you think Jesus good, then Jesus must be God.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 4: Matthew 19:10-15

Summary of passage:  The disciples concluded it would be better not to marry than to commit adultery according to Jesus’ definition.  Jesus responded that some will be called to remain celibate and those should accept it.

Jesus blessed the little children who came to him despite the rebukes from the disciples.  Jesus explained that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those such as these.

Questions:

8a)  Jesus said that some are called to remain celibate and if you are called, then, yes, you should remain celibate.

b)  Paul taught that he wishes all would not marry like him but if you do marry to remain pure and not to commit sin through adultery.  Married people face many troubles and Paul wanted to spare people of those troubles by not marrying.  Marriage problems can push God away.  An unmarried person can focus all his life on God but a married person is focused on pleasing his or her spouse and thus his interests are divided between this world and God’s world.  Paul wished for those to live in undivided devotion to God.  He also advised widows not to re-marry but to focus on God instead.

God might ask someone not to marry for His glory so that they can focus and devote all of their lives to Him.

9a)  First, the sanctity of the marriage union no longer exists in much of society today.  Infidelity is rampant and thus is divorce and heartache.  Re-marriage is also very common.  Swinging is acceptable as is gay marriage.  This is not what the Bible teaches.  But if you say you are against gay marriage or that divorce is a sin then you are the stigmatized as un-Biblical and judgmental.  Christians are pressured to accept society’s “water-downed” view of marriage and to not voice any dissent.

Society does pressure people to marry.  If  you are 30 today and unmarried, some think there must be something wrong with you.  Some give in to the pressure to have a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a cat and dog.  They forget that God might have another plan for their lives.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Well, I believe I strengthened myself through studying these passages and knowing what God and Jesus think of marriage and divorce so that I can voice that to others who are confused or have no clue.  I can encourage single people to wait on God and not to push things.  I can give Biblically-based advice when a friend is struggling in her marriage.

Knowledge of the Bible is powerful.  It is our tool and our weapon when fighting the devil and sin.  The more we know, the stronger we are.  The stronger we are, the stronger are those around us.  Hence, the service BSF does for all of us whether we know it at the time or not.  Bible study is never a waste.  Never.

10a)  To have Jesus touch them, to place his hands on and pray for them.

b)  Children were not valued in ancient society.  A lot of kids died before they reached adulthood so parents found it difficult to bond with them when they were only going to lose them in the end.  The disciples might have seen Jesus wasting his time on kids who were going to die anyways.  Children were also bought and sold when the parents were in debt or for other reasons.  They were seen as property–disposable and again, not valued and worth Jesus’ time.  People had kids so they could have help around the farm.  They were seen as workers and not as precious beings as we see them today.

c)  Children can be overlooked because of their size in this world.  Also, people may leave kids’ salvation up to the parents.  You are seen as interfering on parental rights if you talk to kids about Jesus.  Likewise, adults assume the parents are talking to kids about Jesus when they may not be.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Give God the glory for all you have and do while they are there.  Ask them if they know who Jesus is.  Casually mention Jesus and church to them.  Pray beforehand and allow God to guide you.  Reflect God to them.  It doesn’t have to be in your face.  Most kids are pretty open and will take your talk as such.

Conclusions:  I have thoroughly enjoyed this study of marriage and divorce.  I think it’s a topic that is not discussed enough in Christian circles because of the negative connotations of marriage and the political correctness that silences dissenters against the mainstream, which is so unfortunate especially in God’s eyes.  What was intended to be beautiful has been twisted and it must be heart-wrenching for God to see.

I think it’s important for every Christian to know the Truth God intends and I pray the more we all know the Truth the more we can live out His truths and turn the tide society has taken.

End Notes:  The term “eunuch” was used in ancient times figuratively to mean those who chose to abstain from marriage.  Paul repeatedly emphasizes that one should be at peace with this decision and it is not for all.

Note that the parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed.  So must we.  We must not let others push aside our kids for any reason.  Our primary duty as Christian parents is to first and foremost teach our children about God and Jesus.  Everything else is secondary.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 3: Matthew 19:1-9

Summary of passage:  Jesus now has gone to Judea from Galilee to the other side of the Jordan.  Large crowds followed him and he healed them.  The Pharisees once again are trying to trick Jesus by asking when is divorce legal.  Jesus said that when a man and woman marries they become one and no man should separate them.  So why did Moses allows divorce the Pharisees ask Jesus.

Jesus said only because man’s hearts are hard and that is why divorce is allowed only in the case of marital unfaithfulness but God never meant for there to be divorce.

Questions:

6a)  “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.  But it was not this way from the beginning.  I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Man is the one who separates what God has joined.  If you re-marry, you are committing adultery against your first spouse.  And if you marry someone who has been divorced before, you are committing adultery.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  You should not separate from one another if you are married.  If you do separate, you cannot remarry again.  You can only reconcile with your spouse.  If you marry an unbeliever, you are called to stay with them because you sanctify your spouse and children.  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him or her.  Because God’s law only applies to believers, not unbelievers, and the believer is not bound by the unbeliever’s decision.

7a)  God hates divorce.

b)  Because Moses had made divorce legal in Israel and man had begun to twist the reasons for divorce.  God makes it clear that a man and woman are to remain together faithfully.  That is his original intent and his desire.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Wives and husbands are meant to work in unity together, to love another, to submit to one another, to be the one flesh with common goals and purposes God designed us to be.  Marriage is supposed to be all about love, not hate or discord, which is what divorce is.  God hates divorce because it was never meant to be just as sin wasn’t.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That God gave us such a blessing when he gave us a spouse to walk this troubled world through together that we should not take that for granted nor take it lightly.  We should love our spouse as much as Christ loved us: enough to die for.

e)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’d use 1 Corinthians 7:17:  “Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him.”  Because of Jesus, we are cleansed of all of our sins.  There is no need to go and divorce your second spouse because of God’s commandments.  That would be committing even more sin.  First, repent.  Second, ask forgiveness.  Third, accept Jesus’ forgiveness.  Fourth, move on with your life.  You were called to be married again for whatever reason.  Stay there and follow God in your life.  Do not dwell on your sin.  But move forward in the place God has put you.

Conclusions:  I love the message of “There’s always hope” because with God and Jesus there always is.  Even if you are divorced and re-married, you are forgiven.  God forgets the past where we sometimes do not.  Move on with your life and do not dwell on past transgressions.  For God has a life planned for you and you may miss it if you aren’t looking for it.

These were tough passages to digest because divorce is so rampant and so accepted in our society today and for any reason whatsoever.  We either were a product of divorce (that’s me:  my parents were divorced).  We either have been divorced ourselves.  Or we know someone in our family or friends who have been divorced.  Odds are we have experienced at least one of these scenarios:  probably more than one.

It’s important as Christians to know and understand where God stands in this respect and that it’s not okay to just divorce someone because of “irreconcilable differences.”

Divorce has got to be one of the devil’s favorite tools.  It divides families.  It causes strife.  It causes heartache beyond belief.  We, as Christians and as a society, must come together to fight against this sin.  Especially since it affects our most precious commodity so deeply:  our children.

Children have enough to overcome to walk with God in today’s world.  Let’s not as adults make their lives any harder.  And divorce at a young age is a HUGE hurdle to overcome.  And many parents selfishly don’t see that so caught up are they in their pain and agony.  The children are the casualties, which should not be accepted as it is in society today.

Great lesson and something we should all be praying for God to strengthen his presence in marriages.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 20, Day 2: Matthew 19:1-9

Summary of passage:  Jesus now has gone to Judea from Galilee to the other side of the Jordan.  Large crowds followed him and he healed them.  The Pharisees once again are trying to trick Jesus by asking when is divorce legal.  Jesus said that when a man and woman marries they become one and no man should separate them.  So why did Moses allows divorce the Pharisees ask Jesus.

Jesus said only because man’s hearts are hard and that is why divorce is allowed only in the case of marital unfaithfulness but God never meant for there to be divorce.

Questions:

4)  Jesus said that since we are created by God in His image and women are created from man that we were meant to be one flesh that no one could separate–not God or man.  But man due to his hard heart (sin) caused the separation between man and woman and thus divorce entered society.

5a)  Deuteronomy said once a man divorces his wife, he cannot take her again.  This reinforces how much God hated divorce and how permanent it was.  Once done, there could be no reconciliation between the parties. The husband must have a legal certificate of divorce declared; he just couldn’t leave her.  Some scholars think this passage also goes both ways –that  woman could divorce her husband as well.

b)  Because their hearts were hard (sinful)

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a bit extrapolation here but because of sin and hard hearts we all have problems in our relationships where we are either prideful or blinded or unsympathetic or selfish or any other sin that causes separation where there should be unity.  I hold on to hurts much longer than I should so this causes problems in my family.

Conclusions:  This is very clear on when you can divorce and when you can’t.  Also, it’s very clear how God never intended for divorce so you should try to work out your problems before even considering it.

End Notes:  The root word for divorce in Hebrew meant “hewing or cutting off” so it was akin to cutting off a body part.

The Hebrew root word for “indecent or uncleanness” carried the meaning of sexually immoral, meaning literally “nakedness”.  Once again, we see how man has interpreted this law and by Jesus’ time men could divorce women for anything displeasing to him and were in fact encouraged to do so.

In ancient times, Jews viewed marriage as a sacred duty.  If they were not married by the age of 20 (unless they were studying the law), then they would be seen as breaking God’s commandment of “be fruitful and multiply” in Genesis 1:28.  Yet, men had such a low view of women that most entered into a loveless marriage–viewing it as their duty only and nothing more.

At this time, the interpretation of the law given in Deuteronomy had two views:  one that “uncleanness” meant sexual immorality only and another that “uncleanness” meant for any reason.  The Pharisees therefore hoped to trap Jesus by getting him to side one way or the other and thus become either unpopular or unreligious.

Jesus, as always, thwarts the Pharisees by going back to scripture.  God permits divorce, not commands it, because of man’s hard heart and sin.  And if you are separate or divorce for other reasons, then you are committing adultery because you are still married in the eyes of God.  Just because man allows it, doesn’t mean God does.

Just to be clear:  there are 2 reasons only for divorce:  1) if one of the spouses is unfaithful 2) if a spouse is abandoned by an unbelieving spouse (added by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:15).  The rest is all from man.

More Conclusions:  I always hate the most popular reason given for divorce these days: “irreconcilable differences” for that could be anything and is exactly what Jesus railed against.  Man cannot twist God’s laws; yet, he does anyways, continues to do so, and doesn’t seem to care.

Great lesson for those of us who have a strong marriage:  we need to know how to counsel those who don’t since the odds are we probably know someone who is considering divorce or who has had one.

Great lesson for those considering divorce as well.  It is not God’s will.  So keep persevering to the end and have faith God will work it out.

Final Note:  We are still in 29 AD and Jesus is leaving Galilee, his homeland, for the last time. Jesus will never again return.

I found this website HERE that traces Jesus’ movements with a timeline and verses from the Bible.  Kind of neat to see how much Jesus does in his short time here on Earth.

This site HERE is really cool!!!  It’s the same timeline as above but with pictures of what the places look like today.  This site will take some time to explore but really cool to try and visualize what the places would have looked like when Jesus walked there.