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Matthew 19:16-24 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

Matthew 19:16-24 – Difficulty of Rich Entering the Kingdom

|| Mark 10:17-25; Luke 18:18-25

MT19:16 And, look! a [young] person[1] approached Jesus, asking, “Teacher, what good shall I do[2] so that I might have everlasting life?”[3] MT19:17 Jesus told him, “Why do you ask me about some ‘good’?[4] [Only] One is ‘good’.[5] But if you wish to enter Life,[6] observe the commandments.”[7] MT19:18 This person answered, “Which [commandments]?” Jesus responded: “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false testimony,’ MT19:19 ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” [Exodus 20:13-16] MT19:20 The young man told Jesus, “I have guarded myself regarding all of these.[8] What more am I lacking?”[9] MT19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish perfection[10] leave and sell your belongings[11] and give to the poor[12] – then you will have treasure in heaven – and [then] come be my follower.”[13] MT19:22 But having heard this statement the young man departed very depressed,[14] for he had many possessions.[15] MT19:23 Now Jesus told his disciples, “I tell you this truth: Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty.[16] MT19:24 In addition I tell you this: It is easier for a camel to enter through a needle’s eye[17] than for rich people to enter the Realm of Heaven.”

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[1] A [young] person: Revealed in verse 20.

[2] Teacher, what good shall I do: Mark 10:17 adds, “… a certain man ran up and fell upon his knees before him and put the question to him: ‘Good Teacher, what must I do…’” He addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher.” Luke 18:18 adds, “… a certain (religious) ruler.” Therefore, a young rabbi. The Received Text (KJV) has, “Good Teacher.”

[3] Everlasting life: The Greek is ZOEN AIONION. Or, KJV: eternal life; RHM: life age-abiding; TCNT: immortal life; BECK: everlasting life. See word studies else where by researching AION or everlasting life.

[4] Why do you ask me about some ‘good’: This response has resulted in much commentary. If Jesus were “God” one wonders why he would resist a title with the word “good” in it. The Lesson of Eden is that only Yehowah can determine what is ‘good’ and this is not the responsibility of Messiah. Research the word good or AGATHOS (from which the name Agatha comes). Note that the Nazarene’s response is to point to the Ten Commandments and the Law. He does not originate his own philosophy.

[5] [Only] One is ‘good’: Or, KJV: none is good but one, that is, God; ASV: One there is who is good; KNX: God is good, and he only; WMS: there is only one who is perfectly good; ABUV: One is the Good. The subject is absolute or ultimate Good. No one would argue that Jesus was no a “good man.” Note John 7:12. Compare also how others are described as “good.” (2 Samuel 18:27; Proverbs 14:14) Jesus recognizes there are good people (Matthew 12:35; Luke 6:45; Romans 5:7). Surely Jesus refers to his Father, Yehowah.

[6] To enter Life: It may be argued that “Life” here is something like John 5:24 and 1 John 3:14. Thus “Life” means the new Life within the Realm of Heaven – the Church. Others will limit it to that future Life though both may be include.

[7] Observe the commandments: It is possible Jesus speaks to a young Jewish rabbi. Note the commandments Jesus lists. It will startle some what he has omitted in a list of his own choosing: the Name and the Sabbath. Jesus goes on to quote Exodus 20:13-16 then skipping back to Exodus 20:12. He also quotes what he calls late the Second Greatest Commandment: Leviticus 19:18.

[8] I have guarded myself regarding all of these: The KJV version adds: “… from my youth up.” Or, ASV: all these things have I observed; WEY: carefully obeyed.

[9] What more am I lacking: Or, NEB: where do I still fall short; BER: how do I still fall behind; WEY: what more is required. One wonders if there is some self-righteous hypocrisy here. However, Paul himself claims such rigorous righteousness or obedience to the law (Philippians 3:6).

[10] If you wish perfection: Or, KNX: if thou hast a mind to be perfect; NEB: if you wish to go the whole way; NASB: to be complete. To the Nazarene spiritual perfection will involve charity. See notes on Matthew 5:48. – Perfect: This is the Greek word TELEIOI from TELOS (= “end”) and may be rendered “complete, mature, fulfilled.”

[11] Leave and sell your belongings: Or, RHM: withdraw! sell thy substance; go and sell your possessions. Note how in Luke 12:32, 33 Jesus tells his “little flock” the same thing. Note their response in Acts 2:44, 45; Acts 4:34-37.

[12] Give to the poor: The man could divest himself of his possessions in any manner of ways: giving it to his family, hiding investments. Jesus gives no hint that he expects the man to contribute to him though never was there a poorer man on earth (2 Corinthians 8:9). The young rabbi must say goodbye to all his belongings – strip himself from material attachment and desire.

[13] And [then] come be my follower: Note he must do this before becoming a follower or disciple of Jesus. It is possible “follower” means a member of the Nazarene’s private entourage of apostles.

[14] The young man departed very depressed: Or, KJV: he went away sorrowful; NASB: he went away grieved; KNX: sad of heart; RIEU: in gloom; WMS: in deep distress; PME: crestfallen. We watch our Lord’s eyes as he follows the young man as he leaves and we note a slight expression of pity. We would like to know the future of this young rabbi. Did he follow later, become an angry opposer screaming for crucifixion, or merely indifferent. We wonder at his death what thoughts he must have had.

[15] Many possessions: Or, NASB: owned much property; NEB: a man of great wealth; BECK: very rich.

[16] Rich people will only enter the Realm of Heaven with great difficulty: Perhaps of all the teachings of the Nazarene this is the one most disliked by western capitalist society. While the world struggles to be rich Jesus warns of the great difficulty in such conflicting lifestyles and ideals. Compare the notes on Matthew 5:42 and Matthew 6:25. Or, KJV: a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven; ASV: it is hard for a rich man; MON: a rich man will find it difficult. Though the celestial realm of God is the final goal, Jesus makes it clear that it will be very hard for a rich person to become a Christian and gain membership in the Realm of Profession. Note Paul’s counsel to the rich at 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Throughout the Gospel Age there have been wealthy Christians who gave all to help others, while others used their riches to forward the Gospel message. Research the words rich and riches. In Bible terms “rich” means having a surplus (Mark 12:44; 2 Corinthians 8:14).

[17] Camel to enter through a needle’s eye: The Lamsa translation of the Aramaic has this ‘a rope through the needle’s eye.’ Some understand it is the difficulty a camel has in crawling through a very narrow gate to enter a city. It must get on its knees and move forward with difficulty. The Nazarene does not say it is impossible nor does he rule it out altogether. He just says it will be difficult for a rich person to give attention to discipleship while torn over riches. The conflict between love and greed is the struggle between self and others.

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-like

Matthew 15:1-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tradition and the Heart

CHAPTER FIFTEEN:
TRADITION AND THE HEART, GIVING CRUMBS TO PUPPIES,
FEEDING 4000

[“The Mouth and the Heart”]
(Key Word: Traditions)

Matthew 15:1-20 – Tradition and the Heart

|| Mark 7:1-23

MT15:1 Now scribes[1] and Pharisees from Jerusalem[2] approached Jesus, saying, “Why do your disciples[3] transgress the traditions of the Ancients?[4] MT15:2 For they do not wash their hands[5] when eating bread.” MT15:3 Jesus responded to them, asking, MT15:4 “For The God said, ‘Honor your father and mother.’[6] [Exodus 20:12] And also, ‘Let the person who says a bad word against[7] father or mother be put to death.’ [Leviticus 20:9] MT15:5 But you teach, ‘Whatever I have to help[8] my father or mother is a Temple-offering consecrated to God’[9] – MT15:6 such a person does not honor[10] father at all. You have invalidated the Word[11] of The God by your own tradition. MT15:7 Hypocrites, Isaiah gave a good prophecy[12] about you when he said, MT15:8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips but their heart is distant. MT15:9 Their worship is worthless[13] because they teach human commandments as doctrine.’” [Isaiah 29:13] MT15:10 Now Jesus called the crowd to gather close, telling them, “Listen carefully and understand:[14] MT15:11 Not what enters the mouth defiles a person,[15] but what pours out of the mouth defiles a person.” MT15:12 Now the disciples approached Jesus, telling him, “Do you know you offended the Pharisees[16] by what they heard you say?” MT15:13 Jesus answered them, “Every plant[17] not planted by my Father will be pulled out by the roots. MT15:14 Leave them alone.[18] They are blind guides.[19] So, if someone blind guides another blind person, they will both fall into a pit.” MT15:15 Peter responded to Jesus, “Make the parable clear to us.” MT15:16 Jesus told them, “Are you still without understanding?[20] MT15:17 Are you unaware that everything entering the mouth passes through the belly[21] and is expelled into a sewer?[22] MT15:18 But the words pouring out of the mouth originate from the heart.[23] Those are the things which defile a person. MT15:19 For it is from the heart these originate:[24] evil dialogue,[25] murders, adulteries,[26] fornications,[27] thieveries,[28] perjuries and slander,[29] abusive speech.[30] MT15:20 These are the things defiling a person. Eating with unwashed hands does not defile a person.”

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[1] Scribes: BECK: Bible scholars.

[2] From Jerusalem: Over 100 miles.

[3] Your disciples: They do not accuse Jesus. Had these Jews witnessed some habit of the disciples not to ceremonial wash their hands before eating? Or, is this a rumor?

[4] Transgress the traditions of the Ancients: Or, GDSP: break the rules handed down by our ancestors; KJV: elders.

[5] Wash their hands: Or, AMP: for they do not practice [ceremonially] washing. Compare 2 Kings 3:11. “The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands up to the elbow.” (Mark 7:2-5) The Babylonian Talmud (Sotah 4b) places eating with unwashed hands equal to intercourse with a prostitute.

[6] Honor your father and mother: From the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12; 21:17). Paul also quotes the “first commandment with a promise.” (Ephesians 6:2) The English word “honor” is from the Greek TIMA from which the name Timothy comes.

[7] Says a bad word against: Or, KJV: curseth; ASV: speaketh evil of; NWT: reviles. Jesus quotes Leviticus 20:9. Compare Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 27:16.

[8] Whatever I have to help: ASV: that wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me; RIEU: all the support you might have; RSV: what you would have gained from me; GDSP: anything of mine that might have been of use to you.

[9] Is a Temple-offering consecrated to God: ASV: is given to God; RIEU: temple-offering. The New Jerusalem Bible footnote explains: “Property thus made over by vow assumes a sacred character.… Such a vow in fact was only a legal fiction.… Though the rabbis acknowledged its impiety they sustained its validity.”

[10] Does not honor: Jesus infers this “honor” is of a material kind not a mere matter of respect. The children who do not care for elderly parents dishonor them and violate the commandment. Compare 1 Timothy 5:4, 8. The Greek word TIME means honor, esteem, value, or preciousness. The verb TIMAO also means “set a price on” (Matthew 27:9); the noun TIME caries the sense of price or value (Matthew 27:6; Acts 4:34); and the adjective TIMIOS means esteemed, dear, or valuable (Acts 5:34; 20:24; 1 Corinthians 3:12).

[11] You have invalidated the Word: Or, MOF: you have repealed the law of God; GDSP: you have nullified what God has said; PME: empties the commandment.

[12] Isaiah gave a good prophecy: The quote is of Isaiah 29:13. The context in Isaiah is also referenced by Romans 11:9; Colossians 2:22; 1 Corinthians 1:19. Or, KJV: well did Esaias prophesy; MOF: it was indeed of you that Isaiah prophesied; PME: Isaiah described you beautifully; RIEU: how right Isaiah was.

[13] Their worship is worthless: Or, WMS: their worship of me is an empty show.

[14] Listen carefully and understand: Or, KNX: listen to this, and grasp what it means.

[15] Defiles a person: Or, PME: makes him common or unclean.

[16] You offended the Pharisees: Or, ME: are deeply offended; GDSP: were shocked to hear you. The disciples seem concerned by Jesus did not come to please everyone. The Greek word here is ESCANDALISTHESAN: they thought what he said scandalous.

[17] Every plant: He infers the scribes and Pharisees.

[18] Leave them alone: Or, KNX: let them say what they will.

[19] Blind guides: Or, KJV: blind leaders. Knowing what he has already said was offensive, the Nazarene comes back with an even more direct inference.

[20] Are you still without understanding: Or, RHM: without discernment; GDSP: have even you no understanding; BAS: are you, like them, still without wisdom; RIEU: You too? Still so dull? Jesus is not caring one twit whose toes he steps on: either the clergy or his own disciples. Raised to respect the clergy, it is possible the disciples do not yet discern the gulf which exists between Jesus and the religious hierarchy.

[21] Passes through the belly: Or, WEY: stomach; NWT: intestines.

[22] Expelled into a sewer: WEY: afterwards ejected from the body; NWT: discharged into the sewer.

[23] Originate from the heart: NEB: has its origins in the heart; PME: comes from his heart and mind. Compare James 1:14, 15.

[24] These originate: Mark 7:20, 21 adds several characteristics: “injurious reasonings issue forth: fornications, thieveries, murders, adulteries, covetings, acts of wickedness, deceit, loose conduct, an envious eye, blasphemy, haughtiness, unreasonableness.” (NWT)

[25] Evil dialogue: The Greek is DIALOGISMOI PONEROI. Or, KJV: evil thoughts; KNX: wicked designs.

[26] Adulteries: Or, BAS: broken faith between the married.

[27] Fornications: The Greek is PORNEIAI and is drawn from “prostitution.” Or, MOF: sexual vice; GDSP: immorality; BAS: unclean desires of the flesh.

[28] Thieveries: MOF: stealing.

[29] Perjuries and slander: Or, KJV: false witness; NWT: false testimonies.

[30] Abusive speech: The Greek is BLASPHEMIAI. Or, KJV: blasphemies; ASV: railings; RHM: profane speaking; WEY: slander.

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Preceding

Matthew 14:35-36 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: If They Might Just Touch Him

Matthew 15 An argument with the Scribes – Teachers and traditions

Matthew 15 Calvin’s view

Matthew 15 Spurgeon’s view

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Related

  1. Matthew 15, defilement from within, the faith of the Caananite woman, Jesus feeds the four thousand.
  2. When What to Eat is More Important Than What to Say
  3. Matthew 15丨C. H. Spurgeon
  4. “Why do your disciples play fast and loose with the rules?” ~Religious scholars to Jesus
  5. unclean
  6. Out of The Mouth
  7. “Frauds!” ~Jesus
  8. Doctrine vs. Tradition
  9. Hypocrisy — Its Expression through Insincere Motives
  10. Hypocrisy — What happens when my deeds do not match my words?
  11. False Doctrine — Is it of human origin and not from Jesus the Messiah?

About transgression, law and punishments

Psalm 32:1,2 “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered…”

Have you ever done something very wrong and shameful; and wished that you were let off without punishment and without being exposed?

If you think of what all you have done, right from childhood till now; I am sure there will be something for which you are ashamed off and something which you don’t want to pay for. Most of us don’t have to go so far back into their childhood, to think of this. It may be quite recent. But we know how blessed it is to be forgiven and covered. King David knew what it is to be forgiven and covered. Though his actions were not kept secret, yet he was covered from being put to death as per God’s law.

Some have asked, why God sent his son so late into this world. Why did not Christ come earlier?

Well, God purposely waiting for the right time:

Galatians 4: 4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”

English: Moses receives the law

Moses receives the law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God had to first let the people know, what it is to face the consequences of their wrong action. So God first gave them the Law through Moses. The breaking of the Law brought in swift punishments. Eye for eye and life for life it was and there was no escape:

Exodus 21: 23-25 “But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burns for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

Those caught in adultery were to be put to death:

Deuteronomy 22: 22 “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.”

Those who committed murder had to be immediately killed:

Leviticus 24:17 “And he that kills any man shall surely be put to death.”

The thief who was caught had to restore four to five times of the amount he had stolen:

Exodus 22: 1 “”Whoever steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.”

The people do not go by the Law and often demand a lot more; besides handing in any number of blows and insults:

Proverbs 6: 31 “Yet if he is caught, he must pay seven-fold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house.”

Under the Law of Moses, a person who lied in court would receive the punishment the person on trial would have received if the lie was believed. (Deuteronomy 19:16–19)

We don’t even have the time to mention all the punishments that one has to face for breaking various other laws. In short, the Law was our teacher, to make us realize the grace we received through the coming of God’s son Jesus:

Galatians 3: 24 “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Though we gentiles were not under the law of Moses, yet we all know the consequences of facing punishments from the government and the court of Law.
There is no forgiveness or letting up, once we are caught, without paying hefty fines or spending years in Jail or even getting death penalty.
Imagine how many times we have to be killed or jailed for all our wrong actions from our childhood up until now?

How blessed indeed we are, that the God who knows all our actions, will forgive us and protect us from such a great penalty. All this He did, by sending His Own Son, Jesus, to take our punishment and shame. How thankful we must for this great blessing and repent truly from our mistakes.

Let us pray:

Thank you, Great and Merciful Father in Heaven; for this great blessing of forgiveness. Please help me not to take advantage of your goodness; but rather repent fully and bring glory to your name. I pray in Jesus’s lovely name, Amen!

These Daily Bible comments by Bro. D.S.P. Varma, Bangalore, India. It is part of a forthcoming book and therefore, it is not to be compiled or translated or published by anyone, without written permission from the author.
For any inquiries or Bible questions, Call: 9731566541 or Mail to: varmjack@gmail.com

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Preceding articles:

Object of first woe

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Matthew 5:31-32 – 3. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

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Additional reading

  1. Additional comments to the 3rd Letter to the Romans
  2. Additional comments to the Letter to the Romans 4
  3. No time for immorality
  4. Brunei introducing a raft of tough sharia punishments
  5. Necessity of a revelation of creation 1 Works of God and works of man

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Further related

  1. Leviticus 24 – Eye for an Eye
  2. Proverbs 25:21-22 How To Treat Your Enemy
  3. The Beautitudes in the Law of Moses
  4. “An ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ Is that going to get us anywhere?” ~~Jesus
  5. What is Forgiveness? Why some people are more forgiving than others?
  6. This is your Brain. This is your Brain on Porn
  7. probation
  8. The first to drop the stone
  9. Adultery – The Sin of the Eyes and the Flesh

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