READ: Matthew 19:3-30
- Matthew includes three stories that have a kind of confrontational quality. The first, suggested by a question from the Pharisees, seeks to put Jesus on the spot about re-marriage. It appears the Pharisees are trying to put Jesus against Moses (v3 indicates it’s a test). Will Jesus side with Moses or their interpretation? His teaching leads the disciples to make an observation, “It’s better not to marry.” In other words, this is too hard a teaching.
- Then there is the short, almost throw-away story of the children. But, it really is an important part of the context because it reveals the attitude of the disciples. They want the children out of there. In fact, they strongly rebuff the people. Then, Jesus reminds them that the Kingdom belongs to the children. It’s important to remember, children have no status. They are almost beyond “last” in the culture.
- The final story is about a rich man whom Jesus instructs to give away all his goods. Verse 22 points out that the request was too much for the man, so he left. That pushed the disciples to once again engage Jesus. Only this time, it was Peter pointing out just how much the disciples had just given up. But Peter went even further than highlighting their sacrifice, he asked the question—“What do we get?” The attitude mirrors the attitude of the workers, revealed in 20:10-11.
- What common thread seems to run through these three stories?
- In what ways do the stories reveal a spirit of entitlement or elitism?
- Why do you think we humans are so in touch with what we deserve (or what’s ‘ours’)?
PRAY: Pray that you can recognize your selfish biases when they crop up. Ask God to keep you from feeling entitled. Pray for a clear understanding of what Jesus is teaching.