March 5 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 46
What a God of grace. Not a God of failure.
READ: Matthew 19
I hope you’ve been keeping track! All of the chapters this week along with Matthew 18 and even 20 show God’s grace shining brightly. Becky pointed out Monday, in Luke 16:8-9, which called out the manager as being dishonest and shrewd yet he was still patted on the back. She said and God knows we’re sinners; He knows we can be shrewd and dishonest, but when we use our riches for good, He will trust us with more. Time after time, God overrules our failure then still gives us credit for it. How awe-inspiring is this?
We know from Malachi 2:16 that God hates divorce. It is not His purpose for any person to break the marriage unity. I’m assuming the Pharisees did not know this part, but knowing the ‘Law’, these tricky little Pharisees came to test Jesus with the subject. I get a kick out of how Jesus, always so clever, opposes their authority and every time. Divorce, especially during this time, was such a serious matter. Do you recall in Matthew 14:4 that John the Baptist was beheaded for speaking out against this? In verses 1-12, we read that Jesus does not speak directly about divorce. Alternatively, he spoke about God’s purpose for people who decide to get married. That being they are no longer two but one (vs. 6). In verse 7, they asked about what Moses had ordered. In verse 8, Jesus, as we see, did not agree with the word ‘order’ and stated that Moses had ‘allowed’ divorce. Which at that time, it was only because people did not know how really to love each other (due to hard hearts). Funny to see what the disciples gathered from all of this; they thought that being in a state of marriage just seemed to be difficult. I can’t comment one way or another (wink).
I won’t go into verses 13-15 too much, since Becky covered it yesterday and we’ll see it again in tomorrow’s reading. But I don’t think it is by accident that we see these verses immediately after the verses about marriage and divorce. Jesus knows that when parents have a good relationship with their children, there is that simple trust; they feel safe and grow healthy. Jesus never wants to see his children suffer.
In verse 16, we see the rich man’s question contains an assumption–that a person could receive eternal life by doing certain good things. In verse 20, he still felt that he had to do something more for God to accept him. Jesus realized this and explained to him that he was a sinner who fell short of God’s standards of holiness. There were two things that stood in this man’s way; he didn’t believe Jesus was the Son of God (just a good teacher) and money was this rich man’s god. In verse 22, this man went away, sad. Sad? Jesus didn’t even ask him to give up anything. Jesus promised the rich man that if he gave his money away to the poor, he would have treasure in heaven. Even if the rich man would have had to give up anything, it would have only been temporarily. It comes down to our attitudes that we have for possessions. It really just requires that we ‘relinquish our possessions in our hearts’. Look at a promise of “following” Him–in verse 29, Jesus tells us that everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children for my sake will receive a hundred times as much AND will inherit eternal life. Another win-win for anyone who picks up their cross and “follows” Jesus. The only thing that is sad is that often, as it was for this rich man, this demand is too great.
You are the only One good thing. I am rich in so many ways. Examine my heart, reveal to me that they indeed are the riches You desire.
Father, You are so giving, so full of grace, and so quick to answer lately. Thank You for always overruling my failures and turning them into blessings. I serve such an amazing God, You…Amen!