Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“Matthew 19” pp. 478-497.
In Matthew 19:1-20:34 Morris identifies Jesus’ move from Galilee to Jerusalem, teaching as he goes (Morris 1992, 478). In 19:1-12 Jesus speaks with some Pharisees about divorce. Morris observes that “Jesus invites his hearers to reflect on what the law actually means and to recognize the sanctity of marriage” (Morris 1992, 479). The context shows large crowds following Jesus and being healed (Morris 1992, 479). Morris holds that the Law only allowed men to divorce, though sometimes the court would direct a man to divorce his wife due to her complaint (Morris 1992, 480). There was wide disagreement about a situation which might provoke divorce.
Jesus’ move to creation for proof invokes a very strong argument. In Jewish thought the older precedent was normally considered strongest (Morris 1992, 481). The marriage union was anything but casual. The nature of the marital relationship of one man and one woman united as one flesh was therefore deserving of respect and protection (Morris 1992, 482). The marriage may only be broken due to some form of infidelity, caused by a hard heart (Morris 1992, 483). The demands of the marriage covenant are high. Jesus acknowledges that some people should not marry (Morris 1992, 485).
In a very brief narrative (19:13-15) Jesus shows his concern to bless children. Morris observes that the word for “children” does not necessarily imply infants. Regardless of the age, Jesus has a concern for children which results in his blessing them (Morris 1992, 487).
In 19:16-30 Matthew tells of the rich young man who needed to give all and follow Jesus. Matthew then gives a warning of the hazards of wealth (Morris 1992, 488). Morris observes differences in the way the Synoptic Gospels identify this man and his actions, while still making it clear they discuss the same incident (Morris 1992, 488). Jesus points out to the man that only God is good (Morris 1992, 490). The commands Jesus asks the man about all have to do with relationships with the neighbor, not with God (Morris 1992, 490). Jesus points the young man to the wholehearted commitment which may require one to give all he depends on (Morris 1992, 491). “If his attitude to the true God had been such that he could have dispensed with his riches, then he would have had treasure in heaven, whether he gave them all away or not” (Morris 1992, 492). Yet he was not willing, so went away. Jesus goes on to say that it is impossible to enter God’s kingdom through human means (Morris 1992, 493). God is able to bring salvation to anybody, but the rich tend to rely on their own ability (Morris 1992, 494). Jesus emphasizes that his salvation and kingdom are eternal. Trusting him in the present has implications forever (Morris 1992, 496).