Mitch, Curtis & Edward Sri. The Gospel of Matthew. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
“On the Way to Jerusalem Part 1 (Matthew 19:1-30)” pp. 237-251.
In Matthew chapter 19 Jesus begins his move to Jerusalem. Matthew records various encounters which lead to teaching opportunities (Mitch 2010, 237). The story line, which came to a stop in 17:27 as Jesus entered into a discourse, begins again here (Mitch 2010, 238).
In response to the question of the legality of divorce Mitch sees Jesus’ answer being weighed against Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (Mitch 2010, 239). Jesus directs the question to the fundamental nature of marriage rather than to speculation about whether a marriage may be dissolved (Mitch 2010, 239). The exception clause is seen by Mitch to indicate that an unlawful marriage resulting in immorality, such as a marriage to a close relative, may be dissolved (Mitch 2010, 240). The teaching of permanence of marriage is countercultural in this day as it was to Jesus’ disciples (Mitch 2010, 241). Celibacy and marriage are both seen as positives (Mitch 2010, 241). Matthew follows up immediately by showing Jesus’ blessing of children, a potent reminder of one purpose of marriage (Mitch 2010, 243). Mitch links the blessing of the children and the avoidance of hindrance to baptismal theology (Mitch 2010, 245).
In verses 16-22 Jesus teaches that if there is any good at all it is following him, the only good teacher (Mitch 2010, 245). The young man understands that despite all his efforts he lacks something (Mitch 2010, 247). Jesus calls him to release his hold on all earthly things. Jesus goes on to teach his disciples of the danger of wealth, calling them to trust him (Mitch 2010, 248). This gathers the believers into reign with the Messiah (Mitch 2010, 250).