Below are my thoughts from the daily Bible reading of the West Side Church of Christ. Before reading I invite you to pray and asked God to speak to you as you read his word. Also above in the tabs is a link to the Bible reading plan.
What Does this Passage Say?
- We find three separate stories in our reading today that on the surface almost feel like they have nothing in common, but on closer examination there is brilliance in their grouping. The authors of the four gospels often do not tell Jesus story in chronological order. In many regards they group stories and teachings together that follow a similar theme. That is what we have here in chapter nineteen.
- Jesus is now back in Judea, closer to the home base of many Pharisees, and closer to Jerusalem. He is still drawing larger crowds and some in the crowds are the Pharisees themselves. They are still trying to trap Jesus. They know that God values marriage, but that God allowed divorce through Moses for various reasons. They want to see what Jesus will say. Jesus takes the permissions of the Law of Moses and comes down a little stricter. Maybe Jesus was thinking it is time to get back to their original intention when God ordained the institution of marriage. Here as with many things, the people of Israel are concerned about the letter of the Law and not the heart of the Law.
- Immediately after this discussion of divorce we read about little children coming to Jesus. His disciples shoo them away. Jesus is not too busy for these children. Jesus doesn’t have any harsh teaching for these children. Jesus doesn’t rebuke these children. Jesus simply blesses these children and proclaims that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
- We finish our reading with a story about a rich young man. This man has lived a righteous life. He comes to Jesus wanting to know what he can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus suggests some things and the man confirms he has kept them all. Then Jesus advises that he sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor and follow Him. The rich man is not willing. Jesus points out that keeping the letter of the Law is not enough … that salvation is a heart issue … and then alludes to the grace issue that will be realized in the cross.
What is this passage teaching?
- So what three things does each of these stories have in common? The heart of the Law. In the first and last episodes we see grown men concerned with the letter of the law. In the middle story we find children, who are in many regards naive to sin finding praise from Jesus. This is the type of faith Jesus wants us to have; not a faith that is reduced to keeping a bunch of rules and regulation, but a faith that believes and heart that loves.
How can I apply this passage to my life?
- Think about your own life. Do you put your stock of salvation in the things you do? Or is your faith more childlike? What things could you do to make the proper shift from a salvation based off of keeping a bunch of rules to a salvation trusting the grace of God? Begin examining your life and investigating where you have work to do.