Matthew 19

This devotional is written by David Gyasi.

Matthew 19

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’

4 ‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” 5 and said, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh”? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’

7 ‘Why then,’ they asked, ‘did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?’

8 Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.’

10 The disciples said to him, ‘If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.’

11 Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others – and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.’

The little children and Jesus
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.

14 Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

The rich and the kingdom of God
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’

17 ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’

18 ‘Which ones?’ he enquired.

Jesus replied, ‘“You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honour your father and mother,” and “love your neighbour as yourself.”’

20 ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’

21 Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’

26 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’

27 Peter answered him, ‘We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?’

28 Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.


If like me in 2022 it can be difficult to read scriptures that only references heterosexual relationships without an inner voice saying "What about? ...". Please know that you are not alone and I have not strategically left that bit out for someone more scholarly to address this - 'Matt, John??'. Truth be told I had had the latter part of the chapter leap out at me and felt a need to share before I had been sent the whole chapter in light of EWM. I think there is a lot to unpack in the early verses too and perhaps will return to them one day. For now please see my reflection focusing mainly from Verse 21.

''Space Invaders"

Matthew 19 vs 21 - 23 NIV:

 21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

There are two spaces being occupied here. Let's label the first, that of the rich man, 'self space' and the second, that of Jesus, 'Kingdom space'. Jesus invites the rich man into the 'Kingdom space' but he decides to stay in the one he knows, the 'self space'. In vs 22 the passage describes the young man as being full of sorrow as he is unable to walk away from what is familiar. I honestly believe Jesus' heart is the more sorrowful as he knows and understands that the rewards of the 'Kingdom' far outweigh that of the 'self'.

This passage makes me think about one who understands that things such as Equality, Justice & Climate positivity occupy a space we need to actively turn toward. Whilst Systemic Oppression/Racism, Global Pollution & LGBTQI+ discrimination are in a space we need to actively turn away from. The heart of a person who understands this may be filled with frustration, heartache, anger, sadness as well as sorrow. Then again so may the heart of a person who doesn't! What to do with this conundrum?

In the 2021 T20 Cricket World Cup match between South Africa (SA) & the West Indies (WI). SA cricketer Quinton de Kock withdrew himself from the match after refusing to take a knee at the start of the game. This gesture of taking a knee has been widely adopted by many sports globally as a gesture to symbolise a stance against racial injustices suffered throughout the world.

De Kock, who had previously declined to take a knee, said in June: "My reason? I'll keep it to myself. It's my own, personal opinion." He went on to say: "It's everyone's decision; no-one's forced to do anything, not in life. That's the way I see things."

Temba Bavuma, SA Captain (and first Black SA Captain) said: "As a team we're obviously surprised and taken aback by the news." He added: "Quinton is an adult. He's a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision. We respect his convictions. "I know that he'll be standing behind whatever decision that he's taken."

I would say that these reactions occupy the two aforementioned spaces 'self' & 'Kingdom'.

Bavuma's response fascinates me. How is that possible? To hold what must be such a tender, emotive triggering and difficult situation with such poise, wisdom, strength and focus. Given the abhorrent history South African nationals share. I am in awe of this approach as I think Bavuma clearly doesn't agree with de Kock's position. Doesn't enter into the 'self' space de Kock occupies but allows de Kock the time and choice to arrive at his own conclusion. Much like Christ's position with the rich man. Christ continues on with his mission of changing the world with the sense that the rich man still has the door open to step into the 'Kingdom' space should he reconsider. This is where I aspire to be.

We may be reading this and thinking we obviously agree with Racial Justice, LGBTQI+ rights & Climate positivity. De Kock himself said in a later statement "For me, Black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement." And has also since apologized for his inaction, agreeing to take a knee should he be allowed back into the team or rather into the 'Kingdom space'. Please join me in asking ourselves 'what are we as individuals doing to actively occupy the kingdom space of Equality, Justice & Climate positivity?' & 'The grace and humility to navigate that kingdom space as we enter or exist within it?'

Dear God, thank you for the power of forgiveness and of resurrection. Show me how I can practice this in my own life. Reveal to me how I can best occupy your kingdom space for myself, drawing closer to you in the process. Amen.

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