Friday, January 9, 2009

Matthew 19-20

I had some random thoughts as I read through Matthew 19 and 20:

Divorce - The pharisees are trying to trap Jesus and so asked Him about divorce. I wondered if divorce was common amoung the Jews then... I think the Greeks and Romans were pretty promiscous. Anyway, Jesus says it is unlawful to divorce your wife except for unfaithfulness. The disciples response was that it would be better to never marry if that were the case. Was the thought of marriage for life to one woman that unthinkable to them? I just don't understand what they were thinking about at that moment.

The Rich Young Man - A rich young man comes to Jesus wanting eternal life. He wants to know what he must do to get it. He says he obeys the commandments, but he seems to know that something is lacking in his life. Jesus tells him to give up his wealth, and the young man goes away sad. That is apparently what he values the most. And Jesus says this: it is easier to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. At this the disciples are astonished and wonder who can be saved. They were not rich, but like the rest of us probably would wish to have wealth. The thought that having wealth might prevent you from being saved is an eye opener. But I also wondered about something else... did the disciples still believe that Christ was going to overthrow the government and begin an earthly rule? If so they might well have thought wealth was in their own future. And the temple rulers seem to present a picture of wealth as well...

Next came the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Workers were hired over the course of a day, so that some worked all day and some just a small portion of the day. Yet at the end of the day all were paid the same wage. The workers who toiled all day felt they had been wronged and should have earned more. Believers who are saved early in life and serve God for a long time will gain the same salvation as those who are saved at death's door. Is this fair? Did you earn your salvation by your life of service to God, or was it a gift? The life of service to God is a chance to show God I love Him and say thank You for the gift of salvation, not a means of earning salvation. Those who have little time here on earth miss out on that chance to love God back, and the chance to commune and walk with God through this life. That is a blessing beyond measure, and I encourage you not to waste it!
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