Matthew 19

Jesus teaches about when a man sends his own wife away

1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he went away from Galilee. He went to the part of Judea that is on the other side of the Jordan River. 2 Large crowds followed Jesus there. He made the sick people well again.

3 Some Pharisees came to talk to Jesus. They wanted to see how he would answer their question. They asked, ‘Can a man send his wife away so that she is no longer his wife? Is it right for him to do that for any reason he chooses?’

4 Jesus replied, ‘You surely have read about this in the Bible. At the start, when God created the world, he made people male and female. 5 Because of this, a man leaves his father and his mother. God joins him and his wife together. The man and the woman become like one body. 6 They are not two separate people any longer. They have come together as one person. God has put them together to be husband and wife. So nobody should make them separate.’

19:4See Genesis 2:24.

7 Then the Pharisees said to Jesus, ‘Moses said that a man could write a letter to say that he and his wife are no longer married. Then the man can send the woman away. Why did Moses say this?’

8 Jesus answered them, ‘Moses said this because you people did not want to obey God. All these things were different at the start, when God made the world. 9 But now I say to you: A man must not send his wife away and marry another woman. If he does that, it is the same as if he had sex with another man's wife. A man may only send his wife away if she has had sex with another man.’

10 Jesus' disciples said to him, ‘You say that this is what it is like for a man and his wife. Then maybe it is better if people do not marry.’

11 Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can agree with this idea. But God has helped some people to agree with it. 12 There are several different reasons why a person may not marry. Some men cannot have sex. They were born like that. Some other people cannot have sex because people did something to them. Some people choose not to have sex. They do not marry because then they can work better for God and his kingdom. Anyone who can agree with this idea should do it.’

Jesus wants children to come to him

13 Then some people brought their little children to Jesus. They wanted him to put his hands on each child's head. They wanted him to pray for them. But the disciples told the people that they should not do that.

14 Jesus said to them, ‘Do not stop the children. Let them come to me. People must become like these children so that God can rule their lives. That is what the kingdom of heaven is like.’ 15 So Jesus put his hands on each of the children's heads and he prayed for them. After that, he went away from that place.

Jesus meets a rich man

16 One day a man came to Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked. ‘What good thing must I do so that I can live with God for ever?’

17 Jesus replied, ‘Why do you ask me about a good thing? Only God is good. Nobody else. If you want to have real life, then you must obey God's laws.’

18 The man asked Jesus, ‘Which laws must I obey?’

So Jesus replied, ‘Do not kill anyone. Do not have sex with anyone who is not your wife. Do not rob anyone. Do not say things that are not true about people. 19 Love your father and your mother and obey them. Love other people as much as you love yourself.’

20 ‘I have always obeyed these laws,’ the young man replied. ‘What else must I do?’

21 Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be completely good, then you must do this: You must sell everything that you have. Then give the money to poor people. If you do that, you will have many valuable things in heaven. Then come back and be my disciple.’

22 When the young man heard this, he went away. He was not happy. He was feeling sad because he was a very rich man.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘What I say is true. It is very difficult for rich people to let God rule in their lives. 24 The hole in a needle is very small. A camel cannot go through it! But I tell you, it is even more difficult than that for a rich person to let God rule in their life.’

25 When the disciples heard this, they were even more surprised. They said, ‘So perhaps God will not save anyone!’

26 Jesus looked at them and he replied, ‘For people, it really is impossible. But God can do it. God can do everything.’

27 Peter said to Jesus, ‘Look! We have left everything that we had. Now we are your disciples. What will we receive because we have done this?’

28 Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you this: One day God will cause all things to become new. I, the Son of Man, will sit on my great throne as King and I will rule that new world. You who are my disciples will also sit like kings on thrones. You will judge the people of the 12 tribes of Israel. 29 Some people have left their homes. Or they may have left their brothers or sisters. Or they may have left their mother or their father. Or they may have left their wife or their children or their fields. They have done that because of me. God will give those people many more things than they have left behind, even 100 times more! And after they die, they will live for ever with God. 30 But many people who are very important now will become the least important. And many people who are not important now will become very important then.’