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Matthew  ◦   Chapter 19

1 After Jesus finished teaching them these things, he left Galilee and went to Judea on the other side of the Jordan.2 Huge crowds of people followed him, and he healed them there.

3 Some of the religious leaders and lawyers came to Jesus, trying to trick him. They asked, "Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason he so chooses?"

4 Jesus gently replied, "Haven't you studied God's design as recorded in Scripture? It says that in the beginning, the Creator 'made them male and female;5 and because of this, a man will leave his parents and be united to his wife, and — though they are two–they will become one flesh.'6 So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined into unity let no person tear apart."

7 But they didn't like his answer, so they asked, "Why then did Moses instruct that a man should give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

8 Jesus answered: "Divorce happens when love breaks down and selfishness wins. No one wants to lose a limb, but we sever a gangrenous limb to save the person. To sever a healthy limb is damaging and wrong. Moses’ instructions–to sever toxic relationships and save individuals–were given because of the hardness of your hearts.9 But anyone who divorces their spouse except for the gangrenous situation of marital betrayal commits adultery and inflicts injury."

10 The disciples were troubled, and concluded, "If marriage is like this, maybe it is better not to marry."

11 Jesus replied: "Healthy relationships require healthy people, and not everyone is suited for a healthy marriage relationship.12 Some people are born without any interest in marriage, others have been so traumatized that they prefer to live as single people, and still others choose not to marry because they devote themselves to God's work. But those who are capable of marriage as God designed–should get married."

13 Then some small children were brought to Jesus to lay hands upon and pray for, but the disciples scolded the parents who brought them.

14 Jesus said, "Let the children come to me; don't put any barriers up to make it difficult for them, for God's kingdom of love is for ones just like these."15 After he put his hands on them, he left that place.

16 A short while later, a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good act must I do to obtain eternal life?"

17 Jesus replied, "Why do you seek me to find what is good? There is only One who is the source of good. If you want to be healed and enter eternal life, then follow God's instructions."

18 "Which of God's instructions?" the man sincerely asked. Jesus answered, "Those that describe God's design protocol of love–how to love your neighbor as yourself. If you love, then you do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,19 and you do honor your mother and father."

20 "All of these I have done," the young man said, "yet I still don't have peace. What am I missing?"

21 Jesus looked him in the eye and said, "If you want to be perfectly healed and have a right character, go and sell all your possessions which you hold as evidence of your good standing before God, and then, in love, give all you have to bless the poor, and you will have a rich reward in heaven’s kingdom of love. Then come, and join me, and live as I do."

22 When the young man heard this, he left with a heavy heart, because he had great wealth from which he derived security.

23 Jesus turned to his disciples and said: "I tell you the simple truth: It is hard for those who are rich–who derive a sense of security from their possessions–to surrender all and enter into heaven's kingdom of love and trust.24 It is easier for a camel to kneel down, remove its load, and crawl through the small gate known as 'the eye of a needle' than for a rich person to humble themself, surrender their wealth, and enter God's kingdom of love and trust."

25 When the disciples heard this, it shocked them, because they were biased by their culture to believe that wealth was a sign of being right with God. So they asked, "If not the rich, then who can possibly be saved?"

26 Jesus looked directly at them and said, "Humans have no chance to cure their own terminal condition. The only possibility for eternal life is to trust God and partake of the Remedy."

27 Peter said to him, "We've left everything we have to follow you! What's in store for us?"

28 Jesus replied: "I tell you truly, when all things are restored to perfection, when the Son of Man sits on his throne of glory, you who have partaken of the Remedy and followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, providing your good judgment to the twelve tribes of Israel.29 And every person who has left behind their property, brothers, sisters, parents, children, stocks, or any valuable in order to be united with me will receive more than one hundred times as much as they gave up, and will also receive eternal life.30 But those who think they deserve to be first will actually find themselves last, while those who are humble and consider themselves last will find themselves first in God's kingdom.