Today’s chapter starts off with a passage where Jesus addresses divorce. I have to be honest here and say that I am still not 100% clear on the issue of divorce. Jesus clearly shows that marriage is important to God, and that we should take every step to avoid divorce. Does this mean that there are no other reasons to get divorced but unfaithfulness, what about abuse? Does this mean that we shouldn’t attend marriages of divorcees? Does this mean that you are committing adultery if you remarry without a legitimate reason for divorcing? What is a legitimate reason? My honest answer… I don’t know. All I know is that Jesus doesn’t want us to get divorced, so I will do everything that I can to make my marriage work.
We then see a passage about a rich man, which I have seen many teachings about, but some very misinformed. Let’s take a look at a few points. The man approaches Jesus and asks what he needs to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus is immediately getting to the root of the problem when He asks, why the man calls Him ‘good’ if only God is good. You see Jesus realises that the man doesn’t believe that He is God, his faith is not in Jesus but in money. How do I know this? The next time the man addresses Jesus, he calls Him ‘teacher’, not ‘good teacher’. He took the ‘good’ out, because Jesus said that only God is good. Jesus tells him what to do, but when he says that he has done all of that, Jesus hits him with the one thing he couldn’t do. Part with his wealth. It wasn’t the money that Jesus was trying to get at, but the man’s faith in the money rather than Jesus.
I have heard people teach that Jesus doesn’t want you to have money, because it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God if you are rich, Jesus says otherwise. Yes, it is difficult for a rich man to enter God’s Kingdom, but then Jesus says, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” He then also addresses the issue of Him ‘wanting us to be poor’. “Yes, and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution.” Let me make it clear, this is talking about THIS LIFE, not in heaven. God will bless us in this life for giving. If this man had given up his possessions, imagine how much more he would have received back! Jesus didn’t want him to give to get back, He wanted him to give because Jesus was Lord, and then he would have received 100 fold back. This is what Jesus is trying to tell us. The reason why we give is important, and if we do that, we will not be disappointed. Jesus also shows that we receive blessings and persecution. This shows me that when we read about ‘suffering for Jesus’ it is talking about persecution, not lack of provision. Yes, sometimes we give up stuff to follow God, but He always provides, but He never promises that we will be free from persecution. In fact we are almost promised it if we do things properly.
The last part of this chapter is another healing. Another time when someone follows Jesus, determined to receive his healing. This time the people actually tell him to be quiet, but he continues after Jesus, and receives his healing. Again, Jesus tells him that it was his faith that healed him. How urgent are you to receive your healing? Do you keep quiet when others tell you to, or are you determined to receive what Jesus earned for you on the cross? I for one will never be quiet about us being set free by Jesus, which includes healing. Keep believing, as it is your faith that will heal you, by the blood of Jesus.
Until next week.