Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

Matthew Ch.19 / 28 Ch.s


* Jesus enters Judea. (1,2) The Pharisees' question about
divorces. (3-12) Young children brought to Jesus. (13-15) The
rich young man's inquiry. (16-22) The recompence of Christ's
followers. (23-30)

#1,2 Great multitudes followed Christ. When Christ departs, it
is best for us to follow him. They found him as able and ready
to help elsewhere, as he had been in Galilee; wherever the Sun
of Righteousness arose, it was with healing in his wings.

#3-12 The Pharisees were desirous of drawing something from
Jesus which they might represent as contrary to the law of
Moses. Cases about marriage have been numerous, and sometimes
perplexed; made so, not by the law of God, but by the lusts and
follies of men; and often people fix what they will do, before
they ask for advice. Jesus replied by asking whether they had
not read the account of the creation, and the first example of
marriage; thus pointing out that every departure therefrom was
wrong. That condition is best for us, and to be chosen and kept
to accordingly, which is best for our souls, and tends most to
prepare us for, and preserve us to, the kingdom of heaven. When
the gospel is really embraced, it makes men kind relatives and
faithful friends; it teaches them to bear the burdens, and to
bear with the infirmities of those with whom they are connected,
to consider their peace and happiness more than their own. As to
ungodly persons, it is proper that they should be restrained by
laws, from breaking the peace of society. And we learn that the
married state should be entered upon with great seriousness and
earnest prayer.

#13-15 It is well when we come to Christ ourselves, and bring
our children. Little children may be brought to Christ as
needing, and being capable of receiving blessings from him, and
having an interest in his intercession. We can but beg a
blessing for them: Christ only can command the blessing. It is
well for us, that Christ has more love and tenderness in him
than the best of his disciples have. And let us learn of him not
to discountenance any willing, well-meaning souls, in their
seeking after Christ, though they are but weak. Those who are
given to Christ, as part of his purchase, he will in no wise
cast out. Therefore he takes it ill of all who forbid, and try
to shut out those whom he has received. And all Christians
should bring their children to the Saviour that he may bless
them with spiritual blessings.

#16-22 Christ knew that covetousness was the sin which most
easily beset this young man; though he had got honestly what he
possessed, yet he could not cheerfully part with it, and by this
his want of sincerity was shown. Christ's promises make his
precepts easy, and his yoke pleasant and very comfortable; yet
this promise was as much a trial of the young man's faith, as
the precept was of his charity and contempt of the world. It is
required of us in following Christ, that we duly attend his
ordinances, strictly follow his pattern, and cheerfully submit
to his disposals; and this from love to him, and in dependence
on him. To sell all, and give to the poor, will not serve, but
we are to follow Christ. The gospel is the only remedy for lost
sinners. Many abstain from gross vices who do not attend to
their obligations to God. Thousands of instances of disobedience
in thought, word, and deed, are marked against them in the book
of God. Thus numbers forsake Christ, loving this present world:
they feel convictions and desires, but they depart sorrowful,
perhaps trembling. It behoves us to try ourselves in these
matters, for the Lord will try us.

#23-30 Though Christ spoke so strongly, few that have riches do
not trust in them. How few that are poor are not tempted to
envy! But men's earnestness in this matter is like their toiling
to build a high wall to shut themselves and their children out
of heaven. It should be satisfaction to those who are in a low
condition, that they are not exposed to the temptations of a
high and prosperous condition. If they live more hardly in this
world than the rich, yet, if they get more easily to a better
world, they have no reason to complain. Christ's words show that
it is hard for a rich man to be a good Christian, and to be
saved. The way to heaven is a narrow way to all, and the gate
that leads into it, a strait gate; particularly so to rich
people. More duties are expected from them than from others, and
more sins easily beset them. It is hard not to be charmed with a
smiling world. Rich people have a great account to make up for
their opportunities above others. It is utterly impossible for a
man that sets his heart upon his riches, to get to heaven.
Christ used an expression, denoting a difficulty altogether
unconquerable by the power of man. Nothing less than the
almighty grace of God will enable a rich man to get over this
difficulty. Who then can be saved? If riches hinder rich people,
are not pride and sinful lusts found in those not rich, and as
dangerous to them? Who can be saved? say the disciples. None,
saith Christ, by any created power. The beginning, progress, and
perfecting the work of salvation, depend wholly on the almighty
power of God, to which all things are possible. Not that rich
people can be saved in their worldliness, but that they should
be saved from it. Peter said, We have forsaken all. Alas! it was
but a poor all, only a few boats and nets; yet observe how Peter
speaks, as if it had been some mighty thing. We are too apt to
make the most of our services and sufferings, our expenses and
losses, for Christ. However, Christ does not upbraid them;
though it was but little that they had forsaken, yet it was
their all, and as dear to them as if it had been more. Christ
took it kindly that they left it to follow him; he accepts
according to what a man hath. Our Lord's promise to the apostles
is, that when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his
glory, he will make all things new, and they shall sit with him
in judgement on those who will be judged according to their
doctrine. This sets forth the honour, dignity, and authority of
their office and ministry. Our Lord added, that every one who
had forsaken possessions or comforts, for his sake and the
gospel, would be recompensed at last. May God give us faith to
rest our hope on this his promise; then we shall be ready for
every service or sacrifice. Our Saviour, in the last verse, does
away a mistake of some. The heavenly inheritance is not given as
earthly ones are, but according to God's pleasure. Let us not
trust in promising appearances or outward profession. Others
may, for aught we know, become eminent in faith and holiness.