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Lesson Passage: Matthew 19:1-15
Lesson Passage Outline
#. Married People (Matt.
Divorced People (Matt.
Single People (Matt.
A church should teach the biblical ideal for marriage but minister to adults who are married, divorced, remarried, or single as well as to their children.
To help you reach out to people regardless of their marital status or age
"I felt like an outcast in my own church."
Though she had been faithful in her marriage, her husband had not.
She now had the stunned and tired look common to people in her situation.
She had believed her marriage would last forever, only to find it dissolved in infidelity and bitter court proceedings.
Often these people find judgment in the church, the place where they most desperately need ministry.
Without question, sometimes they see judgment where it is not present.
Perhaps they feel awkward.
Their couples' class does not seem to feel right any more.
How has a church reached out to you?
How did that impact your understanding of God and affect your growth in Christ?
Throughout this lesson we will emphasize the biblical ideal for marriage but also illustrate that the church is to be a place for all sorts of people in all kinds of situations.
The reality of ministry today is that our churches are filled with all kinds of families.
We have singles and single parents side by side with empty-nesters and widows.
We want to make sure that we do not relegate anyone to a second-class status.
God wants to use our churches to reach out to all people regardless of marital status or age.
As you study this passage about different kinds of people and families in the church, focus on ways you can help your class and your church to realize the *Life Impact* of this lesson by reaching out to people regardless of their marital status or age.
As you continue your personal Bible study, prayerfully read the *Background Passage* and respond to the *Study Questions* as well as to the questions in the margins for the November 11 lesson in /Explore the Bible: Adult Learner Guide./
The Bible in Context (Matt.
This part of Matthew's Gospel covers four chapters and has five sections of Jesus' teaching and interaction with disciples and opponents.
Matthew 19:1-15 is the Lesson Passage and focuses on marriage and family.
Jesus ignored no aspect of the human condition and refused to allow the church to do so either.
Matthew 19:16-20:28 consists of Jesus' teaching on eternal life.
The question of the rich young ruler concerning how he might inherit eternal life became the occasion for Jesus to illustrate the selfless nature of true discipleship.
Possessions, while morally and spiritually neutral, do have the possibility of impeding our progress in God's kingdom.
Jesus further countered our tendency to measure worth by the accumulation of goods with the parable of the vineyard workers.
The subject is grace, and the truth is paradoxical that the first shall be last and the last first.
After the third prediction of His death, Jesus further taught the disciples about the importance of selflessness.
Portrayals of authority (Matt.
20:29-21:27) opens with the healing of a blind man, thus illustrating Jesus' ability to provide physical and spiritual sight.
The triumphal entry and the cleansing of the temple illustrate the shallowness of the crowd's understanding and Jesus' rejection of the corrupt temple worship.
The tension continued to mount with the parable of judgment (the barren fig tree) and the direct challenge by the chief priests and elders.
The truth of the kingdom of heaven means some are in and others out.
Three parables in Matthew 21:28-22:14 portray this aspect of the gospel: the two sons, the vineyard owner, and the wedding banquet.
Four questions comprise the concluding section of this part of Matthew (22:15-46).
First the Pharisees, then the Sadducees, and then the Pharisees again challenged Jesus.
This section ends with Jesus asking a question designed to point out His identity.
Married People (Matt.
1 When Jesus had finished this instruction, He departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there.
3 Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him.
They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?"
4 "Haven't you read," He replied, "that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,
5 and He also said: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?
6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate."
*Verse 1.* Jesus' journey to Jerusalem dominates the latter part of the three Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
In his Gospel, John detailed three trips to the capital.
The Synoptics focus only on this final journey.
*Galilee* was the northern half of the country.
According to the Synoptics, Jesus spent most of His ministry there.
In typical Jewish fashion He entered *the region of Judea* from east of the Jordan River.
The direct route would have been through Samaria, which bisected the middle of the country.
Jesus was not trying to avoid the Samaritans, for the Gospels record several times when He intentionally reached out to this displaced people.
The major routes of travel, however, as used by the vast majority of the Jewish population, went around Samaria.
*Verse 2.* Jesus was popular wherever He went, even in Jerusalem initially.
The *crowds* probably *followed Him* for His ability to heal, but I like to think they also saw in Jesus something that filled their spiritual hunger.
They were drawn to Him.
Jesus still has that effect today.
*Verse 3.* Most *Pharisees* lived in Jerusalem, though some resided outside the city.
Usually, opposition to Jesus came from Jerusalem.
These Pharisees, since we are not told, could have been from the local area.
Not every Pharisee opposed Jesus.
Nicodemus was sympathetic to Him and even aided in His burial (John 3:1-9; 19:39).
By and large, however, they always sought *to test Him* with the goal of discrediting Him in the eyes of the people.
These Pharisees asked Jesus a question concerning *divorce,* one that reflected an ongoing discussion of the day.
Around the time of Jesus' birth, rabbis Hillel and Shammai represented two opposing schools of rabbinic thought.
Hillel was typically broader in his interpretation and application; Shammai, more narrow.
The crux of the divorce issue was Deuteronomy 24:1, which describes conditions under which a man may divorce his wife.
The phrase "some indecency" gave rise to two interpretations.
Shammai said it meant adultery only.
Hillel claimed that it could be anything that displeased the husband, even as trivial as being a poor cook.
Opinions were divided and harsh.
The Pharisees were attempting to draw Jesus into the fray by suggesting Hillel's interpretation of *any grounds.*
Read "Divorce in the First Century" in the Fall 2007 issue of/ Biblical Illustrator/ or/ Biblical Illustrator Plus (CD-ROM)./
*Verse 4.* Instead of answering the question, Jesus challenged the Pharisee's knowledge of Scripture.
*Haven't you read* suggests these religious experts were ignoring important teachings in God's Word.
Jesus took them back to *the beginning* for a basic understanding of God's intention for marriage.
That God *made them male and female* is the starting point for God's intention for the family.
Indirectly at least, that God started with male and female undermines claims for the legitimacy of homosexual relationships.
God did not begin by making male and male or female and female.
He originally intended (and still intends) for marriage to be of a male and a female and for it to be the lasting and supreme human relationship.
For this reason* emphasizes God's original intent.
The union created by marriage involves two important actions.
First, *a man will leave his mother and father.*
Letting go of previous family ties does not mean we are to forget all duties to parents.
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