Teaching About Divorce
Jesus is teaching some people in Judea and the Pharisees if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. They say Moses allowed the man to write a certificate of divorce and send his wife away. Jesus said that rule was written due to the hardness of heart of the people. He then says that no one should ever get divorced. He says that if a couple gets divorced and either of the remarries, they are committing adultery.
Looked back at my notes on Matthew 19 and in that section there is an exception. If there is infidelity, then there are grounds for divorce. Here there is no such exception. Pretty big difference.
Now, what about the idea that you can't get divorced ever? At first it might seem good, getting divorced is generally bad I would say, but these absolute rules can be problematic. What about extreme situations, abusive husbands for example. There are certain times when the best thing is to get divorced. Some people would say if you have children you should never get divorced, which again, I think is a good rule of thumb, but there are situations where staying together can be worse for the children than the divorce would be. Imagine 2 miserable parents together versus 2 happy parents living separately. I would argue the second situation is better.
One final note, I like that there is an equality between men and women here.
Let the Children Come to Me
Children tried to come see Jesus and the disciples tried to keep them away. Jesus saw this and said to let the children come to him. He said "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."
What does it mean "like a child"? This seems like one of those things that is vague enough that everything will just read into it whatever they want. You could say it means with wonder, or with innocence or something. On the other hand, you can say like a child who believes things without good reason.
The Rich Young Man
A rich kid asks Jesus what he can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus says he should sell everything he owns and give it to the poor. He says rich people can't get into heaven.
I have a similar comment as above. A good rule of thumb is that you should give what you can to the poor. But you should also make sure you have a secure future, especially if you have dependents. If you give all of your riches to the poor and then go through hard times and you can't afford food for your children something has gone wrong. I suppose someone might counter that someone who truly believes would be provided for, but poor places where people go hungry all the time are often highly religious, so that argument holds no sway with me.
Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
Title says it all
The Request of James and John
James and John ask Jesus to sit on either side of Jesus (on his throne?). He says no, then he says it is not his to give, those spots will be taken by those it is prepared for. The disciples heard this and got indignant, and Jesus said whoever is great among them must be servants, etc.
Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus
Blind Bartimaeus asks Jesus to give him his sight back, Jesus says that since he had faith he will be healed.