Search Engine

Provide a keyword or phrase below to find blog entries relevant to your search:

Results For

No Results

©Laura Haverkamp

Chapter 19:13-22 (ESV)

Posted on November 28, 2022  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 19:13-22 (ESV) - Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Question to consider: What does this passage say about the disciples’ view of greatness?

In most Bibles, today’s passage is divided into two separate headings as if they were two separate events with two separate purposes. However, with the words “And behold,” it would seem that Matthew was making a contrast between the infants and the rich young man. In this contrast, Matthew also exposed the lack of understanding of the disciples, for the disciples thought the infants were unworthy to receive the blessing from Jesus but had no issue allowing the rich man access to Him.

The parents of these infants came to Jesus in faith because they believed Jesus’ words that the greatest in His kingdom were dependent upon the mercy of God like these infants depended on them. The disciples saw the rich young man as being blessed by God for his wealth and assumed he must therefore be great. However, when given the opportunity to talk with Jesus, the rich young man did not ask for mercy but wanted Jesus to affirm his good works. 

Whenever someone depended on the mercy of Christ like the parents with their infants, Jesus freely offered it. Whenever someone came to Jesus in self-righteousness, He gave them a heavy dose of the Law, “If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” The Law is intended to bring us to the place where we realize that we can only enter the kingdom by way of Christ’s mercy. Even though the young man deceived himself into thinking that he had kept the commandments related to his neighbor, he quickly realized that he loved his wealth more than he loved God. However, instead of repenting and becoming like one of the infants brought to Jesus, the young man walked away sad.

There are those who believe that Christians should lead with the “love of Christ,” and avoid talking about matters of the Law in case we offend people. However, in order to understand what Christ has done, we must understand why He came. The Law shows us our sin and rightly offends us. We must get to the place where we depend upon the grace and mercy of Christ alone and not on our attempts at righteousness. 


Dear heavenly Father, please help us to become like the infants in this passage who depend entirely upon the mercy of Christ to enter Your kingdom. When we are offended by Your Law, please let it do its work in us to bring us to the cross. Amen.