Jesus and the Kingdom of God. The Book of Matthew. In 19:11-12 Jesus says, “Not all can accept this word, but only those to whom it is given. Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some because they were made so by others; some because they renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” The Catholic Study Bible says that Jesus is probably referring to the disciples who have trouble accepting the word ‘celibacy.’ Jesus agrees, but says that celibacy is not for all but only for those to whom it is granted by God. Those incapable of marriage are eunuchs either from birth or castration. One can become a eunuch for the kingdom of God, also…………………………………………… In 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” This account is understood by some as intended to justify the practice of infant baptism. That interpretation is based principally on the command not to ‘prevent’ the children from coming, since that word sometimes has a baptismal connotation in the NT. 19:23-24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples started to display dismay, worry and confusion and wondered how anyone could enter heaven, so Jesus walked it back by saying, “But with God all things are possible.” But riches are an obstacle to entering the kingdom that cannot be overcome by human power. In fact, Jesus then says, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible,” indicating that a rich person might enter heaven depending on the life they led (CSB) or how they used their money……………………………………….. In 20:1-15 Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreement with the laborers on the daily wage, he sent them into the vineyard. The landowner hired new laborers at 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm. When it was time to pay them, he paid them all the same wage. Those who worked all day were highly indignant, but the landowner said, “Am I not free to do what I wish with my own money?” Then Jesus says, “Thus, the last shall be first and the first shall be last.” According to the CSB this involves no injustice on the landowner’s part because he was being generous to those coming later. This parable is exclusive to Matthew, and its difficult to know whether Matthew composed it himself. Its close association with 19:30 suggests that its teaching is the equality of all the disciples in the reward of inheriting eternal life. 19:30 expresses the same thought in reverse; “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”…………………………………………. 21:28-31 Jesus asked the Jewish leaders this question: “A man had two sons. To the first son he said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard.” The son said ‘No’ but went out and worked anyway. The man asked his second son to go out and work in the vineyard. The son said he would but then didn’t follow through. Then Jesus asked the Jewish leaders,”Which of the sons did his father’s will?”They answered, “The first.” Jesus apparently didn’t like the answer because he said, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” One would think this would be a simple parable about saying and doing, and the son who actually went to work in his father’s vineyard was doing his father’s will. But the two brothers represent, respectively, the religious leaders and the religious outcasts who followed John’s call to repentance. By the answer they give to Jesus’ question they condemn themselves. There has been a lot of controversy about how to interpret this parable. Various translations differ on how to word these sentences.

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