November 8: Matthew Chapter Nineteen in Blank Verse by Day Williams

MATTHEW CHAPTER NINETEEN
When Jesus had completed this address,
He went from Galilee and circled back
Into Judea on the other side

Of River Jordan. Large crowds followed him,
And there he healed them. But some Pharisees
Came up to him to test him, asking, “Is

It lawful for a husband to divorce
His wife for any reason?” He replied,
“Haven’t you read that the Creator ‘made

Them male and female’ from the start and said,
‘Because of this, a man will leave his father
And mother and be coupled to his wife,

And how the two will be one flesh’? So they
Are two no more, but one. And so what God
Has joined together, no man should separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses say a man
Can give his wife a notice of divorce
And then dismiss her?” Jesus answered, “Moses

Allowed you to divorce your wives because
Your hearts were hard. But it was not this way
From the beginning. Trust me, anyone

Who divorces his wife on any grounds
Except for her unfaithfulness, and marries
Another wife commits adultery.”

The followers remarked to him, “If this
Is so between a man and wife, it’s not
Worth getting married.” Jesus answered, “Not

Everyone can accept this word, but only
Those whom God helps. For some are eunuchs born
That way and others are emasculated;

And others have refused to marry due
To heaven’s kingdom. Those who can accept
This should accept it.” Little children were

Brought up to him so he could put his hands
On them and pray for them. But the disciples
Rebuked the ones who brought them. Jesus said,

“Permit the little children to approach
Me; do not stop them, for the kingdom of
Heaven belongs to such as these.” When he

Had placed his hands on them, he went from there.
A man came up to Jesus, asking, “Teacher,
What must I do to have eternal life?”

“I wonder why you ask me what is good,”
Jesus replied. “There’s only One who’s good.
If you desire to enter life, you must

Keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” asked the man.
Jesus replied, “`Don’t murder, don’t commit
Adultery, don’t steal, don’t testify

Falsely, honor your father and you mother,’
And ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” “All these
I’ve kept,” returned the young man. “What else must

I still do?” Jesus answered, “If you want
Perfection, go and sell your property
And give the money to the poor, and you’ll

Have wealth in heaven; then come follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away
Crestfallen, for he had great riches. Then

Jesus told his disciples, “I assure
You, it is difficult for a rich man
To enter heaven’s kingdom. I tell you

Again, a camel could more easily
Squeeze through a needle’s eye than a rich man
Get in God’s kingdom.” When the followers

Heard this, they were amazed and asked, “Who then
Can possibly be saved?” “With man this is
Impossible,” said Jesus as he looked

Directly at them, “but with God all things
Are possible.” And Peter answered him,
“We have left everything to follow you!

What is that going to be worth for us?”
“Believe me,” Jesus said, at the renewal
Of all things, when the Son of Man shall sit

Upon his throne of glory, you who have
Followed me will sit on twelve thrones too, and
Judge Israel’s twelve tribes. And everyone

Who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father
Or mother, children, or fields for me will
Receive a hundred times as much and will

Inherit an eternal life. But many
Now first will then be last, and many worst
Or in the last place now, will then be first.

–From New Testament in Blank Verse by Day Williams