Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
3. Abstention from Marriage for the Sake of Christ’s Ministry
(Matthew 19:10-12)
10His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”11But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given:12For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” (1Corinthians7:7)


The disciples were so frightened by the words of Jesus concerning holiness and the responsibility of marriage that they thought it would be better for them not to marry. Jesus did not allow a husband to treat his wife as he pleased, but demanded from him faithfulness, patience, wisdom, and love. Marriage requires responsibility, perseverance, and sacrifice with the absence of the right of separation or divorce.
Jesus showed His followers the possibility of celibacy, not as an escape from marriage, but to enable a person to serve God. It should be noted that the unmarried is not holier than the married, for both of them live from Christ’s forgiveness and righteousness. But if, in his love for his Savior, someone hears the call to celibacy, let him examine himself if he wants to submit to the control of the Holy Spirit that he may not be tempted by his body into sin. John the Baptist and Paul the apostle chose the way of celibacy, because they did not live for themselves, but gave their lives a sacrifice of praise to Christ. Let no one choose this way except those clearly called by God. The natural law is to marry in forgiveness and mutual service based on Christ’s love, power, and pardon.
Christ allowed what the disciples said, “It is better not to marry,” not as an objection against the prohibition of divorce, but as a rule that they who have the gift of self-control and are not under necessity of marrying, do best if they continue single. The unmarried have opportunity, if they wish, to care more “about the service of the Lord, how they may please the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:32-34), being less encumbered with the cares of this life. They have greater opportunities of thought and time to attent to the things of God. The increase of grace is better than the increase of the family, and fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ is to be preferred before any other fellowship.
Christ disavows forbidding marriage as utterly mischievous, because “all cannot accept this saying.” Indeed few can, and therefore the privileges of marriage should be honored. “Better to marry than to burn” (1 Corinthians 7:9).

Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, We praise You because You remained single all Your life, lived always in continence, and gave Your life a ransom for many. Forgive us every impurity and affection to lust. Teach us cleanliness and preparedness to virtuous marriage that we may live sanctified by Your blood, serve each other joyfully, and never dislike or divorce. Preserve in the power of Your love all marriages performed in Your name.
Question
What is the meaning of celibacy for the sake of ministering the kingdom of heaven?