“Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage, because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” (Matt. 19:11-12)

This follows this statement placed by his disciples:
“If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” (Matt. 19:10)
We can see here again that Jesus’ teachings were appropriate to the audience. He specifically says this in this statement:

“Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it has been given."

Jesus is clarifying that the instruction was intended to "those it has been given.”

This means Jesus was directing his instructions specifically to his students, and certain students at that. He wasn't make a grand statement for every generation.

This is an indication of the relationship that exists between the Teacher and his student(s). God's representative teaches those who seriously want to engage and apply those teachings.

God's representative may also offer broader instructions to a general audience. Jesus utilized parables in these cases, as he spoke of the Supreme Being in a more general manner.

"For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage, because of the kingdom of heaven."

The word "eunuch" here is translated from the Greek word εὐνοῦχος (eunouchos) which can mean someone who as been become emasculated - their genitals were removed - but it also means a person who is impotent and cannot have children.

Because some people were made impotent by surgery or as a result of disease, some are naturally impotent as we know even today people are impotent.

Jesus is covering both of these possibilities. But he is also covering a third - someone who has become celibate due to their dedication to the Supreme Being - "others have renounced marriage, because of the kingdom of heaven."

This means that while impotence was one reason a person might not have a family - another related to a devotional decision: Dedicating ones life to the service of God.

"The one who can accept this should accept it.”

Jesus is offering some leeway in this discussion of marriage. In other words, it is not Jesus' most important instruction.

We also see here by default and by the previous statement that indicated a person should not whimsically divorce that Jesus did not teach that everyone must be celibate. Otherwise, how would the population continue? How would people have a chance to raise children and steer them towards coming to know the Supreme Being if everyone was celibate?

Yet what this also conveys is that Jesus did not teach that the family was all-important as many teachers of ecclesiastical sectarian institutions teach. These teachers sentimentally proclaim the importance of family, yet Jesus specifically taught the importance of dedicating ones life to the Supreme Being - whether having a family or not:
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
Marriage and family life can become extremely complex. There are lots of logistics to be attentive to for a father or mother. This requires a focus on the physical issues of children and their protection. This can distract a person from their focus upon God.

Family life can also lead one to misidentify ourselves as the physical body. These physical bodies are temporary. At the time of death each of us - the spirit-person within - will leave this physical body and all the body's family behind.

Then again, if one can share the glorification of God with their family members, family life can be used as a service to the Supreme Being.

In other words, we can utilize our talents and strengths, whether as a parent or a single person, towards loving, serving and pleasing God. These are practical teachings of Jesus.


(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Gospel of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Devotional Translation  - translated from the original Greek texts.)