What is an overview of doctrinal statements made by Christian theologians regarding Jesus' statements in Luke 18:

Luke 18:29-30 ESV And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

I'm especially interested to know how one can leave his wife for the Kingdom of God when Paul tells us to love our wives the way Christ loved the church.

Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Jesus made it clear at his ascension that he would never leave his church.

Matthew 28:20b ESV ...And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

  • Are you taking "who has left wife" to mean divorce, or leave her for a season to serve the Lord? The latter seems obvious to me. – Steve Oct 12 '15 at 13:23
  • @Steve I don't know how I'm supposed to take it, but your latter example is what would make sense to me as well. Still confusing, though. – LCIII Oct 12 '15 at 13:24
  • Are you asking how a person can leave his wife, or are you asking what Jesus meant when he said this (which may be--and I believe likely are--different things, in that Jesus was likely speaking in hyperbole and/or metaphor). – Flimzy Oct 13 '15 at 6:08

How does one “leave his wife” for the Kingdom of God?

Luke 18:28-30 Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

In context, Peter was making his statement in contrast to the statement by Jesus that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom. After which the disciples asked, who then could be saved, to which Jesus replied that what was impossible with man was possible for God. It is at this point that Peter remarks about their having left all for Jesus.

We see in context that “house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children” are equated with the power of riches to keep the heart of someone from following Jesus.

Another example of this is seen earlier in Luke;

Luke 14:15-27 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

In this context Jesus uses the apparently pious statement of a man regarding the kingdom as an opportunity to illustrate that entry into the kingdom was not as automatic as many supposed.

Here we see the illustration that our interest in Jesus has to be more than cursory. If we value family or even our own life more, we fall short of being a disciple.

It is this totality of self that is to be given to Jesus. The “leaving” of a wife is not a physical departure, but the insertion of Jesus as being of greater importance.

  • I really like the content of this answer, but I can't upvote it because it doesn't actually provide what the OP asked for, which is "an overview of doctrinal statements made by Christian theologians" on the subject. – ThaddeusB Oct 13 '15 at 1:07

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