Was Jesus Advocating Celibacy?


What is Jesus trying to teach us from Matthew 19:11-12?

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, 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.”


He was saying that some have been called to disregard the commandment to multiply and replenish the Earth and remain single, devoting all their energy to advancing the Kingdom. Paul expanded on the same theme in 1 Cor. 7. If one is called into full time service, he wrote, it’s better not to marry. Being responsible to a spouse is a big job and can interfere with one’s 100% commitment to serving the Lord. (1 Cor. 7:32-35) But he also said that not everyone receives the ability to make such a sacrifice. For them it is better to marry than live a life of immorality. The two passages are in agreement. But the Lord also said that if one does marry, the only permissible justification for divorce is marital unfaithfulness.