You and I might look surprised. “What will I do with this question,” we ask ourselves. “If not answered well, people will think we are hard-liners, or spineless, or playing both sides of the fence,” we think.
Jesus didn't hesitate. What question was the test question this time?
Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife? It was a Pharisee question. Again, they were testing him.
Jesus followed his common practice. He turned it back to them. “What did Moses say,” He asked them.
They gave the standard answer any Jew of the first century would give. It said, “To write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” (Mark 10:4).
Jesus' response was one of explanation. “Yeah, because you are so hardhearted he gave you this command. But you remember, it was not the way God planned it. God 'made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall be one flesh.'” (my version, Mark 10:6-8).
He added, “So, if God has put them together and made them one, man should not separate them.” (my version, Mark 10:9).
When the disciples were alone with Him, they ask more questions. He told them if he/she divorces a mate to marry someone else, someone commit adultery. (Mark10:10-12)
Is this the complete teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage? No.
But what is written should make everyone sit up and pay attention. Notice:
- Jesus was not a hard-liner, spineless or playing both sides. He said what God wanted, not his opinion.
- Jesus was not afraid of the question because He knew what God would say.
- He did not change the teachings of God's covenant with the Jews. He actually reinforced it.
- He pointed out a major problem: the hardheartedness of men. Man tends to do what he wants to do, regardless of God's wishes.
- God made the two into one.
- GOD PLANNED, from the beginning, FOR MARRIAGE TO BE PERMANENT. It was man who created divorce and remarriage, not God.
What should this cause us to do?
- We should take lots of time selecting our life-long mate. There is no hurry. If it is good, then you will have the rest of your lives together. It one of you is not a 'good fit' for the other, better to find it out now, before rather than after marriage.
- He does not authorize the 'trial arrangements'. He calls 'trial arrangements' by another name: fornication. Fornication will put both partners in hell (Gal 5:19-21).
- We must plan, and teach all children, marriage is meant for life with no 'do-overs'.
-------------------Read more on the subject. Read Matt's Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: Matt 5 & 19.
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