61. Divorce denounced by Jesus
Divorce denounced by Jesus…..INTO the coasts of Judea by the farther side of Jordan, multitudes followed Jesus: and the people resort unto him; and, as he was wont, he taught them.
¶The Pharisees also came, and tempting him asked Jesus, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? He answered,
What did Moses command you?
They said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. Jesus answered,
For the hardness of your heart he wrote you his precept. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife.
Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? So then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away? He saith,
Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
In the house his disciples asked Jesus again of the same matter. He saith,
Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
The disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But Jesus answered,
All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.
He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Scripture: Mark 10:1-12
Meditation 1 of 1:
What is God’s intention for our state in life, whether married or single? Jesus deals with the issue of divorce by taking his hearers back to the beginning of creation and to God’s plan for the human race. In Genesis 2:23-24 we see God’s intention and ideal that two people who marry should become so indissolubly one that they are one flesh. That ideal is found in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve. They were created for each other and for no one else. They are the pattern and symbol for all who were to come. Jesus explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal. Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands. Jesus, likewise sets the high ideal for those who freely renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (see Matthew 19:12). Both marriage and celibacy are calls from God to live a consecrated life, that is to live as married couples or as singles who belong not to themselves but to God. Our lives are not our own, but they belong to God. He gives the grace and power to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life. Do you seek the Lord and his grace in your state of life?
What did Jesus have in mind when he said that a husband and wife are to be “one flesh”? He likely intended it to mean more than just a partnership for establishing a family or intimate companionship between two individuals. Marriage involves a partnership of not just two persons — a husband and wife, but a third as well. It is God who joins with a husband and wife when they become “one flesh”. That is why Paul the Apostle used marriage as an analogy for Christ and the church, his bride (Ephes. 5:31). God wants an unbreakable union between himself and his people. And this is only possible through the gift and working of his Holy Spirit who purifies us and makes us one in Christ. Tertullian, an early second century Christian author, wrote the following to his wife: “Where are we to find language adequately to express the happiness of that marriage which the church cements, the oblation confirms, the benediction signs and seals, the angels celebrate, and the Father holds as approved? For all around the earth young people do not rightly and lawfully wed without their parents’ consent. What kind of yoke is that of two believers who share one hope, one desire, one discipline, one service? They enjoy kinship in spirit and in flesh. They are mutual servants with no discrepancy of interests. Truly they are ‘two in one flesh.’ Where the flesh is one, the spirit is one as well. Together they pray, together they bow down, together perform their fasts, mutually teaching, mutually entreating, mutually upholding. In the church of God they hold an equal place. They stand equal at the banquet of God, equally in crises, equally facing persecutions, and equally in refreshments. Neither hides anything from the other. Neither neglects the other. Neither is troublesome to the other.” What can be more profound than the union of man and woman in marriage? Our union with God. We are called to be one with God, in a union so intimate and a bond so strong that nothing can separate it or destroy it, not even death itself (Rom. 8:35; Song of Solomon 8:6). Do you seek intimate fellowship and union with God?
“Lord Jesus Christ, your call to holiness extends to all in every state of life. Sanctify our lives — as married couples and as singles — that we may live as men and women who are consecrated to you. Make us leaven in a society that disdains life-long marriage fidelity, chastity, and living single for the Lord”.