Summary: In this study we look at broken things - trust, relationships, and priorities. But we also see how by simple child like trust in God, that which is broken can be mended.
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Surrounded by plenty in this country we lose sight of the really important things. We live in such a throw-away society that we think having things is more important than having relationships, and in a time when people’s word means nothing and where promises are broken with little or no thought we seem unable to trust anyone or anything.
So Jesus addresses this issue in the first half of Mark chapter 10. He does so by looking at three areas: broken relationships, broken trust, and broken priorities.
We begin with the Pharisees once again trying to trip Jesus up by pointing out a seeming contradiction in the Law.
1 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
3 "What did Moses command you?" he replied.
4 They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."
Jesus is a Master at this - of course. But look what He does. First He points these men right back to the Word of God. That is always always the best way to avoid useless arguments over someone’s interpretation or idea of what God is like.
The Pharisees thought Jesus was referring to:
Deut 24:1:1 If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house.
A couple of things here:
1. This law was actually a beginning of trying to handle things that were already going on in a way that protects the woman. Women were marginalized in that society and what this law did was make the husband have to think twice before just shoving the woman out on her own - a situation that could have meant life or death for the woman. Now he’d have to give an official document.
2. Divorce is inevitable - whether for abuse, either emotional or physical, or for infidelity. But as we will see, it is not God’s desire, but a way to have order in a fallen world.
3. Notice that Jesus asked about Moses’ command - while the Pharisees talked about Moses permitted action. Jesus was not actually thinking about Deuteronomy but Genesis when he spoke.
5 "It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,"
What was happening was that men had found all kinds of loopholes to the Deuteronomy statute. There are tales of men finding their wives cooking indecent and divorcing them. As Jesus said, it was men’s hard hearts that led to this statute - one to protect the woman from being victimized.
What happened is that they practiced serial monogamy. Technically they were married to one person at a time - but whenever they grew tired of one wife they divorced her and married another - and so on.
Jesus replied. 6 "But at the beginning of creation God ’made them male and female.’ 7’For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
This comes from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24.
Jesus is saying - "your focus should not be on what you can get away with and still be legal - your focus should be on preserving what God created unless the damage or danger is too great."
Divorce is wrong, because it severs a union God created. But it is permitted - Jesus talked of infidelity in Matthew 5 and 19. Paul talks of divorce if an unbelieving spouse leaves (1 Cor 7:15). In that section of 1st Corinthians there is also the suggestion that abuse is also where divorce is permitted.
But here’s the overall principal: Just because a relationship is broken doesn’t mean it should be severed. Often at the real core of marital problems other than those mentioned here is that one or both spouses have stopped 1-giving themselves to the other, and 2- stopped giving the marriage to God.
In Ephesians chapter 5, Paul talks about the self-giving nature of marital love. Too often it is harbored resentment or unforgiveness - or downright selfishness that leads to marital strife. Husbands - be a servant leader in your marriage. And wives - respect your husbands and build them up instead of tearing them down.
Secondly - do you pray for your marriage?
Eccl 4:12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.