Summary: As we study this passage, we will see God’s view of divorce. In doing so, we will discover God’s answer to avoid becoming a statistic, as well as what to do if divorce has already been a part of our lives.

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Mark 10:1-12


Greet the people sitting next to you.

Over 50% of new marriages end in divorce. That means either you, or the people sitting next to you.

Statistics are the same for churches.

Divorce is a big deal. Most don’t like it….

In church, you hear some different things about divorce.

What exactly does God think, what’s his view of divorce?


Today, in our study of Mark, we come to chapter 10, where Jesus is asked about divorce. As we study this passage, we will see God’s view of divorce. In doing so, we will discover God’s answer to avoid becoming a statistic, as well as what to do if divorce has already been a part of our lives.

Turn with me to Mark chapter 10.

As I read vv. 1-4; notice the question Jesus is asked, and the reason for the question

A. They tolerated divorce

The Pharisees came and “tested” or “tempted” Jesus.

The test was a question on his view of divorce.

They hoped he would alienate himself either from Herod (they’re in his territory again, and John had lost his life over the issue), or from one of the groups of Jews:

Everyone agreed that divorce was okay, based on

Deut. 24:1. They quote this verse in their answer.

But they differed on the acceptable grounds of divorce:

Shammai – immorality only

Hillel – any annoyance or embarrassment.

This worked for Pharisees – they could divorce, and still look really pious…

Pharisees and much of society was practicing easy divorce.

In their setting only a man could divorce, and he effected it.

B. We tolerate divorce

Like them, we too tolerate easy divorce in our society.

It is an accepted solution to many problems. Many marriages start out with divorce in mind – prenuptial agreements.

We are even easier than them. We don’t even have to have a reason – no-fault divorce, “irreconcilable differences.”

The result is rampant divorce. All of us have either been touched by divorce, or close to someone who has.

In school, I was the only kid with divorced parents.

Can you imagine that today?

The scene is set, the trap is set. How will Jesus answer? Let’s find out as I read vv. 5-9.

C. Jesus does not tolerate divorce

What does he say? Yes or no? He says “NO”!

I want you to hear that. He says, no divorce.

This is a shocking answer.

First he says that the cause of divorce is sin.

He says Moses allowed this because of your hard hearts.

Sin hardens our hearts – Cf. Heb. 3:7-12

Moses gave you this permission to control the consequences of sin.

Moses didn’t “command” divorce. He permitted the writing of a divorce certificate. At that time, men were already divorcing their wives – creating a class of abandoned, disenfranchised women. Moses legislated the divorce certificate to protect these abandoned women. He doesn’t say divorce is okay, but if divorce occurs, do this.

They turned this allowance into authorization, a concession into a command.

The cause of divorce is sin – our stubborn, rebellious, do-it-our-own-way hearts.

We know this from the incredible pain people cause each other in these divorce situations.

Next Jesus says God’s original intention for marriage is permanence. In effect, he says, “I’m calling you back to the original standard.”

Because they are male and female, they must stay married.

We say “we must divorce because of irreconcilable differences”

God says “we must stay married because of irreconcilable differences.”

The fundamental, irreconcilable differences between males and females in only reconciled through marriage!!

Because our sin, selfishness, tendency is always to separate, God says we must stay together!

A man and woman become “one flesh”. They are indissoluble. How can you divide flesh from flesh?

Also, marriage is a spiritual institution – joined by God.

It isn’t a man, or a judge that determines, but God.

Jesus says you cannot divorce your wives. It applies to wives too, even though in their culture a wife couldn’t.

Now, he does make an exception. Its recorded in Matthew’s record of this conversation. Cf. Matt. 19:9

Jesus allows adultery as an exception. Permissible.

Let’s not make this concession a command, though.

This is serious business! Look at vv. 10-12.

If you divorce (without this biblical ground), you commit adultery.

They didn’t think a man could commit adultery against his wife, so this is another elevation of a woman’s role!


Divorce departs from God’s standard for marriage.

God’s view is higher, much higher than our view. To go God’s way, we must embrace his standard!

As a church we must do everything we can to build and strengthen marriages – like our Young Married’s are doing.

Like we will do in our community through MAPS.

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