Summary: Jesus did not deal with all the particulars of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, but he did make it clear these matters are not to be taken lightly; they are profoundly serious in nature. More like a lesson than a sermon
The Complexities of Divorce and Remarriage
1. A young cook in France, Jean Luc, decided that the French would enjoy feasting on rabbits and decided to raise rabbits in Paris and sell them to the finer restaurants in the city.
Jean Luc searched all over Paris seeking a suitable place to raise his rabbits. None could be found.
Finally, an old priest, Father Pierre, at the cathedral, said he could have a small area behind the rectory for his rabbits. Jean Luc successfully raised a number of them, and when he went about Paris selling them.
One restaurant owner asked him where he got such fresh rabbits. Jean Luc replied with a smile, 'I raise them myself, near the cathedral. In fact, I have ... a hutch back of Notre Dame.' [source: guy-sports.com]
2. Years ago, a saying was popular that has since drifted in oblivion: “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
3. The simple precepts by which people once lived their lives have given way to the complexities, stresses, shifting values, and the rapid mixing of people in the workplace, the internet, & through constant relocation; more families are fractured.
4. Although churches may try to do what they can, part of our task to figure out the ethics of divorce and remarriage. We must understand, in the process, that being stricter than God is as bad as being more permissive than God. And we must also acknowledge that — when taken together as a whole — the Scriptures are not as clear as we might want them to be on the matter.
5. The ideal is quite clear: one man, one woman for life, and many attain it. Most first marriages succeed, despite the way statistics are interpreted otherwise. Because marriage is the union of two sinners, however, it only takes one to break it up.
Main Idea: Jesus did not deal with all the particulars of marriage, divorce, and remarriage, but he did make it clear these matters are not to be taken lightly; they are profoundly serious in nature. More like a lesson than a sermon
I. We Are Walking in the Midst of A DEBATE Among the Rabbis
A. What does the Torah MEAN in Deuteronomy 24:1-4?
“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.”
B. The debate between the two main SCHOOLS of the Pharisees
1. “The school of Shammai say: A man may not divorce his wife unless he finds in her a matter of lewdness, as it says, "If he finds in her an unseemly thing" (Deuteronomy 24:1), but the school of Hillel say: Even if she burnt his food, as it says, "If he finds in her an unseemly thing". Rabbi Akiva says: Even if he found one more beautiful than she, as it says, "If she should not find favor in his eyes" [Mishna Gittin 9:10]
2. D.A. Carson & Beale comment on a view that all the Rabbis seem to have held, “Although there was general agreement on matters such as infertility, unfaithfulness, and neglect….’no fault’ divorces were the center of contention.” [Commentary on NT Use of OT, p. 197]
3. One gal recently blogged, “Today, I was woken up from a nap by my cat attacking my face. Evidently, my husband thought it would be funny to shine a laser pointer on my cheek.” Hillel — you can divorce him.
II. Jesus RULING on Divorce and Remarriage
A. In Matthew’s longer account, Jesus allows divorce/remarriage on the grounds of UNFAITHFULNESS (Matthew 19:9)
“And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
1. Understood to include sexual acts with another person of either gender
2. This does not include lusting with the heart, etc.
3. Many people do not want to bad-mouth their spouse nor advertise his or her unfaithfulness… remember, you don’t know what you don’t know! [55%]
4. What right do we have to expect to be told? Discipline: live with curiosity