Summary: Is Divorce Acceptable to God?
October 7, 2018
There is Sanctity in Marriage – Jesus Said So
To begin, let’s recap just when and where Jesus is in this reading. Jesus is getting closer and closer to His final days which await Him in Jerusalem. This last journey has been long and eventful, as we have read and talked about in the past few weeks. Jesus has now reached the Eastern region of Judea where He continues in open ministry. Can you believe it? The Pharisees immediately renew their malicious and cunning attempts to trap Jesus into committing some offense that would lead to His arrest and trial or discredit Him to the extent that His actions would be interpreted as sinful and not worthy of any devotion or following.
As we read and ponder the question posed by the Pharisees in verse 2: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”, we cannot help but recognize the underlying trap being set. No matter how He answers, they believe the trap will certainly ensnare Him. Their belief is no matter what, Jesus’ answer will infuriate one or more factions of the population. If Jesus takes a stand based on legality, it may not stand up against the Law of Moses. If Jesus brings up the matter of sin and immorality, we need only look at what happened to John the Baptist when he took that stand.
Most of us have been exposed to a humorous prank wherein we or someone is asked: “Do you still beat your wife?”
If the answer is NO, the presumption is “not anymore”. Of course, if the answer is yes, it invokes immediate condemnation. Refusing to answer or equivocate only serves to arouse serious doubts. It is a no win trap!
Jesus sees right through the trap and answers them with a question: verse 3 “What did Moses command you?”
The Pharisees respond that the Law of Moses did permit divorce. Now note - The Pharisees state that the law of Moses PERMITTED divorce. Jesus had just asked them what did the Law of Moses COMMAND.
We could go on and on with this but true to form, we see that words and interpretations can always be perverted by cleverness.
Moving on, it would appear, that according to Jesus, if taken literally, divorce and remarriage equated to adultery.
God abhors divorce. However, this does not mean that there are not some valid reasons that a Biblical divorce is allowed, Adultery, Abuse, Abandonment appear to me to be valid reasons for a divorce. Marriage is the blending of two lives to create a union that represents a new oneness. Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition it is 100/100. The present-day social norm embraces divorce for almost any reason at all, incompatibility seems to cover the bases. Working through marital discord and overcoming create a stronger bond and greater meaning of marriage. My take is that personal PRIDE in having “my way or no way” is at the root of most divorces. Pride inhibits forgiveness!
Moving on, little children were brought to Jesus for His blessings. The disciple tried to turn them away, but Jesus would have no part of that. He commanded, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Verses 14-15.
A great theme is repeated again here, as Jesus makes it so clear that we receive the Kingdom of God with the same innocence of a child. Instead of trying to find a way around the teachings and commandments of God, we shall embrace them with the innocence of a child!
Let us pray.