Summary: A sermon dealing with the attempt of the pharisees to trap Jesus by asking his opinion about divorce.
Is it okay for a Christian to divorce? Is divorce a sin? If I get divorced, can I remarry?
Just what are the rules about divorce?
That’s what they asked Jesus.
If this was a timely topic in Jesus’ day, it is at least as much now.
I went to Google and typed in “divorce laws.” Google found 18,300,000 sites. There was divorcenet.com, there was www.law.cornell.edu/topics/Table_Divorce.htm, there was divorcelawinfo.com, and on and on….millions of pages.
I typed in “Who can divorce?” a question more in line with what they asked Jesus. This yielded over 36,000,000 sites. Topping the list was “I want a divorce.com, followed by “can divorce have a silver lining, followed by, in third place, “Jewfaq.Com” (frequently asked questions) about whether Jewish law allows divorce, followed by, in fourth place – meaning it has the fourth most visits of all 36 million sites – is a site dealing with how an Islamic man can divorce.
Do you see a theme here?
The popular question is, “How can I get out of this marriage?”
No doubt the men who came to Jesus that day also wanted to know. If not for themselves right now, then for the future when their marriage became a burden to them.
Look how Jesus answers! He asks first for what the law says – the Torah. It allowed for divorce, but then Jesus says that law was only a consolation because of human sin.
Then he stops talking about divorce and starts talking about marriage! And for this he goes all the way back to the story of creation at the very beginning of the Bible. He quotes the second chapter of Genesis where we are told that God created a man but saw that the man was lonely, so God brought him potential helpers – all the animals God had made. But none of them was an apt companion. None was eligible to be a “partner.”
So in the very first anesthetizing in history, God puts Adam into a deep sleep and takes out a rib and makes a woman. Adam is absolutely delighted – and ever since then, men have admired the work God did in creating this female of the species. “Wow!” men say when she walks down the street.
Jesus points out that the Bible says that God put them together – and if God put them together, let no one put it asunder – rip up the marriage.
It is a little known fact that when God created Eve she was a very jealous woman. Adam would be out in the garden longer than he should, planting tomatoes, or talking to the giraffes, and he’d come home and Eve would look at her watch and ask, “Where have you been? You have a girlfriend, don’t you?” Adam would be very hurt because he loved Eve and would say, “No, honey, there is no one but you!”
And you know, Adam was right – she was literally the only woman on the face of the earth.
But Eve was very jealous. One night, after Adam had come VERY late, Eve started jabbing Adam in his sleep. The pain from her jabs woke him up and he asked, “Eve! What are you doing?” “Counting your ribs,” she said.
We need to see something here. This is not as much a passage about marriage as it is about life. It is about how we live.
What are the rules of divorce Jesus?
It isn’t about rules. It is about God.
It takes 36 million web sites to look at rules on who can divorce, and none of them has the answer. To find the answer, you must go to God.
They came to Jesus asking about the rules of divorce.
Notice what they do not ask Jesus!
They do NOT ask Jesus, “How can we have better marriages?” They do not ask Jesus, “How can we put love back into our marriages?” They ask him, “How can a man get out of his vows?”
Jesus knows what is in their hearts.
So Jesus directs them back to God’s plan. God’s plan in creation was for men and women to live together in faithfulness to one another. That is the divine model.
It isn’t about rules at all, it is about relationship.
One of the elders in our church, Fred Butler, said last week, “People are wrong when they think Christianity is a religion. Christianity is not a religion – it is a relationship, a relationship with Jesus Christ,”
Harry Emerson Fosdick told the story of a college student who came to him for counseling. The student asked, “What is the least I must do to be a Christian.”
Ugh! You see the question itself is bad.
To be a Christian means surrendering your life to God in Jesus Christ. It means everything.