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Matthew 19.1 - 12

posted 23 Dec 2013, 01:49 by Ben@theorderoftheblacksheep.com
After Jesus had finished His teaching about forgiveness, He left Galilee and He went to the section of Judea on the other side of the Jordan River. Large crowds followed Him, and when He got to Judea, He set about healing them.

The religious leaders who are eyeing the crowds and watching the healings decide it is again time to try to trip up Jesus.

So some Pharisees approached Jesus and asked Him this tricky question about divorce:

Pharisees: Is it ever lawful for a man to divorce his wife?

Jesus: Haven’t you read that in the beginning God created humanity male and female?[a] Don’t you remember what the story of our creation tells us about marriage? “For this reason, a man will leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”[b] If a husband and wife are one flesh, how can they divorce? Divorce would be a bloody amputation, would it not? “What God has brought together, let no man separate.”

Pharisees: Why did Moses explain that if a man leaves his wife, then he must give her a certificate of divorce and send her away, free and clear of him?

Jesus: Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But divorce was an innovation, an accommodation to a fallen world. There was no divorce at creation. Listen, friends: if you leave your wife, unless there is adultery, and then marry another woman, you yourself are committing adultery. Only if there is adultery can you divorce your wife.

Why? Because adultery itself is the divorce. Adultery is the thing that breaks the bond of marriage. Just as an excommunication merely recognizes the fact that someone has already been removed from the people, a divorce merely legalizes what harlotry has created. But should someone leave his wife for any other reason—because he has nothing to say to her, because she continually burns his food, because she is profligate with the household resources, because he simply cannot stand the sight of her—this is outside of the message Jesus offers here. If we behave as if a marriage has been undone—indeed, some may believe that a marriage has been undone—then we are deluding ourselves. In the eyes of God, the marriage bonds still hold a man to his wife.

Disciples: 10 If this is how it is, then it is better to avoid marrying in the first place.

Jesus: 11 Not everyone can hear this teaching, only those to whom it has been given. 12 Some people do not marry, of course. Some people are eunuchs because they are born that way, others have been made eunuchs by men, and others have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who can embrace that call should do so.