Mark: According to
Marriage and Divorce
“Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again. 2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wire?’ testing Him.”
I always dislike this discussion of divorce. It is impossible to please all, for any answer given is sure to cause some to be moved with anger and others to rejoice. It really comes down to a matter of the heart.
I consider myself lucky. I have been married to the same wonderful Christian woman for 34 years. It is a long time. It hasn’t always been easy but by God’s grace we have managed to remain faithful to each other and faithful to God.
In the garden of Eden, marriage was instituted on the sixth day while the Sabbath came on the seventh. It would almost seem that God was saying the Sabbath is important for it is My special day to be with all mankind, but marriage is even more important for I instituted it and blessed it before the Sabbath came into existence. There is no indication before the time of Moses that divorce was in existence, but because of sin and the selfishness of mankind, we can rest assured that it had become a part of life, even among God’s chosen people.
Jesus answered the Pharisee’s by asking, “What did Moses command you?”
The Pharisee’s responded by saying “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” 5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. 7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
What is Jesus trying to say to the Pharisees and to us? Is Jesus saying that there cannot be divorce at any time. In God’s original plan before sin, that certainly was the case. But when sin entered the world and selfishness entered the heart of each man and woman who has ever been born, divorce became common and even more so during the time of Christ. Divorce was granted for even the most trivial things.
So, Jesus was asked a tricky question for if He came out and strictly condemned divorce, then he would be breaking the law of Moses which allowed divorce under certain circumstances. Yet Jesus responded by pointing them to the law of Moses as their guide but went a step further by stating the reason it was allowed and stating that it wasn’t part of God’s original plan. Instead it was because of man persistence that God finally permitted divorce on a limited basis.
Later the disciples wanted a clarification about divorce. Under what circumstances was it permitted. Jesus answer this question in verses 11 and 12.
Let’s take this a step farther, not intending to step on anyone’s tows or meddle in their affairs. I realize I am going to create a controversary, but let’s really get down to the heart of why people end up in divorce. The reality is it stems from two separate but related items. First, a lack of both parties to have a committed relationship with God. By in large marriages that fail, fail because one or the other has not put their marriage before God and kept it there with prayer.
The second is like the first in that our own selfish desires and interests get in the way. If I truly want my marriage to succeed, then putting the other person in front of my own needs actual means that my needs get fulfilled because the object of my concern is no longer myself, but the person I am married to. It is when we place our own wants and interests before the needs of the other than trouble begins, descension starts and small problems become part of a bigger problem.
But any relationship, for it so succeed, must be Christ centered and other focused. When the focus of the relationship become me instead of them or we, the relationship is sure to suffer trial if not fail.
The Pharisees attempted to trip Jesus up by having him either condemn or uphold the law concerning divorce, but Jesus showed them it was because of their own selfish desires that God eventually gave in and granted divorce. Let us always remember, the most important thing in any relationship is first having a relationship; with our heavenly Father, who care for fallen humankind so much that he gave of all that He had to reestablish a relationship that mankind himself had selfishly given away.
Other centered relationships and a strong relationship with Christ is the only safeguard against the selfish desires that ruin relationship between husband and wife. The only thing more important than a relationship between husband and wife is their relationship with Christ.