Teaching about Divorce
1When Jesus finished teaching, he left Galilee and went to the part of Judea east of the Jordan River. 2Large crowds followed him, and he healed their sick.
3Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. They came up to him and asked, “Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
4 Jesus answered, “Don't you know in the beginning the Creator made a man and a woman? 5 That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. 6Then they are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple God has joined together.”
7 The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Why did Moses say a man could write out divorce papers and send his wife away?”
8Jesus replied, “You are so heartless! That's why Moses allowed you to divorce your wife. But from the beginning God did not intend it to be that way. 9 I say if your wife has not committed some terrible sexual sin, you must not divorce her to marry someone else. If you do, you are unfaithful.”
10The disciples said, “If that's how it is between a man and a woman, it's better not to get married.”
11Jesus told them, “Only those people who have been given the gift of staying single can accept this teaching. 12Some people are unable to marry because of birth defects or because of what someone has done to their bodies. Others stay single in order to serve God better. Anyone who can accept this teaching should do so.”
Jesus Blesses Little Children
(Mark 10.13-16; Luke 18.15-17)
13Some people brought their children to Jesus, so he could place his hands on them and pray for them. His disciples told the people to stop bothering him. 14But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don't try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God's kingdom.” 15After Jesus had placed his hands on the children, he left.
When a man and a woman enter into marriage, the commitment is for life. “… And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together” (v 6).
Jesus left Galilee for Judea, where he came upon a group of Pharisees. Verse 3 says that the Pharisees wanted to test Jesus on the subject of marriage and divorce.
They came up to him and asked, “Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
During this time, two influential Rabbis – Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai – attempted to sway people into their way of thinking. Rabbi Shammai held a stricter view and taught that divorce was only permissible when sexual impropriety occurred. Rabbi Hillel held a more liberal view and taught that a man could divorce his wife for any reason. Divorce was justified if a wife demonstrated improper conduct in front of relatives, if she burned dinner or if she spoke to another man. The Rabbi Hillel’s approach to divorce was the popular view at the time.
The Pharisees intended to trap Jesus so they could ridicule and criticize him, but he retorted with an answer they did not expect. Jesus made reference to the beginning of creation (v 4). He emphasized God’s intention for man and woman to become one. He shared how not everyone will marry but those who do become one flesh.
But Jesus also had a concern for women of the day who were often treated as property. He explained that the law of Moses protected both the woman and her children.
God’s desire for husband and wife to stay married is so valued and foundational that it aptly depicts the relationship between Christ and his bride—the Church (Ephesians 5:23-32).
Father God, At creation you laid the foundation for family. Preserve rocky relationships and struggling marriages, Lord. Help us realize the holiness of commitment and how precious family is to you. We know joy and contentment will bring harmony to our homes as a result. In the name of Christ we rejoice.