Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Pharisees Question Jesus About Divorce

Mark 10:1-12

“And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.  And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.” (Mark 10:1-2)

Jesus traveled south from Galilee on the east side of the Jordan.  As he came into Judea, the area was more populated, and he was recognized.   Crowds began to assemble, and Jesus took the time to teach them as was his habit.  The Pharisees were trying to trick him into saying something they could distort and use to discredit him, in much the same way many liberals try to get President Trump to say things they can use against him.  Unfortunately the President sometimes falls for their tricks.    Jesus did not. 

“And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?

And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.” (Mark 10:3-4)

They had asked if divorce was legal.  Jesus asked them what the law said.  If they knew and practiced the law like the claimed, this shouldn’t even be a question, because it was quite specific.   They admitted the law provided for divorce provided it was done in a specified manner.  Clearly they already knew the answer to their question and didn’t need to have a hearing to find out the answer. 
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Mark 10:5-9)

The Pharisees considered themselves better and more godly than other people.   Jesus went on to explain that while the law permitted divorce because people were so determined to have their own way, God’s standard was much higher.  Marriage was the result of God’s action, and no human entity, either church or government, had the authority to break it.  They become one flesh, and no legal action can ever end the emotional hurts caused by separation.  Even following the law was not enough to make one Godly, as Paul explains in Romans 3:20.  “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”   The law only established a minimum standard of what was acceptable, not the ideal.   

“And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.  And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.  And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” (Mark 10:10-12)

The disciples were concerned about what Jesus was saying and asked him more.  Jesus said that leaving ones mate and marrying someone else was adultery, just the same as having an affair, even though the law permitted it.  As Matthew 19:10 tells us, the disciples concluded that if the were the case, it would be better to never marry, if there was no way to get out of it.  Jesus pointed out that not everyone could be expected to keep such a commitment.  

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