He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again.
Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?”
They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.”
But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Today’s passage deals with an issue that just as relevant now as it was when Jesus spoke these words to the religious leaders of his day. In fact I would argue that it is more relevant now then it was in Jesus’, simply because it is so much easier to get divorced now then it was in Jesus’ day. And it is so much easier now because we as a people have forgotten, or chose to ignore the vows that you made to each other on your wedding day. Vows that probably sounded something like this:
Will you have this man to be your husband; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?
Will you have this woman to be your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?
You see the vows that you exchanged on the day you got married are for a life long commitment. It was not a commitment to stay together so long as things remained good and everything was going according to your plan. We must remember that God always intended marriage to be a life long commitment to growing together. And the only reason that God permitted Moses to even allow for the issuing of “divorce papers” because he knew that the people of Israel were not ready or willing to make the commitment to loving each that it takes to make a marriage last for a lifetime. And that is the whole key to divorce is the lack of love.
The kind of love that I am talking about here is not romantic or sentimental love, that is only based on emotions. No, the kind of love that I am talking about is a love that involves your emotions, but more importantly involves your ability to think and to reason, and more specifically to make a choice. When you enter into the covenant of marriage you are willing choosing to love your spouse “warts and all”. And it is only when we begin to view marriage in this way that divorce rates will drop and people will begin to start taking their marriage vows seriously.
Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:
Leviticus 24:1-25:46, Mark 10:13-31, Psalm 44:9-26 and Proverbs 10:20-21