On the Reason for Marriage and the Difficulty of Divorce.

0

daily text logoJuly 22, 2015

Mark 10:1-12

Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.

2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.

4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied.6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

CONSIDER THIS

new-truth

In today’s text, Jesus continues his journey to Jerusalem. He’s teaching along the way when a group of Pharisees approach him with this question:

“Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”

They put Jesus on the spot, attempting to get him to position himself. Remember John, that prophet who lost his head over his conviction about marriage and divorce. It looks like the Pharisees are trying to get Jesus caught up in that controversy; maybe there’s another beheading service just around the corner.

Jesus lays a bit of a trap for his trappers.

3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.

4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”

Now that Deuteronomy 24:1 is in play, Jesus takes them to school with his skills of interpreting Scripture by Scripture. He’s not going to go tit-for-tat, litigating Mosaic law. No, Jesus goes for the proverbial jugular, turning all the way back to Scroll #1 and Creation, i.e. Genesis 1:27-28 & Genesis 2:24.

5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied.6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Did you note that move from the letter of the law to the spirit behind it; that bit about “hard heartedness”? Divorce is not the Creational intention of God. The law made allowance for it via post Eden legislation and mostly as a measure of protection for women, but divorce is never God’s best.

Many reading along today have likely been through a divorce, and in most cases they could reference the inevitability of irreconcilability. Just as divorce was never God’s intention, no one who has been divorced would claim it was ever their intention. In a broken world, things break despite our best intentions and efforts. For those who have been divorced, you need not live under condemnation but “in Christ,” where condemnation has been crucified. Our God brings beauty from ashes and new beginnings from broken promises.

(Permit me a pastoral word of caution: while reconciliation of a marriage may not have been possible, working through forgiveness is essential. Remember, unforgiveness is akin to drinking poison and expecting it to kill the other person.

For those reading along who may be in a difficult moment of marriage let me offer these words of grace.

Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s creational intent for those who he calls to marry. The covenant of marriage, which is a fiery hot crucible, is designed to withstand all the chaos human brokenness can bring. Given time and patience and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, nothing is impossible with God. The chaos of conflict can only be reconciled at the foot of the Cross.

A learned woman once remarked to me that there were four movements of the transforming grace of God. 1. Justification. 2. Sanctification. 3. Marriage. 4. Children

Another learned man put it like this: “Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener.”

Back in the days before he married, my friend Chris Tomlin recounted to me a conversation he had with Stephen Curtis Chapman about marriage. Chapman said to Chris, “Can I tell you what marriage is? Marriage is when God gets your life on an anvil and beats the #@%* out of you.” (Note– it’s a different story when one’s spouse beats the #!%* out of the other– don’t walk away– run!)

I love how Jesus picks up the language of “For this reason,” only he doesn’t explicitly identify the reason. My take? The reason is this: Marriage, like no other institution on Earth, holds the capacity to reveal the glory of God through the practice of suffering love.

SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD, FALL AFRESH ON ME.

NOTE TO READERS: The Daily Text entry above, while helpful to many has caused pain for others. To that end I want to note my own lack of sensitivity to the issue of spousal abuse in marriages. It has been brought to my attention that persons suffering in an abusive marriage find the terminology of “suffering love” particularly unhelpful. I think the correction I would like to issue would be this one. If you find yourself in an abusive marital relationship, all bets are off. Seek help. Take refuge. As hard as it may seem, extricate yourself from the situation. There are many resources available to help in these situations, one of which is the organization which contacted me.

P.S. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge. It’s 40 days, one day per week at a time, over the next 52 weeks. It’s a food only fast. Begins after supper on one day and ends at 4pm the next- 2 meals. Liquids fine. Fasting goes better together. I’ll send you a short weekly encouragement email if you register.– sign up here.

LEND YOUR ENDORSEMENT TO THE DAILY TEXT. Consider sharing a witness of the difference being made in your life through the Daily Text. People follow people because of other people. Leave your endorsement here when you’re ready. And thank you.

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

NO COMMENTS