10 Jesus left that place and went into the area of Judea and across the Jordan River. Again crowds of people came to him. As usual, he taught them. 2 Some Pharisees came to test Jesus. They asked, “Does the Law allow a man to divorce his wife?” 3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied. 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a letter of divorce and send her away.” 5 “You were stubborn. That’s why Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ (Genesis 1:27) 7 ‘That’s why a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. 8 The two of them will become one.’ (Genesis 2:24) They are no longer two, but one. 9 So no one should separate what God has joined together.” 10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “What if a man divorces his wife and gets married to another woman? He commits adultery against her. 12 And what if she divorces her husband and gets married to another man? She commits adultery.”
In today’s church, particularly in the West, anyone who speaks on verses 10–12 is likely to be called cruel, unfeeling, unforgiving, exclusive… So many people are bruised by the whole experience of marriage breakdown that to raise the topic, let alone to take a strong line on it, seems almost ‘unchristian’. Yet Jesus is clear that He sees divorce in a very dim light. Why so? Because marriage is not a thing of convenience, it is not a mere social construct. Marriage reflects God’s love for His people and as such should never be entered into lightly, nor fulfilled with anything less than 100% commitment.
Some object stating they grew ‘out of love’ – which reflects the nature of the commitment the couple did not establish. Others try their level best and the relationship breaks down. It is in this light that we read and sense the heart of Jesus – that He is for people and wants the absolute best for them, which means if they are married they should remain so – but they must together work on their marriage – it is NEVER simply one person’s fault the breakdown of a marriage.
Marriage as the Bible describes it is a holy relationship that reflects God’s great sacrificial love for His people.
Father, help us to uphold marriage in the light that you would have us to and so reflect your love and glory.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta