Saturday 1 August, 2015
10 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.”
Jesus commonly taught the crowds, we read here it was his custom. We do not know what He was teaching about on this occasion but some Pharisees decided to quiz Him, the Scripture says to test Him, which reveals their motive. They chose to quiz Jesus on the issue of divorce, a thorny issue then, a thorny issue now! Jesus’ response is straightforward – He asks them what they knew and understood. They give a factual response, although incomplete, as Jesus points out. He leaves it at their understanding with the addition of the Biblical clarification He gives.
It is common that people try to test our beliefs, try to catch us out one way or another. Jesus’ technique diffuses the situation by engaging the protagonists revealing their understanding. Jesus, then made plain His understanding and the reasons for the allowance of divorce by Moses, which the Pharisees would have been familiar with. This removes the argument element.
We can get defensive in arguments and make a whole lot of presumptions. I love Jesus technique here as it reminds me to not only listen to a question but seek to understand the position and the reasons why of another person before adding my thinking. this is respectful of them and informative for me in the process.
Father, help me to clearly communicate, beginning with active listening and then clarification of what a person believes and why so that I may truly be able to answer the questions that come my way.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
Thanks Richard, this was really helpful and practical. I love the way it takes the argument out and seeks to rest the discussion on truth which is not on anyone’s side, it just is.