19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. 2 Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. 3 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” 10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
God’s care for women is demonstrated here, as Jesus will not condone the accepted practice which allowed men to divorce their wives for whatever reason they wanted to. Women of that time did not have the same powers as men, and if the husband decided to divorce her, she could potentially be left with little or no financial support or recourse. Jesus is quite direct in saying to the men that this is not acceptable, except in the case of adultery.
This is yet another example of God’s care for all people equally, and the foundation of our modern understanding of gender equality.
When I read Jesus’ responses in the Bible, I always feel like I am in safe hands. His answers to questions are wise, loving and direct, and make sense of the world. What a radical difference Jesus has made to those who have followed Him and His teachings.
Jesus, we are forever grateful.
Written by Shelley Witt