Monday 21 March 2022

Matthew 19:1-12

1 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.”

Jesus had been busy teaching the people and then healing many when the pharisees came “to test him”. Their challenge to Jesus, after witnessing such amazing miracles, reveals their hardness of heart. They were not looking for a genuine answer to the question of divorce but were trying to catch him out.

Jesus shows that God’s good design was for a man and a woman to marry and remain committed for life. Divorce was only permitted by Moses “because of hard hearts”. It is an uncomfortable truth that hard-heartedness/sin of some sort is involved in every divorce. However, getting divorced is not an unforgiveable sin as some would have us believe. Sometimes (such as in domestic abuse) separation is the right answer.

In discussing hardness of heart, I suspect that Jesus sees right through the pharisees and is challenging them to recognize the state of their own hearts.

So, I am prompted to ask myself some questions:

  • Where is my heart hard?
  • How can I bless my husband in our marriage?
  • How can I best love and support those who have gone through the pain of divorce?

Father, please examine my heart and challenge me when I need to change. Please help me to have a soft heart. Help me to love and support others without judging.

Amen

Written by Megan Cornell

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