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.”
Divorce was a hot topic in Jesus’s day and still is. The Pharisees in this passage are continuing to test Jesus, trying to set him up to fail however Jesus brings them back to what God had originally intended for marriage. Relationship together before God. There are also all sorts of cultural things going on here in the male dominated society, but Jesus knows we are all sinful people and points out that Moses allowed divorce because of hardened hearts.
Sin is a hardening of our hearts going against Gods way or commands for our lives, to control what we want, when we want it and how we want it and really, how much of being self-centred can we ‘get away with’.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to look at the whole of scripture when dealing with hard passages. A good guide for any relationship whether marriage or not is 1 Cor 13:4-7; 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Of course, we cannot govern what another may do, but I need to sift my heart and relationships through these verses to ensure that my self-centredness doesn’t take over and my heart doesn’t harden towards another, as this will only set me against God and his highest for my life. I know that I have certainly fallen short in this.
Father God, help! Relationships can be hard. You know that I have fallen short many times in my responses when hurt or proud or just plain self-serving, I have not acted in the ways of love toward others, I have hardened my heart, forgive me. Lord thank you for your mercy, may I be courageous enough to keep kindness, care and love towards others always at the forefront in my relationships. Amen
Written by Suzie Hodgson