< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: What Jesus Said About Divorce

Monday, May 07, 2012

What Jesus Said About Divorce

Mark 10: 1-12 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 has gone from Galilee to Judea and some Pharisees test Him with a question about divorce. Jesus quotes Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 in His answer:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

And That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 is a well known verse showing this. “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

One of the reasons He hates it is because it always brings suffering and misery.

Jesus teaches here that marriage is God’s design and God’s institution. God created married couples to stay together. Man created divorce. But that doesn’t mean divorce is any worse then any other sin. There are three examples in scripture where God actually ordained divorce.

Ezra 10: 3, 11 and 44 Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives. And All these had married foreign women, and some of them had children by these wives.

Where His people had married foreigners, which they weren’t supposed to do because it would dilute their faith. They might easily begin to worship their spouse’s gods; follow their ways.

Jeremiah 3:8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.

God actually divorced Israel because she was cheating on Him!

Matthew 1:18-19 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

Joseph planned to divorce Mary because it looked like she had committed adultery – but the Bible still calls him a righteous man.

God allows divorce under two circumstances.

1.      Adultery. Mark 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

2.      Abandonment. 1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

God’s not saying we should divorce under those circumstances. Just that we can.

But as Christians we are to try – hard! – to make it work and here are some suggestions to do that:

1.      Fight the desire to divorce.

2.      Love your enemies – even if it’s your spouse!

3.      Forgive 70x7 times

4.      Read James 1:2-5. It’s about persevering in trials.

5.      Go to a Biblical counselor for help.

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