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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mark 10:2-12 (Sermon for the week of October 8th)

Mark 10:2-12

The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?"
They were testing him.
He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?"
They replied, "Moses permitted a husband to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her."
But Jesus told them,
"Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment.
But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
So they are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate."
In the house the disciples again questioned Jesus about this.
He said to them,
"Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."


This weeks Gospel reading is short but loaded with knowledge. The Pharisee's who were the religious "righteous" of the day asked Jesus the question if it is lawful for a husband to divorce
his wife. This question was asked in order to bring controversy and ridicule to Jesus. The Pharisees knew what their answer was, but at this time, there were two schools of thought about the issue of divorce and it was a controversal topic. The Pharisees knew that if Jesus took a position on the issue, they could then try to weaken Jesus' minsitry and bring His wisdom down a notch. This is another opportunity to realize that these Pharisees had ill itentions from the beginning and couldn't recognize the Messiah even if He slapped them across the face.

The Messiah, Jesus, answered on a totally different level than the Pharisees expected. Let's look at His answer more in-depth...

First, in reagrds to the controversy mentioned earlier about divorce among the Jews was that there was a school of Jewish thought that taught that no man should divorce his wife and then there was a school of thought that a man could divorce his wife if he was unhappy. Trivial reasons were given for divorce in this second school of thought.
These two schools of Jewish thought were oppossed in a way that seemed to strike divisions within Jewish society. It was a controversy in which a person had to decide which side of the issue they were on, and once decided, the other half opposed you. Hence, the reason the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with this question.

Second, Jesus' answer "What did Moses command you?" and the Pharisees replied that Moses permitted a husband to divorce his wife. This is not correct.
The Pharisees are referring to:
Deut 24:1-4 which states:
When a man, after marrying a woman and having relations with her,
is later displeased with her because he finds in her something indecent,
and therefore he writes out a bill of divorce and hands it to her, thus dismissing
her from his house:

if on leaving his house she goes and becomes the wife of another man,
and the second husband, too, comes to dislike her and dismisses her from
his house by handing her a written bill of divorce; or if this second man
who has married her, dies;

then her former husband, who dismissed her, may not again take her as his
wife after she has become defiled. That would be an abomination before the LORD,
and you shall not bring such guilt upon the land which the LORD, your God,
is giving you as a heritage.

This passage describes a man who has already written a bill of divorce (it has not been discussed why or what happened and if the man acted righteously), and if that divorced wife marry's another man and this second husband dies, the first husband cannot take this wife back and remarry her...it is an abomination...not instructions for a divorce!

This is the knowledge behind Jesus' reply to the Pharisees... that Moses gave them this commandment from Deut 24:1-4 because of the hardness of a mans heart that felt compelled to write a bill of divorce. Isn't that what is behind divorce?
A hardness of heart? What makes people divorce? Adultery? Domestic violence? Alcoholism? Indecency? What indecency? As Jesus stated in this weeks Gospel reading "Because of your hardness of heart"...divorce is the escape hatch and before using the escape hatch you need the direction and guidance of God...and in times when a "hard heart"dominates the actions of the husband or wife. If a man becomes selfish, unforgiving, and angry with some aspect of his life it DOES NOT serve as valid excuses for divorce.

No one ever said in this weeks reading divorce is right. Of you don't agree, I ask that you keep your mind and ears open and read a little more...

Is divorce right? Let's look at it. I will approach the lines that people draw in order to protect themselves and that is my point.

What is the worse thing your husband or wife can do to you? If you are not married you can still answer this question. What is it? Adultery? Physical violence? Lying? What? Whatever the worse thing is that you could imagine...does happen... what will you do? Instant divorce? Is that the "escape hatch"? The minute the other spouse does this act...is that it?? Is God involved in any of this dailogue? Has God been involved at all in the marriage? What happened? What is it?

What's the worst thing you can do to God? Not believe in Him? Insult Him with your words of disbelief and judgement? Not talk to Him? Not care if He exists? Not
care at all about the life you were given and the people around you? Do you even believe in the need for forgiveness? Now let us say that a miracle has happened and their eyes are opened and they seek God's forgiveness? Will God offer it? Will God care? Does God have to forgive you?

He will and He does...is that the same attitude or principal we follow in our lives? Do we have the capacity to forgive the worse things done to us in life just like God forgives the worse things you have done to Him? Do we feel this same way within our marriage?

My point is: to jump to conclusions out of fear or anger and immediately seek a divorce is not the right option. It is not right if God is not involved in this descision...marriage is of the Lord God and the Lord better be involved in your marriage!
Look at divorce today...50% of all marriages end in divorce! That is absurd!
We have been talking about some of the serious issues of adultery and violence... is it a fact that 50% of all marriages end because of adultery or domestic violence...NO!
Are these other reasons for divorce the "trivial" escape hatches Jesus is talking about in reference to a hardened heart? YES.

Jesus does the unthinkable to the Pharisees that probably left their mouths open with shame...he brought the question back to His territory and spoke about the creation
of Adam and Eve. (For all of you evolutionists that believe that the Lord used evolution to create man from an ape will have to call our Lord a liar or the Lord Truth because His statement DOES NOT fit with evolution...sorry!)

The Lord Jesus brings the question back to the IDEAL...back to Adam when Eve was taken from Adam... the two are one. Jesus speaks about Moses and now he speaks about God. GOD created male and female. If Jesus is the Creator...then he is talking about what HE CREATED! LISTEN! God made THEM male and female...soul mates? That is a topic to discuss later. But all of mankind is either male and female. A man shall leave his family to be joined to his wife (PREDESTINED?) and the two shall be one.

I want to brainstorm on some questions that I am not answering right now: WHAT IS THE PREMISE OF YOUR MARRIAGE? HOW DID YOU TWO FIND EACH OTHER? MARRIAGE
IS OF GOD...funny that most cultures do it...ever researched to see where marriage comes from? Do you think that marriage around the world has similarities throughout the ages that transcend time and location? Why marry? Who started marriage?
Is the story of Adam and Eve the oldest story of a husband and wife and were Adam and Eve ever actually married?
If God joined two people together...do you want to be a factor in tearing this union of God apart?

Finally, in the last part of this weeks reading, Jesus speaks about divorce. "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery". I need to point out that Jewish patriarchal society DID NOT recognize adultery as an offense against woman!!
Another hint that Jesus is the Messiah...why would a MAN make such a statement if the society he lives in at the time could care less about adultery against women? Jesus speaks about an offense that the society around Him does not believe but is the norm for our society today!

IS DIVORCE WRONG? According to the statement Jesus just made...YES!
If you divorce and re-marry...you are an adulterer.
The MARRIAGE IDEAL is sacred and in The Lord's hands...allow Him to guide you!
If you find yourself in a divorce or coming out of a divorce...let Him guide you!
There are those who frown and condemn...verily...we are all condemned for our
sins! It is seeking the direction and protection of the Lord Jesus that keeps
our lives on track and this is especially true of marriage.

Jesus paid the ultimate price for your sins and yes, this includes divorce. We strive to do our best and to seek a relationship with God...repent and be forgiven..it is there for the taking. A GIFT FOR YOU. There is a difference between those who act in faith and those who don't. Those who are not acting in faith will listen to this sermon, feel guilt that they are in a divorce, and become stagnant and ridgid in seeking the forgiveness and direction of Our Lord.
Don't talk about it...do something! If you have committed adultery...or have contributed to eroding a marriage...repent and ask forgiveness, seek His guidance and move on in faith! Don't sit there and feel ashamed...

a) If you swear on the bible or take an oath? YOUR CONDEMNED!
b) If you retaliate against someone... YOUR CONDEMNED!
c) If you become really angry...YOUR CONDEMNED!

If you turn to Jesus for forgiveness YOU ARE NOT CONDEMNED! Learn how and do it!

God created man and woman AND marriage. Jesus is calling us to a high vision and with Him it is possible. If we fail to keep the standards, we are reminded of why Jesus had to come here to suffer and die for us...becuase if HE didn't we would all be in some serious trouble.
We MUST seek to attain this ideal and not treat it lightly!

If we are having problems in our marriage...He has given us tools to use:
1) Open His Word, and look for a guidance.
2) Open His Word, and look for forgiveness.
3) Pray and tell Him what is really on your heart.
4) Reach out and talk to other Christians. We all have unique experience with
marriage and relationships...you are not alone in your difficulties!

God bless you and your families this week!



  • Interesting topic. Let me ask you something though… What about the Catholic church letting people annul their marriages? It’s “okay” in their eyes, but not in the eyes of Christians nor other religions. What about those who eat shellfish? That’s considered an abomination, as well as sitting on the couch while a woman is menstruating, lying, having an impure thought or taking the Lord’s name in vain.

    Do you think God put us on this earth only to condemn us? That’s the very reason why He gave us His only son---so that all our sins and inadequacies were forgiven. He knew we couldn’t handle the flesh which we live in.

    None of us are perfect. People get married for the wrong reasons sometimes. Some people get married to realize that they’re no longer in love, or their spouse has a problem with infidelity. God said that if the cause was due to infidelity, that the divorce would be no longer a sin---no longer “adultery” even if the other spouse was alive.

    The most important commandment is this….

    “The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” ~Mark 12:29-31

    God is forgiving. God is love and He’s merciful to those who love Him. God knows your heart. It’s about time we start realizing ‘just that’-----ease up and know that God loves you, and loves those who do make mistakes.

    By Blogger Deb, at 1:11 PM  

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