SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Some Pharisees come to Jesus to get his perspective on the subject of divorce. Jesus quotes from the creation narrative in Genesis and adds the conclusion, “What God has joined together, let man not separate.” But the Pharisees want the conditions for legal divorce, so they ask why Moses permitted it. Jesus tells them it was because their hearts were hard and that’s not the way it should be. Then he adds that anyone who divorces for reasons other than cheating, and then proceeds to marry a different person, commits adultery. This shows us that a certificate of divorce doesn’t mean anything to God unless one spouse commits adultery. These words of Jesus may be difficult to stomach because we all know that, in marriage, people and situations change. However, if God tells us to remain married then he also plans on helping us with it.
- A group of children are brought to Jesus and he’s asked to pray for them. The disciples try to get the kids away but Jesus lets them come to him.
- A wealthy young man asks Jesus what he must do to get eternal life. Jesus talks about the ten commandments and, after he hears that the man has kept all of them, he says, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” The man turned away sad because he had great wealth. Jesus didn't make this demand of other rich people he met, but he knew that this particular man loved his money more than anything else, and it would stand in the way of his loving God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- So is God expecting us to remain married even though it’s horrible and painful?! Yes and no. If spouses are willing to submit themselves to God and invite him into their marriage then God will turn it in to something beautiful. If your spouse won’t submit to God, you must consistently go to Him for healing and the power to continue following Jesus. If you’re divorced, God won’t reject you; go to Him for forgiveness and healing, and perhaps consider reconciliation with your spouse. Marriage is important to God and is an illustration of our relationship with him. If we trust God, there is hope for our marriages.
- It's easy to let something else take God's place in our lives. Something else that we start to obsess over, look to for satisfaction, and do just about anything to get. However, nothing but God can be a good god for our lives. Anything else we live for is too small. That's part of the reason God insists that he be number one in our lives, and we move anything else out of our top spot.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- If your marriage is in a difficult place, instead of considering divorce as an option, commit to staying married and fully seek God's help.
- Do you ever feel the tension of possessions or wealth pulling you away from Jesus? What things vie for your attention and threaten to take Jesus’ rightful place in your life? What do you need to let go of? And what would it look like for you to truly let Jesus be first in your life? Tell God you want that, and ask him to help you make it a reality.