It’s a very complicated issue, and I’m not going to fully deal with it in this post. I’m merely going to explain what Jesus is saying to those who asked Him a question. There are plenty of books and articles you can obtain if you want to get deeper into this subject.
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.
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
Clearly, the Pharisees were trying to cause trouble for Jesus. The question they asked was; is it right for a man to divorce his wife? So Jesus is about to answer a question in terms of right and wrong.
As He frequently did with people who should know better, the Lord answered their question with another question.
“What did Moses command you?” he replied.
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
These two statements really explain everything that characterized the Pharisees. Jesus asked what Moses commanded. They answered with what he permitted.
That’s actually what many Christians ask about in our generation. Many times I’ve been asked, “Pastor, can I still be a Christian and go to Heaven if I … ?” You can fill in the blank with anything you want. What they were really asking is; how far into the world can I get and still go to Heaven?
The problem with that thinking is that it misses the point of salvation. It’s not about making it to Heaven. My life in Christ is about becoming who God created me to be.
So Jesus answered His question for them by quoting Moses’ commands from the book of Genesis.
“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
Jesus takes the Pharisees back to Moses’ original commands before the law was given. We see the will of God in this matter. Throughout the Bible, God shows that He hates divorce.
It was later on that the law gave permission and requirements for divorce. The reason was not that divorce was acceptable to God, but that people were going to do it with or without His permission. Paul explained it this way…
What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.
Like I said, this post is not about fully investigating divorce in Scripture. Instead, it’s about the lesson Jesus was trying to get across to the Pharisees.
As in all areas of life, my goal should never be to see how much I can get away with and still be a Christian. I should be trying to please God with every fiber of my being.
Question: How does this truth apply to areas other than divorce?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi