Matthew 19:1–12 (ESV)
Teaching About Divorce
19 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have
you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate
of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say
to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a
man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have
been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
Before I begin to write about this subject, I must admit that Christ’s words are tough in this fallen world. My heart pours out to those who are having marital problems. Jesus’s
words are strict and not very flexible. I honestly wish there were more flexibility in His view on marriage… but this is part of what makes the Law so harsh and impossible and the Gospel that much sweeter. Jesus does not say to get a divorce
if your spouse has been sexually immoral. He gives an exception for divorce, but He pushes repentance and forgiveness. I will always push for repentance and forgiveness to bring about restoration in a marriage. But when that seems impossible…
I must take individuals to the cross… where Jesus died for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus wants us to fight for our marriages. When I work with couples, it begins with the cross. It is a joy when the marriage can be turned around
and focused on Christ. On the flip side, the pain is hard felt by the couple if they are unable to reconcile. The pain is not just with them, but with me too... and many others! Sometimes we give up to quickly or just give in to our own desires
and the ways of the world. My heart pours out, but I must continue to point to the cross and his forgiveness. This is a tough subject, but we cannot candy coat it or ignore it. His words are his words.
I think it is wise to include the words from the Lutheran Study Bible:
Few problems afflict the Church and society more than those of marital infidelity and divorce. Sin has deeply affected our human relationships
to the point that its effects seem normal, but they are not. When questioned about marriage and divorce, Jesus emphasizes that a lifelong, monogamous union is God’s intent for a man and a woman. He instituted marriage to be a gift and a blessing. He
also affirms the value of a single lifestyle. With His forgiveness, grace, and guidance, our relationships can be a blessing.
I pray: Be with all
Christian families, Lord, granting them strength, mutual affection, and the grace to raise their children in faith. Amen.