Some Pharisees approached Jesus to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
It’s never a good idea to test Jesus. Here’s how he responded:
“Haven’t you read ,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘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 flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
The disciples said to Jesus, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others — and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
(Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12)
Marriage is a marvelous, majestic and mysterious thing. Somehow, two people become one with God’s help. That blessed union should never ever ever ever be broken lightly.
The law under Moses allowed divorce (see Deuteronomy 24:1-4, for example) in limited circumstances. It certainly wasn’t commanded — it was a concession to human sinfulness.
Jesus deeeeepened the law by saying, “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
Jesus is after our ♥s. He commands us to love our neighbor as ourself. There aren’t many closer “neighbors” than a spouse living right under your own roof. He even commanded us to love our enemies. That means we should love our spouse even if they do something truly awful like neglect to replace the toilet paper roll.
Imagine a world where people actually (1) let the Holy Spirit fill their ♥s with love, (2) let that love overflow into every aspect of their marriage and (3) stay together through good times, bad times, sickness, health and everything else on this planet ’til “death do us part”?
It’d be a a beautiful thing.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / Matthew Benoit)