1 And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again; and again, as his custom was, he taught them. 2 And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" 3 He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" 4 They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away." 5 But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, `God made them male and female.' 7 `For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 10 And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 And he said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."
Meditation: What is God's intention for our state in
life, whether married or single? Jesus deals with the issue of
divorce by taking his hearers back to the beginning of creation
and to God's plan for the human race. In Genesis 2:23-24 we see
God's intention and ideal that two people who marry should become
so indissolubly one that they are one flesh. That ideal is found
in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve. They were created for
each other and for no one else. They are the pattern and symbol
for all who were to come.
We belong to God and not to ourselves
Jesus explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal. Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands. Jesus, likewise sets the high ideal for those who freely renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:11-12). Both marriage and celibacy are calls from God to live a consecrated life, that is to live as married couples or as singles who belong not to themselves but to God. Our lives are not our own - they belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19b,20; Romans 14:7-8).
The Lord Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit gives the grace and the power to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life. His grace and power bring freedom, discipline, and strength to live a life of love, joy, and holiness. Do you seek the Lord and his grace (his strength and power) in your state of life?
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with mercy and compassion,
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy.
9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger for ever.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Mutual servants, equally serving, by Tertullian, 160-225 A.D.
"Where are we to find language adequately to express the happiness of that marriage which the church cements, the oblation confirms, the benediction signs and seals, the angels celebrate, and the Father holds as approved? For all around the earth young people do not rightly and lawfully wed without their parents' consent. What kind of yoke is that of two believers who share one hope, one desire, one discipline, one service? (Ephesians 4:4) They enjoy kinship in spirit and in flesh. They are mutual servants with no discrepancy of interests. Truly they are 'two in one flesh' (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31). Where the flesh is one, the spirit is one as well. Together they pray, together bow down, together perform their fasts, mutually teaching, mutually entreating, mutually upholding. In the church of God they hold an equal place. (Romans 12:15; 15:6; Galatians 3:28; 1 Corinthians 12:12) They stand equally at the banquet of God, equally in crises, equally facing persecutions, and equally in refreshments. Neither hides anything from the other. Neither neglects the other. Neither is troublesome to the other (Philippians 1:27)."(excerpt from TO HIS WIFE 2.8)