Mark 10 1-16 is a challenging text. Even reading it in our culture it’s offensive, a hard pill to
swallow, and makes us all together uncomfortable. Of course it does, we live in an age where
the divorce is normal. 41% of first marriages end in divorce, 60% of second and 73% of 3rd . It’s
become very normal in our lives. And maybe we could say this is collapse of society, or a mark
of the end of days or the plan to break up to family to make us reliant on the government.
maybe… or… we could say that people doing whatever was right in their own eyes is a tale as
old as mankind, And that divorce of married people is nothing new. It’s not new to this
generation, not to the previous generation, even back to When Jesus walked the earth, this was
a new issue… but just as it is today, it’s a hot button issue.
We get a peek into the tension of this in Mark 10. Notice verse 2, the pharisees came up
in order to test Jesus. This is not seeking advice, or counsel, or wisdom, this is trying to trap him, testing him.
It’s like they are trying to put Jesus in a lose-lose situation. People are gathered around, and
they drop this little bomb. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
They know, the law of Moses is pretty specific on when couples are allowed to divorce,
it’s just most people didn’t like that, and thus didn’t obey. The law of Moses shows us the
holiness of God, and when we can’t reach it, it’s very normal to get angry at it.
See in Jesus’ day, there were two basic schools of thought. One school of thought was a
more constrictive view that thought the only grounds for divorce was adultery. The second school
was far more liberal and was more like any indecency was ground fordivorce. Which was all
together pretty easy to find any indecency. It was a gross twisting of Deut 24:1. For the most
part the phrases followed the conservative view, and the people followed the most liberal
interpretation. And thus is the tension.
If Jesus agrees with the Pharisees, the crowd gets angry with him (which is something
Jesus wasn’t scared of, as he wasn’t trying to simply gain their approval), but in the Pharisees'
mind was a win. If Jesus agreed with the people, then he disagreed with Levitical law.
So Jesus asks a brilliant question. What Does Moses command you?
Essentially he asks two things, did you even read the book? I mean come on! Second, what does
Moses command you, did Moses ever command you to get divorced?
To which the Pharisees instantly quote Deuteronomy 24. Moses allowed a man to write
a certificate of divorce. These words are important. The Pharisees use the word allowed, not command. Moses,
the law, the old testament doesn’t command divorce. It commands honor, respect, holiness, a full submission of ones’ self to an all together
holy and loving God. The Whole Levitical law was in place to guide and show people what a life
lived in full and compete worship looked like. In full and compete worship to a God who
pledged himself to a rebellious and adulterous people and stuck with them, and with us
through all our brokenness there is not command to separate what God has joined together.
But the continual call to love, care, cherish, and live as Christ did, and does to each other in
And Jesus straight tells them, because of the hardness and stubbornness of hearts he
wrote this allowance. Because he knew we would screw it up, because he knew our heart and
rebelliousness would not submit to mercy and grace of God, nor would we would be able to
fully live out this kind of love with another, he allowed it. But never commanded. It is the desire of God for reconciliation, repentance, oneness to
grow and thrive.
Now this is a huge topic with so many difference verses woven through scripture but for
today, lets focus on the truth that the relationship Jesus has with his people is one of
conventional, and marital in affect. That God promises to be our, and that we will be his. That
his bride is the church, and that through the gift of marriage we are given insight into the
relationship he has with his people. Chosen, loved, through good and bad, through brokenness
and sins, through joy and pain he continues to peruse, love, and cherish his bride.
His love, is what drives us to repentance, and reconciliation with our spouses, his love is
what drives us to value our spouse above all other people, his love cultivates in us a deep
forgiveness. His love takes two, and makes one.
Just as he has done with us in Him.