Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teaching on Marriage and Divorce (Mark 10:1-12)

In between the second and third predictions of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the discipleship teachings that accompany them, we get some further teachings of Jesus regarding marriage, children, and riches. The first of these—Jesus’ teaching on marriage—is some of the clearest teaching in the Bible. Not simple—in fact very far from it—but clear.

Jesus is asked about divorce as a means of entrapping Him. It was a hot topic in Jesus context because of the infamous divorces of Herod and his current wife. (She had in fact divorced Herod’s brother in order to marry Herod.) The issue had already cost John his life. Jesus diverts the issue a bit by asking what Moses had taught. However, Jesus expounds on the Law in a way that was controversial then, and is still unpopular today.

Divorce is allowed because it is a product of sin that could make matters worse in the absence of its regulation. Places where divorce is outlawed have very messy familial and relationship issues. God never intended of marriage to be disposable, but since sin makes it so He wants the issue as manageable as possible. Ideally, however, God designed marriage for life. Jesus later clarifies that, while sin creates a need for divorce—and it is allowed in that context—the marriage is insoluble in Gods eyes and remarriage is adultery. That is a hard standard that most followers of Christ choose to ignore these days.

(The qualifications elsewhere in the Gospels that some use as a get-out-of-jail-free clause are not that, but those statements will be expounded upon if I ever get to those texts in their context.)

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