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Jesus’ habit was to teach about the way God intended things to be. He had a vast number of people that always showed up to hear what He had to say.

  • Jesus knew what He was talking about because He did not do anything but what He saw and heard from His Father.
  • And like so many times, the religious scholars of the day tested him and tried to trip Him up.
  • They tried and tried but it never worked.

Jesus is educating us about the new plan. The new plan is not the way of Moses or the prophets or the old plan. Much of the old plan was because of the us not God. Jesus had a message of good news and the way it was intended to be all along.

Jesus challenges us to understand the way God wants things in His world (Kingdom). Let’s get moving with God’s goals and his new plan.

And he left there and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.[1]

(Mark 10:1-5)

As we study this passage, it is important to note two facts.

First, it was the man who divorced the wife, not the wife who divorced the husband; for women did not have this right in Israel. (Roman women did have the right of divorce.) Second, the official “bill of divorcement” was given to the wife to declare her status and to assure any prospective husband that she was indeed free to remarry. Apart from the giving of this document, the only other requirement was that the woman not return to her first husband if her second husband divorced her. Among the Jews, the question was not, “May a divorced woman marry again?” because remarriage was permitted and even expected. The big question was, “What are the legal grounds for a man to divorce his wife?”

Second, the Law of Moses did not give adultery as grounds for divorce; for, in Israel, the adulterer and adulteress were stoned to death (Deut. 22:22; Lev. 20:10; also see John 8:1–11). Whatever Moses meant by “some uncleanness” in Deuteronomy 24:1, it could not have been adultery.

Jesus explained that Moses gave the divorce law because of the sinfulness of the human heart. The law protected the wife by restraining the husband from impulsively divorcing her and abusing her like an unwanted piece of furniture, instead of treating her like a human being. Without a bill of divorcement, a woman could easily become a social outcast and be treated like a harlot. No man would want to marry her, and she would be left defenseless and destitute.

By giving this commandment to Israel, God was not putting His approval on divorce or even encouraging it. Rather, He was looking to restrain it and make it more difficult for men to dismiss their wives. He put sufficient regulations around divorce so that the wives would not become victims of their husbands’ whims. This is extremely important.

The Master Jesus then took them back beyond Moses to the record of the original Creation (Gen. 1:27; 2:21–25). In the beginning, it was God who set up marriage; and He has the right to make the rules.

God’s goal:

  • According to Scripture, marriage is between a man and a woman, not two men or two women; and the relationship is sacred and permanent.
  • It is the most intimate union in humanity, for the two become one flesh.
  • This is not true of a father and son or a mother and daughter, but it is true of a man and wife.[2]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Mk 10:1–5). (2016). Crossway Bibles.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 144). Victor Books.

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