31 – The Seriousness of Marriage
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. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
- Custom: Usual way of behaving
- Divorce: Breaking a relationship
- Adultery: A physical relationship between a married man/woman with someone who isn’t their wife/husband
What are the things which make marriage important?
What does it mean when we say that in marriage the two people are now one flesh?
For many years, our society has lost sight of how good and serious marriage is. Rather than seeing it as an agreement to spend the rest of our lives with another person by loving and supporting each other in the service of God, a lot of people think that it is something temporary, which they are able to get out of if they change their mind. It’s quite likely that each one of us has seen the sad effects of broken marriages.
Even in Jesus’s day, there were a lot of arguments about when it was acceptable to divorce your wife. Once again, the Pharisees come to Jesus in order to see what he has to say on the matter. To begin with Jesus asks them what the Jewish law says. It is clear that the law (which came through Moses) allows divorce because the hearts of people are hard. Jesus wanted them to see not that which was the lowest standard that God allowed them, but what God really wanted for them. He tells them to remember the way God created people as male and female. Marriage is good because that is the pattern God has arranged – that one man and one woman leave their families and form a new family. These two separate people are fully joined together, by becoming one body, in order to help each other to serve God and to raise children in a loving home.
If this is true, if marriage means you become part of the same body as the other person, then the last thing that ought to be on your mind is to be splitting from that person. Our attitude towards marriage ought to be that we are going to be with the other person until death separates us.
Even more amazingly, other parts of the New Testament teach that marriage is a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ (the husband) and the church (the wife). This picture tells us a lot of things, but seeing the attitude of Jesus towards marriage gives us the certainty that he will never break that relationship.
As we think about the way God created one man and one woman, what does this tell us about the correct relationship between husband and wife?
Why do you think God planned this way to have a relationship?
if God intends you to marry, that he will give you wisdom to choose a companion for life, and strength to continue in that relationship for the rest of your life.