Lesson 50

The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

Today's Scripture

10:1 He arose from there and came into the borders of Judea and beyond the Jordan. Multitudes came together to him again. As he usually did, he taught them again. 10:2 Pharisees came to him testing him, and asked him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

10:3 He answered, "What did Moses command you?"

10:4 They said, "Moses allowed a certificate of divorce to be written, and to divorce her."

10:5 But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart, he wrote you this commandment. 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation, 'God made them male and female. 10:7 For this cause will a man leave his father and mother, and will join to his wife, 10:8 and the two will become one flesh,' so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. 10:9 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

10:10 In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter. 10:11 He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her. 10:12 If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery."  

Today's Lesson

In Today's Scripture the Pharisee's invoke another "test" on Jesus and His teaching. They were constantly testing Jesus for several reasons. Some of the Pharisees were sincerely interested in serving God and wanted to know if Jesus was a true prophet come from God. We must remember that even though the Pharisees as a group were one of the instigators in the death of Jesus, individual Pharisees believed in Jesus and many of them ended up in the early church. But, while some of the Pharisees were sincerely interested in Jesus' response, others in their midst were only interested in tripping Him up. They wanted Him to make a mistake and to make some tragic theological mistake.


So they come to Jesus on this occasion and ask Jesus whether it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Most of the time, when people are attempting to trap Jesus, He would answer their question with one of His own. In this case Jesus asked them, "What did Moses command you?" They told Him that Moses allowed divorce and Jesus did not dispute this statement so it must have been the case with them.


But, Jesus tells them that Moses gave them this commandment because the hearts of the people were hardened. God intended all marriages to be forever. "Whatever therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." This is not the first time that Jesus proclaims something that appears to be even tougher than the Mosaic Law. Moses had told them "Thou shalt not commit adultery" but Jesus told them that whoever looked on a woman with lust committed adultery with her in his heart. Moses told them "Thou shalt not kill" but Jesus told them that whoever became enraged with another committed murder in their hearts. Jesus often placed people under obligations that were even tougher than the Mosaic Law.


In verses 10-12 we are told that the disciples asked Jesus about this teaching in private. We are given a more theologically detailed explanation here that is nonetheless consistent with what He told the Pharisees. A man that divorces and remarries commits adultery. The same is true for a woman who remarries. Marriage is so important to God that Jesus places it in a very high position. Marriage is a symbol of the love that God has for His people and is also a representation of the relationship between Christ and His church. For this reason, marriage should not be entered into lightly. The commitment between a man and a woman should be indissoluble. Our commitment to each other represents our commitment to God.


Later, dealing with problems in the early church, Paul also gives a long discussion about divorce. There Paul goes into various situations and how Christians should respond to troubled marriages. The teachings of Paul and the teachings of Jesus are not inconsistent, but we will cover that aspect whenever we study I Corinthians.


Do you know people who demonstrate a marriage that is like Jesus speaks about in this passage? Can you see what God is trying to show us in the relationship between a man and a woman? Are you willing to be committed to another person as much as you are willing to be committed to God?


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