Character of Jesus 62

The Character of Jesus 62

Positions on Divorce

Matthew 19:1 – 12, Mark 10:1 – 12

  • Characteristic: Invoking fundamentals
    • Note:  Matthew 19:9 has been badly translated.  It should read, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, regardless of the debates about immorality, and marries another…”
    • (3)  The Pharisee position was that divorces was permitted only in cases of adultery.  The Sadducee position was that divorce was permitted for any reason.  The Pharisees wanted Jesus to endorse one side or the other.
    • (4 – 6)  Jesus did not go to the passage upon which the controversy was based (Deuteronomy 24:1 – 4) but to the fundamental concept of marriage.  Logically, if the two become one flesh, they cannot be again separated.  Both sides in the controversy had based their arguments on an illogical position that divorce was acceptable to God under some circumstances.
    • (7)  Good question.  Both sides assumed that the fact that God had regulated divorce implied that, under certain circumstances, divorce was acceptable.
    • (8 – 9)  Jesus addressed the root of their illogic that the existence of a regulation implied endorsement.  Jesus says, “God never endorses divorce.”
    • (10)  The reaction of the disciples reinforces to us that Jesus was not just siding with the Pharisees.
    • (11 – 12)  Jesus acknowledged that this was a difficult teaching.  Paul addressed the point (1 Corinthians 7:1 – 9) that some do not have sexual desires, while others do.  If you do, get married.  Insisting that a disastrous marriage that ends in divorce somehow reverses Paul’s observation is illogical.
  • Application: Invoking fundamentals
    • The example here is not about divorce per se.  It is about making an assumption that results in divided opinions.  Jesus’ method was to drop back to the fundamentals, in this case the nature of marriage.  Do we do that with other doctrines?
      • Church practices:
        • Lord’s Supper: who can participate?
        • Baptism: infants due to original or inherited sin, sprinkle or immerse, etc.
        • Leadership: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers
        • Singing and instruments
      • Acceptability
        • Behavior first – so how can we get there?
        • Liberty versus authority
    • To what do we drop back?
      • The nature of faith
      • The nature of grace (the nature of God)
      • Redemption and forgiveness as two different concepts
      • God’s objective and the purpose of creation.
      • Evidence and God’s communication