Sermon and Bible Study Database
Author: Kent Berghuis
Love for a Lifetime (Mark 10:1-12) Main idea: God intended marriage to be permanent. I. Is divorce legal? Yes (1-5). A. Divorce is legally permitted (1-4). --Jesus has now moved to Judea across the Jordan, on his last trip to Jerusalem. --Mark offers Jesus' teaching on divorce for the benefit of believers. 1. The Pharisees "tested" Jesus with their question (2). There was a great debate between the Rabbis about the propriety of divorce, with a conservative group following the teaching of Shammai, that a wife could be divorced only for adultery, and Hillel's teaching that men could divorce their wives for any reason, for instance the ruining of a meal or finding a more attractive woman (cf. Matt 19:1-12, Jesus sides with Shammai). Also, they are in Herod's territory, and he had beheaded John over a divorce and remarriage issue. The Pharisees may have been trying to cause unrest among Jesus' followers, or to get him in trouble. 2. Jesus asked them what the law said (3-4). There is no command about divorce in the OT law, only a provision regulating it (Deut 24:1-4). Divorce was an accepted part of life in Israel, and the few OT law passages that deal with it encourage families to care for their divorced daughters, restrict priests from marrying divorced or widowed women, and prevent a first husband from remarrying his first wife if she's been married to someone else. B. Divorce is a sad conclusion to a sad situation (5). Divorce was allowed only because of hardheartedness (5). Deut 24 includes the point about giving a woman a letter of divorce, which would show others that she was legally free to remarry and that she was under no obligation to her husband. In a way, it was a protection device for women, so that they could be free from a husband who did not want them. It was not a way of giving approval to the practice or root causes of divorce. II. Is divorce God's plan? No (6-12). A. God established marriage to be a lifelong union (6-9). 1. Marriage is a creation ordinance of God (6). 2. Marriage is the uniting of a husband and wife (7-8). --This involves leaving, cleaving, and being one. 3. If God unites a couple, then a husband has little right to dissolve it (9). B. Legalities matter less than heart motives (10-12). --This more restrictive, yet deeper teaching prompted the disciples to ask further. --Divorcing a woman or man to marry another is committing adultery against her. In their day, it was normally thought that the adultery was committed against another man, but not his own wife. This raised the status of the marriage covenant above its popular level. --Roman law allowed women to divorce their husbands, a practice Jews were just beginning to see. While this may have elevated women, Jesus did not allow women to have any special treatment against sins of the heart. Conclusion: What is your attitude toward marriage and divorce? Let's adopt these principles: 1. We won't heap guilt on the divorced, knowing that it is part of life and sometimes the lesser of evils. 2. We will honor marriage by striving to love our spouses with all our hearts. 3. We will commit ourselves as disciples of Christ to eliminate divorce in our own marriages. 4. We will search our hearts for sin when tempted to consider forsaking our marital commitments.