It's Not About That

In our Bible Text this week, you see that the same group of folks that have become oppositional to Christ are back in the limelight.  These religious leaders seem to come to Jesus with a legitimate question yet Jesus does not gratify them with a direct answer.  Later on, His disciples ask Him the same question and get a more direct answer.  Read the text again and then we will talk about what was actually going on:

[1] 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. [2] And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” [3] He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” [4] They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” [5] And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. [6] But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ [7] ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, [8] and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. [9] What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

[10] And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. [11] And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, [12] and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:1-12 ESV)

You see, these men weren’t really seeking wise counsel from Jesus.  It wasn’t about that at all.  They were seeking to entrap Him in an argument that would hurt His popularity or even get Him in major trouble.  

One group that this could have caused trouble with is the political leaders that were part of Herod’s Government.  You see, Herod ruled this area.  Herod had married his brother’s wife (Herodias) after a big and ugly public divorce.  The last person to publicly speak out about divorce and marriage suffered an execution by be-heading (John The Baptist).  So these men’s question to Jesus wasn’t about the question…it was about stirring up trouble that could lead Him to jail or even worse.

Another group that this could have caused trouble with are the many Jewish people who had heard Jesus speak.  You see, most Jewish people followed a particular Rabbi (teacher of the law).  In that day, there were two primary rabbinical teachings on divorce.  The first was a very permissive view.  So permissive, a man could be allowed a ‘lawful’ divorce if his wife burned his dinner.  The other view was more stringent.  It only allowed for a divorce if the wife was proven ‘impure’ prior to the marriage.  Whatever Jesus said, this could easily stir up the many jewish families who had heard the Words of Jesus or seen the miracles of Jesus.  The religious leaders could have been wanting to reduce His following by opening up this ‘can of worms’.  It might look like they were trying to find out a good answer to a hard question but ‘it’s not about that’. 

However, the disciples of Jesus (after hearing teach about Marriage/Divorce) asked the question and they really wanted the answer.  It was about that for them.  Jesus doesn’t turn away people who come with a genuine heart and a willingness to do something with what He gives them.  When you approach God with your questions make sure you are ready to hear what He has to say and ready to do what He would have you do.