Lesson on Divorce and Marriage
Text: Mark 10:1-12 | March 8, 2020
Scripture has been twisted in many ways to accommodate the sins of man. This is accomplished through purposefully misinterpreting Scripture, adding to Scripture, or setting aside God’s Word. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for “setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition” (Mark 7:9). In our passage (Mark 10:1-12), Jesus taught His disciples a critical lesson on divorce and marriage, because like many other teachings, the Jews in Jesus’ time twisted God’s Word to redefine God’s standards on marriage.
In Jesus’ days, divorce was easy and common. A man could divorce his wife for just about any reason, and many of those reasons were quite trivial: A wife burning her husband’s dinner, letting her hair down, or he simply found someone else he preferred. However, that was not how God intended marriage: one man, one woman, for life (Mark 10:6-9). One is an indivisible number. In marriage, the man and the woman become one, which means the marriage union is as indivisible as the number one is indivisible.
But because of the hardness of man’s heart, God permitted divorce in certain situations, though it is not preferred (10:5). Matthew 19:9 tells us that if one spouse committed adultery, the innocent spouse is permitted to divorce the unfaithful spouse. First Corinthians 7:15 adds another permitted occasion: When an unbelieving spouse divorces a believing spouse, the believing spouse is free to remarry.
Just as it was important for the disciples to hear and know the truth despite contrary popular opinions, we must also hear and know God’s truth. There are many people that are still twisting Scripture to accommodate their sin or preference, but we must know the truth to discern between truth and error.
For the entirety of the lesson, please see the attached manuscript of the message.
In our text, we saw that the Pharisees came to Jesus to test Him (10:2). They tested Him by asking Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife (10:2). At first glance, this seems odd. Of all the questions, why did they use this to test Jesus? In other words, they were trying to trap Jesus because they knew that God’s truth would offend people. Remember: Divorce was common and popular in those days, and the Jews twisted Scripture to give people permission to divorce for any reason.
The Pharisees had hoped that if Jesus told the truth about divorce, He would become unpopular with the people. Perhaps, the people would turn against Him. Furthermore, Jesus is now ministering in a region under the rule of Herod Antipas (10:1). Herod Antipas killed John the Baptist because John disapproved of Herod’s divorce and remarriage (Mark 6:17-19). Maybe the Pharisees deviously thought that if Jesus also expressed disapproval, Herod might kill Jesus too.
This is still happening today. People will try to trap Christians by asking them questions with answers that are unpopular today. Let us ask God for protection against malicious attempts to trap Christians and let us ask God to help us in those circumstances.