A THORNY QUESTION
Lord, help me to concentrate today as I draw near to You. Give me the grace to focus.
Read Mark 10:1–16
10 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
The Little Children and Jesus
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
a Mark 10:6 Gen. 1:27
b Mark 10:7 Some early manuscripts do not have and be united to his wife.
c Mark 10:8 Gen. 2:24
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPonder on God’s heart of compassion today.
In response to the testing question from the Pharisees about divorce, Jesus reminds them of God’s original intention for marriage in Genesis 1:27 and 2:24. From this basis we see that marriage is meant to be a sacred and permanent relationship (5–9). Even for those deeply in love, this does not come easily. Couples have to work at their relationship, seeking daily God’s grace. Love is tested over the years, but love that endures is sweet indeed.
Jesus makes clear that divorce for the purpose of marrying another is the equivalent of adultery (10–12). But what of those who sadly find themselves divorced? The ideal of marriage is to be upheld in the context of human frailty. Divorce can be extremely painful but it is not the unforgivable sin. There is healing, forgiveness and the chance to start again.
The third mention of little children (13–16) reminds us that they are often the innocent victims of marriage break-up. Jesus welcomes them with open arms into His love and grace. His blessing is available to them, and to all who will come humbly, in child-like faith.
How can you send encouragement to those who are in a difficult season of marriage or who have been through a divorce? Can you pray or give a helping hand or just send a thoughtful note?
Jesus, you know how many people find themselves in difficult marriage situations. Bring healing and grace and wisdom.
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