Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 19

Today's message in chapter 19 of the book of Matthew touches on the difficult subject of divorce. This is something that, sadly, effects way too many families in this day and age. I consider myself lucky in that I am pretty much the only one in my close family that has not been affected directly by divorce. My sister is only my half sister because of divorce. My father had to go through it with his parents. My mother had to go through with it in her first marriage, thereby affect my maternal grandparents as well. I was the lucky one in that all of this happened before I was born. Still, it has played a large role in my family's history, and I am not the only one.

Personally, I don't believe in divorce. I don't believe in it because of the teachings of Jesus and the way that the Bible outlines the guidelines of marriage. My personal thoughts on the matter are this: if you believe divorce is an option for you some day, then you shouldn't be getting married. I told my wife before we got married that the only way one of us was getting out of the marriage was to put the other in the ground. This may be a crass and even old-fashioned method of thinking, but I still believe firmly in the "to death do us part" section of the vows. In more than three years of marriage there have been some incredibly tough times for sure, but I am more than too stubborn to quit. God has never quit on me, so I won't be quitting on this.

4"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' 5and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? 6So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." – Matthew 19:4-6

I firmly believe that God brought my wife and me together. How else do you explain two people from completely different backgrounds meeting and falling for each other? Therefore, it would be the height of arrogance to say I can separate this union if I were to divorce her. The teachings of Jesus in these verses state that divorce is only acceptable in the case of adultery, but even then God can salvage the marriage if the person committing adultery recognizes the sin and seeks reconciliation. In that case, it is truly the work of God binding something together that cannot be separated by man.

21Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

 22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

 23Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." – Matthew 19:21-24

Becoming a follower of Christ is not without its sacrifices. The very nature of the relationship is based on the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross. Therefore, there is often much we give up in order to follow Him. This is not an admonishing against wealth. It is instead Christ's way of telling us that we must give up that which prevents us from giving our all to Him. This can be different for different people. For some, specific relationships with other people can get in the way. For others, it could be some type of sin or vice. In this case, the wealthy young man showed that he valued his wealth more than he valued the rewards that Christ has promised through a relationship with him. We don't necessarily have to give up our wealth to follow Christ, but we are instead asked to be ready to give it up if it gets in that way of that relationship.


  1. Why does Jesus chose this passage to speak out against divorce?
  2. What gets in your way of serving Christ?
  3. How can Christ heal a marriage even in the case of adultery?

No comments: