Monday, July 28, 2008

Mark Chapter 10, Part 1

Divorce is a terrible thing. I am thankful that I have never felt its consequences, but everyone in my immediate family sadly has. My sister had to go through it with my mother and her father. My father had to go through it with his parents. My aunt had a double dose of it with her parents and her own marriage. It destroys families and is plainly contrary to God’s will. That is why when I got married I went into it with the simple condition: the only way one of us was getting out of the marriage was by putting the other in the ground. We’ve had some rough times in three and a half years, but so far we have made it.

Jesus speaks on the topic of divorce at the beginning of chapter 10 in the book of Mark. As usual, he takes a much harder stance on the issue than the original law dictated. The original Mosaic law gave very few rights to women. A man could divorce his wife if she simply displeased him. Jesus, however, states that man and woman truly become one when they marry. This is meant to be a bond that cannot be broken and only gains in strength when made in the context of Christ. Jesus only makes a case for divorce in situations involving adultery, while Paul later says a believing spouse may be deserted by an unbelieving spouse.

13People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14When 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. 15I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." – Mark 10:13-15

What does it mean to be a child when you’re physically an adult? I think that Jesus is speaking on matters of faith needed to enter the kingdom of heaven. Think about when you were a child. There were certain things you believed in just because. You believed that Santa Claus existed just because, and I think that is what Jesus means here. We need to reach a point where we believe in Him just because. Children are the model of innocence as well as trust. We need that innocence in the form of humility as well as trust in our Savior. Children also must rely on adults for most everything needed in their development, just as we must rely on Christ.

21Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
24The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
26The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
27Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

I often ask myself if I have given up everything in order to follow God’s calling. This is especially true when I go through periods where I wonder if I am even following God’s will. We must remember, however, that God’s grace covers where we fall short spiritually. We are asked to believe, therefore that is what we must do. Material wealth has nothing to do with our salvation, but our spiritual wealth and offering is paramount. Because of this, God can overcome the impossible obstacle, by human standards, of salvation.

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