“Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” ((Mark 10:2-9)
This is a “hot topic” right now – what a marriage is supposed to be and what configuration of people constitutes a marriage. Not only is it a “hot topic”, it is also a “political topic” according to the way I categorize topic, issues, and subject matter. And . . . I don’t do politics, so I am not going to comment on verses 2 to 9.
“Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Verses 10 – 12)
I looked up this passage in The Message because I wanted to read the mostly easily understandable version but still authentic to the original text. That version says the Pharisees wanted to give Jesus a hard time, and in Jesus’ time religion and matters of religious practice were very political. That is how I knew to leave it alone. But verses 10 to 12 are Jesus speaking to his disciples, and the political overtones are not there. But the teaching ones are. I have read these verses often, but I am understanding them in a slightly different way. Or more possibly, do not remember seeing this way before. The point that Jesus is making is not that of issue-filled divorce – that is, one marriage partner has breached the faith and trust of the union. We knew of this as domestic violence, infidelity, desertion etc. What Jesus is referring to is one partner saying to another “I would rather be married to someone else now” for no cause other than being uninterested in being married, or married to that particular partner. It is an outgrowth of lust that Jesus also condemns. And it is the “hardhearted” out that Moses gave the people. And that is all I am going to say on the topic.
Moving on . . .
“People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.” (Verses 13-16)
Jesus welcoming the children – think a saintly Santa without the suit.
We like to imagine children know implicitly who they can trust and who they cannot. That was easy in a world that was populated with trustworthy people; the era when children played in their yards and playgrounds without fear. Now both predators and neighborhood watch hawks prowl the streets looking for unattended children. And their intentions are a very mixed bag. Jesus has a very simple perspective; bless the children, cherish the children, and protect the children from those who wish them ill. The trust, faith and eagerness of a child are the very things required to enter the kingdom of God.
Beloved reader, it is my hope and prayer that you protect all children, and protect the “child” within you, so that we all may be welcomed into the kingdom of God. Selah!