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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

A Private Conversation With Jesus About Divorce

“When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.’” Mark 10:10-12

This is the ninth time that the Gospel of Mark records Jesus’ presence in a home.

Healings, deliverance and even a resurrection from the dead take place in homes (1:29ff.; 2:1ff.; 5:38ff.; 7:24ff.). In home settings He declared His authority to forgive sin (2:1ff.), ate with disreputable people (2:15ff.), and dialogued with His disciples over conflict issues both external (3:20ff.; 7:17ff.) and internal (9:33ff.).

These frequent occasions show us that our relationship with the Lord is not relegated to only meeting Him in a church setting. He desires to be with us in our homes.

One of the most influential books I received as a teenager had this title: The Home: A Divine Sanctuary. We must constantly be attuned to and welcome the presence of Jesus in our homes.

On this ninth occasion in a home, Jesus engaged a question from His disciples. They had just listened to His very public exchange with the Pharisees regarding the subject of divorce. Jesus’ answer had been stunning. He said that marriage between husband and wife was meant to last a lifetime, and that divorce had been permitted by Moses only because of hardness of heart (10:1-9).

Jesus’ response evidently troubled the disciples; thus they questioned Him about this. So Jesus elaborated on His public answer by saying that a person who divorces and remarries commits adultery.

As we ourselves deal with this question of divorce and remarriage, it is needful to compare Mark 10:1-12 with Matthew 5:31,32 and 19:1-12, as well as the apostle Paul’s statement in ?1 Corinthians 7:15.

Matthew’s Gospel records that Jesus made one exception for a person to be divorced and remarried — adultery. Paul added another exception: an unbeliever who refuses to remain married to a believer, in which case the believer is no longer “bound.”

These are called the two exceptive circumstances where remarriage is permitted after divorce. The apostle Paul also permits, but discourages, separation without divorce (1 Corinthians 7:10,11). Probably the reason why Jesus did not address the issue of the unbeliever is that His teaching on marriage was given to persons who already considered themselves believers in God, and not outside the faith.

The question arises as to why Mark omitted the exceptive clauses found in Matthew’s Gospel. One simplistic answer is that Mark’s Gospel is less focused on Jesus’ teaching ministry and more focused on His actions. Certainly, Matthew’s Gospel contains far more of the teaching ministry of Jesus than Mark.

Also, Mark is a much shorter Gospel and, therefore, on a number of occasions gives a “Reader’s Digest” condensation of events or teaching. For example, compare Mark 8:27-30 with Matthew 16:13-20. Both those instances relate the confession of Christ as Messiah at Caesarea Philippi, but Matthew’s account is far more detailed.

Whatever the reason may be for the exceptive clauses not being in Mark, it is clear that Jesus’ stand on divorce and remarriage is very restrictive. He intended that marriage should last a lifetime, and could only be severed under the most egregious of circumstances — adultery.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, we live in a culture that often discards people. We are a throwaway society. Help us, Lord, to recognize that our marriages are not disposable — that You call upon us to work through issues of relationship and demonstrate our true love for one another.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years


2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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