The Disciples’ Directive
"…He replied" Mark 10:3
The book of Mark is written by a disciple for disciples. From the opening line of Mark, Peter wants Mark to let future disciples know what would be required of each to follow Jesus. The theme of the difficulty and demands of discipleship run throughout the gospel of Mark.
However, a discussion on conditions for marriage and remarriage may seem out of place. Taken by themselves Jesus words on divorce are radical and shocking. Placed in their proper context this passage contains a difficult directive for all disciples. Jesus is modeling for His followers one of the traits of authentic discipleship.
It's impossible not to be impressed with the reign of King Herod. Relentlessly aggressive, his building projects were stunning: amphitheaters, palaces, shrines restored, cities, new roads and, his crowning achievement, the rebuilt temple.
His skilled power brokering and his shrewd acquisition of wealth showed he was a powerful king. He was effective, successful, secular, godless and Herod was--divorced.
The Pharisees’ tactic of approaching Jesus with the issue of divorce was an attempt to force Jesus to arouse animosity against the Herodian family. Divorce was a sensitive topic to them and any disparaging comments from Jesus could place his life in peril as it had John the Baptist. The astonishing thing was that Jesus was not intimidated. Instead of watering down His words, or sidestepping the issue, He spoke truthfully.
In an age of quick, easy no-fault-divorce, disciples of Jesus must be a voice of clarity on God’s intention for marriage to be a permanent covenant relationship. As disciples, we have to navigate between two equally perilous alternatives--being too lenient, not wanting to offend and being too harsh, not beating people over the head with the Bible when they are already bruised and broken. The principle of salvage and redeem governed Jesus’ ministry, and it should be ours as well. We are to direct others to God’s offer of forgiveness and provide a place to experience God’s healing.
How can you help put broken lives back together?