The Parting and the Pain
"They said, ‘ Moses permitted…’ “ Mark 10:4
They call it "growing apart." There were a lot of good years together but attempts to breathe new life into the relationship didn't work. One day it felt like the earth heaved, leaving a crevasse as wide as the Grand Canyon which began filling up with pure pain.
The distress is so deep. Words of the parting and the pain can hardly be spoken to children, family, and friends. A grapefruit-sized lump lodged in the throat, the eyes well up with tears, and all thoughts whirl into "what happened to us?" Divorce is so devastating, many are looking to know how to live again, to find hope and to know the love of God is in their midst.
In these verses, Jesus is protecting those who are contemplating divorce, seeking His council and those struggling in broken relationships and needing encouragement. He also speaks to bitter opponents whose bad advice make bad situations worse. His reply presents God’s will for marriage, challenging those who want to impose their own will on the marriage relationship. Jesus’ reaction to the Pharisees’ use of the Deuteronomy text means that one cannot simply search the scriptures and look for an escape clause. Jesus always interprets scripture in light of a higher claim and greater obedience.
Discipleship affects divorce. Jesus proclaims throughout Mark that God’s reign is breaking into our world and our lives and has direct implications on how we live. We can no longer deal with life based on what Moses has permitted. God’s will, as Jesus reveals, invades all of life including what is culturally accepted and legally allowed.
Jesus makes radical demands of His disciples. He has called them to put themselves last in the service of others and to be willing to sacrifice for others. These commands apply also to the marriage relationship even when it looks as though there are irreconcilable differences. If disciples obey the great commandment to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, that neighbor includes the spouse. Loving God causes us to love others which opens up new possibilities of restoration.
Is your discipleship impacting your relationships? Are you looking for loopholes or loving others as He loves? Is Jesus’ crucifixion creating sacrifice and submission in you?