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On Marriage and Divorce

John Collins04/05/2012
Matthew 19 describes how the Pharisees came to Jesus, testing him about those who had been divorced.

"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?" They asked.  

Jesus answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?"  From the beginning, God did not make the male to be with other males, they were created male and female.

Jesus said, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and fold fast to his wife.  The two shall become one flesh.  They are no longer two, but they are one flesh.  What God has joined together, let not man separate."

The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and send her away?"  

Jesus answered, "Because of the hardness of your heart, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives.  From the beginning, it was not this way."

Jesus looked at them and said, "Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery."

The disciples were slightly shocked at these words.  It was not the culture at the time to be so strict, and this was no easy rule to follow for them.  "If this is the case, it is better not to marry!" they said.  

Jesus knew their worry, but calmed them down, saying, "Not everyone can receive this saying.  This saying is only for whom it is given."

Jesus explained that there were three types of men:

There were men who became eunuchs from birth, their male parts removed at an early age.  Studies have shown that these men suffer hormonal issues, and are more likely to be attracted to other men.  More than likely, this was the reason Jesus was insistent upon the fact that the male and the female would be joined together, not the male and male.

There were also eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men.  These men were made eunuchs later in life, either by removal of the male parts, or by simply forcing themselves not to be married.  It was against human nature, and there were many given into adultery by leaving their wives to become eunuchs, or by not being able to contain their desires.

Then, there were the eunuchs who became eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  These men were holy and pure, having no desire to consider their own bodies.  Their only focus was the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus said, "Let the one who is able to receive this receive it."

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Do we condemn those who have been divorced?  Is one sin greater in God's eyes than another?  If they remarry and consecrate their lives back to the Lord, do we continue to condemn them for their past sins?  How are we to know that God was not the one who separated them instead of men?  Men do not have the power to separate what God has joined, but God has the power of all things.  Must all men become Eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven?  How are we to know this saying is even for them?