Tonight we will read and reflect on the meaning of the first 12 verses of Matthew 19.
Looking first at verses 1-10, we see Jesus adeptly answering questions from the Pharisees regarding divorce. Verse 3 tells us that the Pharisees were testing Him, asking whether it was okay for a man to divorce his wife for any reason He chooses. They knew that Jesus would say that man should not separate the marriage that God has put together. The only reason that God allows for divorce is sexual immorality or adultery.
The Pharisees have Moses’ guidance at the ready to dispute Jesus’s decision, but Jesus has an answer for this as well. He tells them that Moses permitted divorce in the patriarchal age due to the people’s unwillingness to adhere to the marriage model. But now, the Son of God sets forth marriage guidance in the new covenant: that divorce is only lawful if one partner or the other commits sexual immorality. And if a person marries someone that has been divorced for any reason besides sexual immorality or adultery, that person also commits adultery.
With these rules, the disciples say that it would be better to not even get married. And to this, in verses 11 & 12, Jesus talks about men that choose not to marry, calling then eunuchs. Jesus says that some men choose not to marry and some men have no desire to marry.
The bottom line of this entire lesson is that one should not get married unless they are prepared and committed.
The things that permit divorce are understandable, but real commitment in a lifelong marriage requires strength, faith, fortitude, patience, perseverance, understanding, kindness and love.