The Sanctity of the Home
Part II of our outline in Mark is The Servant's Work -
1:14 -13:37. And though Mark's emphasis is the "Miracle-working
Servant of God" we want to choose a segment of the Lord's
confrontation with the Jews as our study this week.
Mark 10:2-12 The New King James Bible
2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, "Is it lawful for a man to
divorce his wife?" testing Him.
3 And He answered and said to them, "What did Moses command
4 They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce,
and to dismiss her."
5 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Because of the hardness of
your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 "But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and
7 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be
joined to his wife,
8 and the two shall become one flesh'; so then they are no longer
two, but one flesh.
9 "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate."
10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same
11 So He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries
another commits adultery against her.
12 "And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she
Our lesson text today suggests that the main purpose of Jesus was
to exalt and to protect the home not to destroy it. The simple
teaching of the Lord on the home is desperately needed in order to
protect it from the light regard people have today for their marriage
A Question For Jesus
The Jewish leaders were constantly trying to trap Jesus. On this
occasion, no doubt, they expected him to make some statement which
they could use against him.
1. The question asked by the Pharisees: "Is it lawful for a man
to put away his wife?" There were at least two predominate schools
of thought among the Jews on this matter. One school held the view
that a man might divorce his wife for any offense which was
displeasing to him. Another school among them held that a man might
divorce his wife only for some sort of moral delinquency. The former
was the school of Hillel, and the latter was the school of Shammai.
No doubt the Pharisees thought that Jesus would have to cast his lot
with one or the other of these schools, and that they could then put
him in a bad light with at least the other school.
2. Jesus answered "What did Moses command you?" He replied
with a question to the Pharisees. The Jews said that Moses allowed
them to give a wife a bill of divorcement and to put her away. But the
Jews did not give the whole story! They said nothing about the
condition on which this might be done. "If she find no favor in his
eyes, because he has found some unseemly thing in her"
What did the word unseemly refer to? The school of Hillel held
that it meant anything which displeased her husband, but the school
of Shammai held that it demanded some moral delinquency. It was
clear that it was not confined to the act of adultery because Jesus put
what Moses taught in contrast with what God intended from the
beginning and with what he himself teaches today.
3. Jesus' explanation. "For the hardness of heart he wrote you
this commandment." The Jews had just come out of slavery in Egypt
when Moses gave the Law. They were hardly ready to respond to a
high moral Law regarding marriage and the home that God wanted
from them. Wives were not respected in their ancient world. No
doubt it was for the protection of women from the hardness of the
hearts of the Jewish men that Moses gave the instruction to which
God's Law From the Beginning 10:6-8
1. In the beginning. God had created one man and then created
one woman for him. He did not create two women for Adam.
Neither did he create two men for Eve. [Nor did he create them
"Adam and Steve."] In fact, it was not possible for Adam to put her
away and marry another! It is clear here that Jesus means to teach
that God did not intend for there to be any divorce because he did not
make any provision for it in the beginning. Matthew's record says,
"But from the beginning it hath not been so."
Prior to the giving of the Law of Moses, God said nothing about
permitting divorce. However, it seems that the Law of Moses was
given at a time when the moral condition of the people would have
resulted in dire consequences for the wives if some provision for
divorce hadn't been allowed. "When the gospel was introduced
God's chosen time had arrived for bringing this concession to an end,
and since then it has been the most daring interference with the divine
prerogative for men to venture on a continuance of the same
concession, as though they were possessed of divine authority" (J.W.
2. The original law. Jesus made it clear that he did not endorse
the concessions which Moses had allowed. Moses himself recorded
God's original marriage law.
Marriage is seen to be the basic unit of society, ordained by God
himself. It is further seen that the marriage relation is superior even
to the parent-child relation. This doesn't mean the child is to turn
against his parents when he marries, but it recognizes that the
obligation to husband or wife now precedes obligation to parents.
God intended for marriage to be a life-time contract between two
people who will earnestly strive to help each other to come closer to
God and, thus, to go to heaven when life is over. Marriage is not
merely a "ninety-day option."
Someone has well said that prior to marriage many people are
blind to the faults of their prospective companions, but following
marriage, they spend most of their time in hunting for those faults!
Both husband and wife should strive to "preach Christ" by all they say
and do in the home. Each should help the other to live truly happy
3. One flesh. Husband and wife become one flesh. Their two
natures are joined together in their children. Children are born into
this world with very definite claims upon their parents. Their parents
have a solemn obligation to bring them up "in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:1-4).
What God Has Joined Together 10:9
It is clear that when contracting persons are married according to
God's will that God himself does the joining. According to the
Scriptures the only persons who are eligible to be married are: (1)
those who have never been married at all, (2) those who have been
married but whose companion has died, and (3) those who have been
married but whose companion was guilty of unfaithfulness.
The Disciples Ask for More Information 10:10-12
When the disciples went into the house they asked Jesus further
regarding the question of divorce and remarriage. [In connection with
this passage the student should also carefully study Matthew 19:9-12
and Matthew 5:32.]
1. The injured party. Mark does not state the modification (the
exception granted) which is stated in the record according to
Matthew: "Whosoever shall put away is wife, except for fornication,
and shall marry another committeth adultery." Without the
exception it would be clear that they were be no grounds for any
Jesus sets forth the teaching that fornication is of such a serious
nature in its breach of the marriage relationship that it allows the
injured party the right to terminate the marriage contract and to seek
another marriage contract with an eligible person with God's
2. The guilty party. It is also clear in Matthew 5:32 that Jesus
does not give the right of remarriage to the guilty party (who violated
the marriage contract by committing fornication). Jesus' teaching
here gave (1) the injured party the right to terminate the marriage and
to enter another marriage, and (2) the guilty party does not have the
right to remarry (1 Corinthians 7:15 must be understood in light of
3. An adventure. God intends that marriage should be a great
adventure for two people who bind their hearts and lives together and
that it will result in great happiness on this earth and eternal life with
the Father when this life is over. (I Peter 3:7).
Each partner has very definite responsibilities (1 Corinthians
7:1-5; 1 Peter 3:7; Ephesian 5:22-32). The happiness of each partner
involved in marriage depends a great deal upon the feelings and
attitudes of the other.
CONCLUDING REMARKS. The scriptures aren't for the
purpose of vindicating witch hunts and appointing ourselves as judge
and jury in situations where often we can never know all the motives
and causes of marriage failures. We should use the Lord's teaching
to guide our own lives and to teach God's will on marriage and the
1. What kind of a trap did the Jews set for Jesus?
2. How did the Jews view divorce?
3. Why did God allow divorce to the Israelites?
4. What provisions did God make for divorce in the beginning?
5. Is marriage superior to the parent-child relationship?
6 Is marriage intended to be a temporary arrangement?
7. What spiritual obligation do husbands and wives owe each other?
8. What spiritual obligation do parents owe their children?
9. What people have the right to marry?
10. Why have some lost the right to marry?
11. What is said of those who marry such persons?
12. Why do you think there is such a problem regarding these
issues in the church today? Windell Gann