Thursday, May 17: What God has joined together
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 19:1-9
When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went into the region of Judea to the other side of the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
God's plan from the beginning was for marriage to be a lasting, committed relationship between a man and a woman. But because of our flawed nature, that bond is sometimes broken. The Sadducees of Jesus' time go so far as to say that a man could divorce his wife for something as trivial as burning his food. The Pharisees want Jesus to jump into the fray with their rivals, but he simply affirms what Scripture says about marriage's importance and sacredness.
Though God's pattern for marriage hasn't changed, we've sometimes also trivialized or even eliminated its importance. In light of that challenge, consider how we can uphold and model marriage for next generations.