Divorce

This is written by Sally Watson who is the Director of Operations at St Mary's.

Mark 10:1-16

Divorce
10 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.

2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?'

3 'What did Moses command you?' he replied.

4 They said, 'Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.'

5 'It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,' Jesus replied. 6 'But at the beginning of creation God "made them male and female". 7 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh." So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'

10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, 'Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.'

The little children and Jesus
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.' 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Reflection

The Pharisees are trying to catch Jesus out and perhaps sometimes we try to do that too. Sometimes we want things to be totally black and white whereas a lot of life is more grey. Men divorcing their wives on the flimsiest of grounds was not uncommon and Jesus' response both protects women and says that marriage matters. If divorce or separation is something that personally impacts you, please talk to someone. I know people who have been cajoled not to divorce or not to remarry, when the alternative has been to live in great pain. This is not more righteous or more godly.

I am single but getting older, so I have seen that marriage takes effort, cooperation, kindness and compromise as well as love. I have friends who have decided not to divorce and have sought help and put serious work in to bolster their relationship. I think that is courageous.

In marvellous contrast to the Pharisees, the children just want to be near Jesus. Verses 13-16 point us to the simplicity of being with Jesus, receiving his love and grace and being safe in his presence with no need to prove ourselves. He draws us to himself and we can just rest with him. We can ask him the hardest questions and share our most precious hopes and deepest pain but most all of we can just come to him as we are and receive his love, attention and blessing.

If you can, settle somewhere comfy and ask the spirit to come and remind you of how utterly safe you are with Jesus and of how much he loves you. Don't be afraid to ask him big questions but first allow the spirit to remind you of how faithful God is and how beloved you are.

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