1 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. 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."
Thoughts: Jesus asked "What did Moses command you?" The answer is clear- he permitted divorce because their hearts were hard. Yet, divorce is not the ideal. The Pharisees were basically asking, "What can we get away with?" Jesus answered by saying what the ideal is. The ideal is for those who are joined together in God's providence and love to stay together through thick and thin, good and bad times. By the way, 90% of Americans agree with this ideal. The ideal is for a man and his wife- yes this implies male and female from Jesus lips- to be joined. Calvin spoke of the human family as the little monastery. When man and wife love each other; when parents and children have mutual love, this is a great gift of God. The Christian ideal is one God and (if called to marriage)- one spouse- with faithful love toward both.
Prayer: Lord, in our unfaithful culture, teach me faithfulness this day.
John Calvin abridged: Christ's enemies were setting a wicked trap. If he had said no, they would exclaim that he wickedly abolishes the Law. If he said yes they would accuse him of being a panderer to the culture instead of a prophet of God. Jesus disappointed them by sternly opposing unlawful divorces, and at the same time showing that he is not inconsistent with the Law. There are two parts to his answer: 1) that the order of creation serves as a law; and 2) the husband should maintain conjugal fidelity during the whole of life; that divorces were permitted not because they were legal, but because Moses had to deal with a rebellious and intractable people.