What Jesus Did! 'Transition and Truth' — Matthew 19:3

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Some Pharisees came to Jesus. They tried to make Jesus say something wrong. They asked Jesus, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for any reason he chooses?"
— Matthew 19:3
Illustration of Matthew 19:3 — Some Pharisees came to Jesus. They tried to make Jesus say something wrong. They asked Jesus, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for any reason he chooses?"

Key Thought

To trick Jesus, the religious leaders try to get Jesus to debate the legalistic elements of their law. What is most powerful about this exchange is not just what Jesus said, but how he said it. First, he refused to get caught up in their argument. Second, he moved deeper than the debate over a specific passage to the theological, core value of God in giving the command in the first place. Third, Jesus emphasized the key issue of becoming one and staying together as one four times. Yes, in a way he does answer their question, but not before he has corrected their assumptions and confronted their legalism. Jesus teaches us to obey God's will, not just split hairs in debates over Scripture.

Today's Prayer

Holy God, I want my heart to yearn for your will and my life to reflect your character. Please help me guard my heart from a legalistic mind that looks for ways to justify myself and find loopholes for my weaknesses. Give me wisdom to focus on what is important and be faithful even in those areas that are not. I want to be yours totally—in word, thought, speech, and behavior. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

After Jesus said all these things, he left Galilee. Jesus went into the area of Judea on the other side of the Jordan River. Many people followed Jesus. Jesus healed the sick people there. Some Pharisees came to Jesus. They tried to make Jesus say something wrong. They asked Jesus, "Is it right for a man to divorce his wife for any reason he chooses?" Jesus answered, "Surely you have read this {in the Scriptures }: When God made the world, 'he made people male and female.' And God said, 'So a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife. And the two people will become one.' So the two people are not two, but one. God joined those two people together. So no person should separate them." The Pharisees asked, "So why did Moses give a command allowing a man to divorce his wife by writing a certificate of divorce ?" Jesus answered, "Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because you refused to accept God's teaching. But divorce was not allowed in the beginning. I tell you that any person that divorces his wife and marries another woman is guilty of the sin of adultery. The only reason for a person to divorce and marry again is if his first wife had sexual relations with another man." The followers said to Jesus, "If that is the only reason a man can divorce his wife, then it is better not to marry." Jesus answered, "Not every person can accept this truth {about marriage}. But God has made some people able to accept it. There are different reasons why some men cannot marry. Some men were born without the ability to make children. Other men were made that way later in life by other people. And other men have given up marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. But the person that can {marry} should accept this teaching {about marriage}. "

Matthew 19:1-12

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.