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

Friday, September 3, 2021

Some Pharisees came and tried to trap [Jesus] with this question: "Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?"
— Matthew 19:3 NLT

Key Thought

To trick Jesus, the religious leaders tried to get him to debate the legalistic elements of their law. What is powerful about this exchange is not just what Jesus said, but also how he said it. As we will see in the following verses (Matthew 19:4-9),
  1. he refused to get caught up in their argument,
  2. he moved from the debate over a specific passage to the deeper theological, core value of God in giving the command in the first place (Genesis 2:21-24), and
  3. multiple times, he emphasized the key issue of husband and wife becoming one and staying together as one.
Yes, in a way Jesus did answer their question, but not before he 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 ways to find loopholes for my weaknesses. Give me wisdom to focus on what is important and to be faithful even in those areas that are sometimes not considered to be important. I want to be yours totally — in word, thought, speech, and behavior. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 23:23-24
  • Matthew 22:34-39
  • Matthew 5:38-39


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Illustration of Matthew 19:3 NLT — Some Pharisees came and tried to trap [Jesus] with this question: "Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.