He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Ah, divorce again, our favorite verses to ignore. I’m honestly not sure how we even manage to ignore them, they are everywhere! Jesus gives two extremely compelling reasons not to divorce. First, man and woman are now one flesh. Separating them is just as horrible and painful as separating someone’s leg from their body. Second, and more importantly, God joined them. Who are we to say we know what is better for ourselves than God does? How ridiculous does that sound? “God brought us together, but we think we’re better off apart.” I mean, when you think about it in those terms, divorce seems completely ludicrous.
I think it’s also very interesting how Jesus points out that the Old Testament Laws aren’t perfect (gasp!). He basically said that God made concessions for us because we are sinful. But Jesus and God both have higher goals for us than the Law provided. That’s why I guess it’s important not to get too worried about all the little bits and details in Leviticus and stuff.
I love the story of Jesus blessing the children, as I think all Methodists do. Children understand God’s love in a way that adults can’t (or have a hard time doing, at least), because we have too much other junk getting in the way. They don’t worry about tomorrow. They don’t run their own lives, or try to plan for everything. The complete faith and trust kids put in adults is so easy for them to put in God too. I think as we get more responsibilities and have to start trusting in ourselves, we forget how to trust God. But if we can somehow find that Child-like faith in God, there’s nothing we can’t do.