Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Teachings of Jesus about Marriage and Divorce!
The following is a passage from the gospel according to St.Matthew as given in the New Testament Bible [ NT Bible, Matthew 19:3-12]
One day the Pharisees ( with an intention to irritate him) asked Jesus this question:
“Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?”
He answered, “Haven’t you read in your (scriptures) that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.”
They shot back in rebuttal, “If that’s so, why did Moses (in the scriptures) give instructions for divorce papers and divorce procedures?”
Jesus said, “Moses provided for divorce as a concession to your hardheartedness, but it is not part of God’s original plan. I’m holding you to the original plan, and holding you liable for adultery if you divorce your faithful wife and then marry someone else. I make an exception in cases where the spouse has committed adultery.”
Jesus’ disciples objected, “If those are the terms of marriage, we’re stuck. Why get married?”
But Jesus said, “Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. Some, from birth seemingly, never give marriage a thought. Others never get asked—or accepted. And some decide not to get married for kingdom reasons. But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”
Now let us see the explanation related to this incident as told to the 20th century people of earth by the invisible, superhuman authors of my supreme book of life guidance: (The Urantia Book Paper 167)
That night, in Jericho, the unfriendly Pharisees (members of the ancient Jewish Sect who followed strict religious traditions and laws) sought to entrap the Master (Jesus) by inducing him to discuss marriage and divorce, as did their fellows one time in Galilee, but Jesus artfully avoided their efforts to bring him into conflict with their laws concerning divorce.
As the publican (keeper of the Jewish place of worship) and the Pharisee illustrated good and bad religion, their divorce practices served to contrast the better marriage laws of the Jewish code with the disgraceful laxity of the Pharisaic interpretations of these Mosaic (rules stipulated in the Jewish Bible believed as written by Moses) divorce statutes.
The Pharisee judged himself by the lowest standard; the publican squared himself by the highest ideal. Devotion, to the Pharisee, was a means of inducing self-righteous inactivity and the assurance of false spiritual security; devotion, to the publican, was a means of stirring up his soul to the realization of the need for repentance, confession, and the acceptance, by faith, of merciful forgiveness. The Pharisee sought justice; the publican sought mercy.
The law of the universe is: Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find.
Though Jesus refused to be drawn into a controversy with the Pharisees concerning divorce, he did proclaim a positive teaching of the highest ideals regarding marriage.
He exalted marriage as the most ideal and highest of all human relationships.
Likewise, he intimated strong disapproval of the lax and unfair divorce practices of the Jerusalem Jews, who at that time permitted a man to divorce his wife for the most trifling of reasons, such as being a poor cook, a faulty housekeeper, or for no better reason than that he had become enamored of a better-looking woman.
The Pharisees had even gone so far as to teach that divorce of this easy variety was a special dispensation granted to the Jewish people, particularly the Pharisees. And so, while Jesus refused to make pronouncements dealing with marriage and divorce, he did most bitterly denounce these shameful floutings of the marriage relationship and pointed out their injustice to women and children.
He never sanctioned any divorce practice which gave man any advantage over woman; the Master countenanced only those teachings which accorded women equality with men.
Although Jesus did not offer new mandates governing marriage and divorce, he did urge the Jews to live up to their own laws and higher teachings.
He constantly appealed to the written Scriptures in his effort to improve their practices along these social lines. While thus upholding the high and ideal concepts of marriage, Jesus skillfully avoided clashing with his questioners about the social practices represented by either their written laws or their much-cherished divorce privileges.
It was very difficult for the apostles (disciples of Jesus) to understand the Master’s reluctance to make positive pronouncements relative to scientific, social, economic, and political problems.
They did not fully realize that his earth mission was exclusively concerned with revelations of spiritual and religious truths.
After Jesus had talked about marriage and divorce, later on that evening his apostles privately asked many additional questions, and his answers to these inquiries relieved their minds of many misconceptions.
At the conclusion of this conference Jesus said:
“Marriage is honorable and is to be desired by all men. The fact that the Son of Man (Jesus often preferred to address himself like this) pursues his earth mission alone is in no way a reflection on the desirability of marriage.
"That I should so work is the Father’s (God's) will, but this same Father has directed the creation of male and female, and it is the divine will that men and women should find their highest service and consequent joy in the establishment of homes for the reception and training of children, in the creation of whom these parents become co-partners with the Makers of heaven and earth.
"And for this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall become as one.”
And in this way Jesus relieved the minds of the apostles of many worries about marriage and cleared up many misunderstandings regarding divorce; at the same time he did much to exalt their ideals of social union and to augment their respect for women and children and for the home.
I earnestly hope that you ( who read it patiently with the spiritual curiosity that compelled you from within) could get some valuable insight.
Share it with those of whom who might be receptive to the true teachings of Jesus.