Select Page
Read Introduction to Matthew

 

1 “Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there. 3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

 

Jesus now turned to teaching on divorce (19:1-12).

19:1

1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these sayings, that He departed from Galilee and came to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan.

Jesus turned southward towards Jerusalem on the east side of the Jordan. He concluded His Galilean ministry. He was now on His final journey to Jerusalem.

19:2

2 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.

The great following and healing ministry of Jesus brought out opposition to Him (v. 3).

19:3

3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him [they wanted to discredit Jesus doctrinally], and saying to Him, “Is it lawful [Mosaic Law] for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”

The Pharisees tried to trap Jesus on a theological issue in order to undermine His authority. There were two camps in Israel on divorce. The Hillel group believed that a male could divorce his wife for any reason. The Shammai group asserted that a person could divorce only because of sexual fault. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to take sides in the debate. Jesus’ position was closer to Shammai than to Hillel.

19:4

4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’

Jesus answered the Pharisees by appealing to the book of Genesis (1:27; 5:2). Marriage in Jesus’ eyes was bound up with creation. It did not come from some issue after creation. God’s original intention was to make the sexes different. Marriage is a divine institution and God intended it to be permanent. Since God created marriage, He has the right to determine its boundaries.

19:5

5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ [Genesis 2:24]?

Having made the sexes different, God instituted the concept of marriage between one male and one female. “Joined” is a term of strong bond; marriage is to be glue or cement in relationships.

19:6

6 So then [conclusion from the quote], they are no longer two but one flesh.

Marriage is a union of persons—both a sexual and a relational union. Husband and wife are indivisible except through death or legitimate divorce. “One flesh” does not refer to the sex act as constituting marriage. If that were true, then every person with whom an individual had sex would be his or her mate. Adultery or some other sexual sin does not in itself disband the marriage.

Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

The word “separate” means divorce. It is not God’s will that man break the marriage bond.

PRINCIPLE:

God’s design for marriage is permanence.

APPLICATION:

God’s design for marriage is “till death do us part.” It is a divine institution. God designed husband and wife to complement each other. To destroy a marriage is to break God’s design. To claim that “God let me out of my marriage” is a distortion of this truth.

Share