Hi, this is Pastor Ken and I want to thank you for joining me once again for the Monday Marriage Message. We have spent the last several weeks exploring the topic of Marriage and divorce from a biblical view. I mentioned as we began, because of the times we live in, and the frequency that we give up on our marriages, any serious podcast on marriage will have to unfortunately at least consider the topic of divorce. Interestingly enough, because we are using a conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees recorded for us in Matthew chapter 19 and Mark chapter 10 as the basis for our study it is apparent that divorce was an issue at that time as well.

I was reviewing what I wanted to talk about in today’s episode when it occurred to me that perhaps it is time for a sidebar. I am a marriage counselor, and a podcaster and a teacher. I recognize (because it has been brought to my attention) that sometimes I seemingly confuse which of my audiences I am speaking to. When I am counseling with a couple that obviously takes place in a private setting where I can speak directly to their questions. There I am able to use the whole counsel of the word of God and the principles contained within to guide my counsel as we delve into specific needs. When I am teaching in the setting of a seminar, I have prepared material that the participants have not only specifically come to engage in, but have chosen to invest their time and money to have the opportunity to learn more about the content. I understand that sometimes I attempt to teach on a subject or scripture in the format of this podcast and that can pose some real challenges for the listener.

I knew as we began this series that my audience might dwindle some. I understand that when we are faced with absolute truths from God’s word they sometimes make us uncomfortable. Because I didn’t want that to be the result of this series, I made sure to remind you that both me and my wife have personally experienced divorce. I wish for the sakes of our children that wasn’t so, but as I said a few weeks ago, perhaps that is what gives me the ability to speak on the subject with authority as well as a complete lack of personal judgement. I am hopeful that the number of listeners who choose not to continue with this study to its conclusion is minimal. The intent is not in any way to cast dispersion on those who have chosen divorce in the past, but instead to illustrate that God desires to bless us as we move forward in decision to avoid repeating past mistakes.

Additionally, I know that there are a myriad of twists and turns in the recorded conversation Jesus had with these men. I also know as a counselor that Christians still today are being confused by the words of the passages we are dissecting in this series. I hope by breaking it down into bite sized pieces we can dispel some of those misunderstandings.

The nuances of the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees that took place recorded for us in these two scripture passages are many. I truly think that it is because of a lack of understanding of these many distinctions that confusion about these two scriptures remains. Though I have been attempting to bring some of them to light, I think it might be important to point them out in greater detail before we continue with our look at the exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees. So that as we continue to do that, it will be easier for us to have greater understanding of what was taking place.

Allow me to remind you that this conversation took place in front of a large number of Israelite people who were following Jesus and listening to Him teach them as well as taking time to heal the sick and infirmed among them. These people were seeing miracles take place in real time, and so were literally hanging on every word Jesus spoke. Jesus was headed toward Jerusalem for the last time. He knew His death was imminent, and so I believe He was speaking more plainly about God’s desire for their lives than ever before. He was using parables less and less and talking more directly to them about the Kingdom of God.

When the Pharisees came to Jesus they had one thing on their minds. Discredit this teacher who threatened their power structure by telling the large crowds that He was the only way for them to have access to God. So as the Pharisees approached Jesus that day they wanted to make Him look like He didn’t know what He was talking about. They hoped this would cause His followers to begin to dissipate. These Pharisees may have had a singular goal in terms of Jesus, but that didn’t mean they agreed on everything. In fact, it was one of their disagreements that they intended to use to try to trap Jesus in His own words. There was as I have explained a more conservative group of Pharisees who thought that a portion of the law recorded in Deuteronomy 24 indicated that a husband must discover some indecency in his wife to be free to divorce her. Another more liberal group felt this same portion of the law gave the freedom to divorce just as long as a husband was displeased with his wife for any reason. This disagreement was their agreed upon chosen subject matter to try to entrap Jesus. They conspired together to ask Him questions concerning their differing interpretations of Deuteronomy 24 expecting that they might be able to make Jesus look like a fool in front of all of those people who were listening so intently to Him.

We will see as we continue to break the scripture down into small portions, neither of their positions were God’s intent, and they had to use deception to hold to either of their chosen interpretations. This may seem unimportant but it is actually my whole purpose for delving into this topic. The questions they asked Jesus that day were intended to twist the meaning of scripture and the mosaic law. I find that the recording of that exchange continues to deceive Christians even today about God’s truth when it comes to the topic of marriage and divorce. I think this deception continues to be possible because of our lack of understanding of the twists and turns of this conversation as well as a misreading of the portion of the law that was referred to and therefore misinterpreted by the Pharisees. Because of that I wanted to take the time to teach on this subject and offer what I believe to be a correct and valuable exegesis of these and the supporting scriptures that speak about marriage and divorce.

I pray that this side bar will help explain the necessity of breaking the scriptural account of this conversation between Jesus and those Pharisees down almost phrase-by-phrase. I hope that you will hang in there with me as we continue not only to try to glean as much truth as possible from their exchange, but also from the portion of the law that was referenced in it. I look forward to the process and hope that you will to, so that as we go forward your resolve to follow Christ in your marriages will only grow as your understanding of His word expands.

Next time we will continue with our study where we left off last week. God bless as you allow Him to lead and guide in your marriage…and Go be Awesome.