“What Did Jesus Teach About Marriage?”Categories: The Preacher's Blog
There are two recorded instances in which our Lord speaks concerning the covenant of marriage: Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:1-12 (cf. Mark 10:1-12). These passages have been heavily debated in discussions surrounding marriage, divorce, and re-marriage issues. Although our Lord spoke of divorce and re-marriage on both of these occasions, I would like to consider with you briefly what the Messiah taught concerning marriage in these texts.
Marriage Is From God
In speaking about marriage Jesus appealed to the Creator—“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, 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’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-6, NASB). Christ’s teaching about marriage (as well as divorce and re-marriage for that matter) is based on the teaching of the one who created the marriage relationship in the first place: God (cf. Genesis 2:27; 3:24)!
Jesus understood that marriage was created by God in the beginning. As a result, God defines marriage and determines when it is lawful. Let me be frank: government and society have no ability to alter marriage. Only the Creator of marriage can make it anything different than He established it to be. We too must recognize that marriage is from God.
Marriage Is Between One Man & One Woman
When questioned about divorce being allowed by Moses, Jesus responded, “Because of your hardness of heart [Moses] wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH” (Mark 10:5-8). Jesus went on to address the matter of divorce, but in these words Jesus reveals His understanding of the participants in marriage: one man and one woman.
This is, as we saw in the previous point, the way God created marriage. Jesus Christ, the very one who died on a cross for the salvation of many, understood marriage to be between one man and one woman. Therefore, in the mind of our Lord and Master, two men or two women cannot enter a marriage relationship. Any such relationship cannot properly be called marriage, because it is not the way the creator intended it to be.
Marriage Is Permanent
The Son of God quoted Scripture—“FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH”—and then commented on that Scripture saying, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate” (Matthew 19:5-6). Here as Jesus is answering questions about divorce, his answer is simply this: don’t separate what God has joined.
Those who claim to be Christians (and sometimes those who are Christians) are quick to jump to verse nine—“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery”—in order to point out that Jesus offered grounds on which divorce can rightfully take place. If you jump to Matthew 19:9 to prove that divorce is allowed, and ignore everything else Jesus said in Matthew 19:1-8, you’ve missed the point! Jesus is not giving us a way out, but he’s describing the permanence of this relationship. Yes, there is an exception clause, but that’s not the point. Perhaps if we talked more about the permanence of marriage, we would run into fewer issues with divorce and re-marriage.
During one of His many encounters with the Jewish leaders, Jesus taught us a great deal about the marriage relationship. Many scholars and Bible students have spent years studying the intricacies of our Lord’s words, but even a cursory examination teaches us much. Jesus taught that marriage was created by God and therefore God alone dictates its boundaries. Jesus taught that the marriage relationship can only involve one man and one woman. Jesus taught that marriage is a permanent relationship. These simple principles show us what marriage is.
We need to teach the next generation to respect the marriage relationship. It starts with us exemplifying proper marriages in our own lives. Brethren, glorify God in your marriages!