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«Mark 10:1-16 ~ Scripture Verses Divorce Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people ...»

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Mark 10:1-16 ~ Scripture Verses

Divorce

Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the

Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught

them.

Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to

divorce his wife?”

“What did Moses command you?” he replied.

They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send

her away.”

“It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’[a] ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,[b] 8 and the two will become one flesh.’[c] So they are no longer two, but one. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” The Little Children and Jesus People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Footnotes:

a. Mark 10:6 – Genesis 1:27 b. Mark 10:7 – Some early manuscripts do not have and be united to his wife.

c. Mark 10:8 – Genesis 2:22-24 [New International Version, NIV, 1984] Mark 10:1-16 ~ Discussion Questions

1. Moses allowed a husband to divorce his wife for what reason(s)? (Deut 24:1)

2. Many states today allow “no fault” divorce on mutual consent of husband and wife. What “fault” grounds are specified for one party to divorce the other?

3. What is the rate of divorce in the U.S. today? Where is it highest?

4. “The family that prays together, stays together.” Are Christians less likely to divorce than atheists or members of other religions?

5. What did Jesus say about the ground on which Moses allowed divorce? What would he say about our grounds today?

6. What did God say about divorce? (Malachi 2:13-16)

7. How did Jesus explain the relationship between Moses’ law and the will of God? (Mark 10:5-9, Genesis 2:22-24, 1 Corinthians 6:16-20)

8. Why do you think the disciples asked Jesus again about this question privately?

(10:10) What specific instructions did he give in his answer? (10:11-12)

9. How should we view people with struggling or failed marriages? What can we do to help?

10. What should a person who is divorced or divorced and remarried do?

11. How was Jesus’ attitude toward the little children different from the disciples?

(Mark 10:13-16) How could the disciples still not understand what’s going on?

12. Why did Jesus want the children to come to him? (10:14)

13. Jesus said, “... the kingdom of God belongs to such as these [children].” Do you think that all children will enter the kingdom of God (heaven)?

14. What does it mean to “receive the kingdom of God like a little child?” (10:15) How can we have the attitude of a little child?

15. What is the practical message from this short story with respect to our churches and Christian gatherings today? How can we apply it?

–  –  –

1. Moses allowed a husband to divorce his wife for what reason(s)?

Deut 24:1 – If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house,...

2. Many states today allow “no fault” divorce on mutual consent of husband and wife. What “fault” grounds are specified for one party to divorce the other?

Massachusetts has seven “fault” grounds for divorce:

A) Cruel and abusive treatment

B) Utter desertion continued for one year

C) Sentence of confinement in a penal institution for 5 years or more

D) Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication caused by voluntary and excessive use of intoxicating liquor, opium or other drugs

E) Gross or wanton and cruel refusal or neglect to provide suitable support and maintenance for the other spouse

F) Adultery

G) Impotency New Jersey has similar grounds but only requires 18 months imprisonment (C)

and requires that an addiction be for 12 months or more (D), does not include nonsupport (E), but adds two additional grounds:

H) Deviant sexual conduct

I) Institutionalized for mental illness for 12 or more consecutive months Some states have fewer grounds (Texas has only 5) and some have more (Alabama has 12)

3. What is the percent rate of divorce in the U.S. today? Where is it highest?

The divorce rate is high, but probably lower than you think. A common myth is that half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. In reality this is impossible to measure accurately and this myth is based on an misinterpretation of data stating that, in any given year, the number of marriages is about twice the number of divorces. But those divorces are not necessarily of marriages made in the same year, but could have occurred at any time, rendering this statistic irrelevant to marital outcome.





More reliable statistics are available that measure the percentage of marriages that end in divorce within 10 years. One data set based on age of the bride indicates that the rate is 48% for people under 18, 40% for ages 18–19, 29% for 20-24, and 24% for 25 and older. The best figures for lifetime divorce rates are from a Barna study (see #4 below); they are higher than the figures above, of course, but certainly not anything like 50%.

The highest rate of divorce is in Nevada (again, misleading, because many people go there just to get a divorce). In actuality, the highest rate is in Arkansas by far, and the lowest rates are in Georgia (one of the highest “churched” states) and Massachusetts (#47 in church attendance). Go figure.

The data shows that the highest divorce rates are found in the Bible Belt. The divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average. (See next question) 4. “The family that prays together, stays together.” Are Christians less likely to divorce than atheists or members of other religions?

There has been much anecdotal evidence that has led to unsubstantiated claims that the divorce rate for Christians who attended church regularly, pray together or who meet other conditions is only 1 or 2 percent. This is highly suspect. In fact, the Barna Research Group found that divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other religious groups, and much higher than atheists and agnostics George Barna commented: “While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce, many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing.”

Some selected results from the Barna study:

Religion % have been divorced Jews 30% Born-again Christians 27% Non-denominational 34% Other Christians 24% Baptists 29% Mainline Protestants 25% Mormons 24% Roman Catholics 21% Lutherans 21% Atheists, Agnostics 21%

5. What did Jesus say about the grounds on which Moses allowed divorce? What would he say about our grounds today?

Jesus said Moses allowed the Jews to divorce because “your hearts are hard,” in other words divorce was an accommodation to human weakness and was used to bring order in a society that had disregarded God’s will, but it was not the standard that God had originally intended. The purpose of Deut 245:1-4 was not to make divorce acceptable, but to reduce the hardship of its consequences.

God’s law of creation (Genesis 2:22-24) is higher than the law of Moses and is the one that Jesus said ought to be obeyed.

Genesis 2:22-24 – 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

6. What did God say about divorce? (Malachi 2:13-16)

Malachi 2:13-16 – 13 And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16 “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.” [ESV] For 2:16, the NIV simply says, “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel...

7. How did Jesus explain the relationship between Moses’ law and the will of God? (Mark 10:5-9, Genesis 2:22-24, 1 Corinthians 6:16-20) The divine intention for husband and wife was monogamy. Together they were to form as inseparable a union as that between parent and child. As parents and their children are of the same “flesh and blood,” so husband and wife should be bound together as “one flesh” as long as they live—of which sexual union is an expression.

Paul explained this further in 1 Corinthians 6:16 – 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

8. Why do you think the disciples asked Jesus again about this question privately?

(10:10) What specific instructions did he give in his answer? (10:11-12) Why did they ask again? Perhaps because Jesus took a very hard line and completely threw away the idea from Moses and Jewish law that under certain circumstances divorce was allowed. The disciples wanted clarification. And Jesus gave it to them.

We should note two things in Jesus’ answer. First, it is an unequivocal, perfectly clear statement. Could Jesus have stated his point any more clearly?

Second, this conclusion is perfectly consistent with the teaching that precedes it. God intends marriage to last a lifetime. God joins man and wife together. Man has no business breaking that relationship. This is what we would expect, given what he has said about marriage: If you desire to become like Christ, if you claim that you are being transformed into Christlikeness, then you will not divorce your spouse under any circumstances. (Oh, my!)

9. How should we view people with struggling or failed marriages? What can we do to help?

A very tough question. If we read the scripture, it seem that our answer should be a simple one: “Don’t do it. Stay together. Work out your differences.” Even if we admit that it is never as simple as that, that is still what the scriptures say.

But what if it has gone past the point of no return: either the couple is actually divorced or they are so far along, there is no turning back. What then? Anyone going through a divorce needs a friend, hopefully more than one. Here are some practical ways to be such a friend.

1. Do NOT promise anything that you will not fully keep to its fullest extent.

Even with the greatest intentions, if you do not keep your promises, you will do greater damage and the effects may last for years.

2.Be a good listener. Don’t have all the answers, but rather, always be praying and seeking the Lord’s heart on how to pull them through.

3. Help with the children: encouraging them, sitting them and walking them through the pain of their hearts.

4. Financially: He/she will need ongoing money; otherwise she may end up out on the streets. Rally others in the church and friends to help. It must be ongoing (perhaps for years) because he/she and his/her kids are alive every day. On the other hand, you can’t and shouldn’t be a financial enabler; yes the situation is tough but the reality of getting a job and cutting expenses must be faced.

5. Help with working through the alimony and child support process. Help make up a reasonable budget and figure how to live within it. Both spouses have to live; the “injured” one can’t expect to other one to pay for everything.

6. Find a good mediator (rather than a lawyer) if at all possible who will be efficient and fair. Then help pay for the process.

7. Emotional support: They will need to call any hour of the day or night—and you can expect it at the most inconvenient hours. You will be their bright light in their dark hour. And remember #1, do not offer anything if you will not do it.

8. Help him/her to not feel any less of a Christian because of the divorce. God will still love the divorced person and the person can still love God and be a respected Christian.

10. What should a person who is divorced or divorced and remarried do?



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