The Gospel of Matthew: a commentary & meditation 
 "What God has joined together, let not man put asunder"

Scripture:  Matthew 19:1-12

1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; 2 and large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.

3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?" 4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who made them from 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 they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." 7 They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" 8 He said to them, "For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." 10 The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." 11 But he said to them, "Not all men can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

Meditation: What is God's intention for our state in life, whether married or single?  Jesus deals with the issue of divorce by taking his hearers back to the beginning of creation and to God's plan for the human race.  In Genesis 2:23-24 we see God's intention and ideal that two people who marry should become so indissolubly one that they are one flesh.  That ideal is found in the unbreakable union of Adam and Eve.  They were created for each other and for no one else.  They are the pattern and symbol for all who were to come.  Jesus explains that Moses permitted divorce as a concession in view of a lost ideal.  Jesus sets the high ideal of the married state before those who are willing to accept his commands.  Jesus, likewise sets the high ideal for those who freely renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  Both marriage and celibacy are calls from God to live a consecrated life, that is to live as married couples or as singles who belong not to themselves but to God.  Our lives are not our own, but they belong to God.  He gives the grace and power to those who seek to follow his way of holiness in their state of life.  Do you seek Christ and his grace in your state of life?

"Lord Jesus Christ, your call to holiness extends to all in every state of life.  Sanctify our lives--as married couples and as singles--that we may live as men and women who are consecrated to you.  Make us leaven in a society that disdains life-long marriage fidelity, chastity, and living single for the Lord."


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(c) 2002 Don Schwager