by Dr. Samuel Lee   05/01/2000     0 reads



Matthew 19:1-15

Key Verses: 19:4-5

"'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the

Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a

man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,

and the two will become one flesh"?'"


1.  As Jesus traveled on toward Jerusalem where was he and what was he

doing?  (1,2)  Who approached him and with what question? (3) Why

did they want to test him and how was their question a test?

2.  What does their question reveal about their view of marriage and of

women?  Read verses 4-6. What was Jesus' answer? What did Jesus

teach about the meaning of marriage?

3.  Read verses 7-9. What was the Pharisees' idea about Moses' law and

divorce?  How was Moses' situation different? According to Jesus,

why did Moses give a law about divorce? Why do most people want to

divorce their spouses? (9)

4.  Read verses 10-12. What was the disciples' reaction? What was their

misunderstanding of marriage? Why are some people afraid of marriage?

What did Jesus teach them about the renunciation of marriage?

5.  Read verses 13-15. While they were talking, who interrupted? How

were the disciples different from Jesus in their response? What did

Jesus say and do?  What does it mean to come to Jesus like a little





Matthew 19:1-15

Key Verses: 19:4-5

"'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the

Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a

man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,

and the two will become one flesh"?'"

In the last passage we learned that we must be strong in the grace

of our Lord Jesus Christ. We also must grow in the grace of our Lord

Jesus Christ so that we can be happy all the time by the grace of our

Lord Jesus Christ. In order to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus

Christ, we must have compassion on a lost person more than the

ninety-nine people who are men and women of fame and wealth. In order

to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should not hold a

grudge against anyone. We must forgive those who have wretchedly

wronged us.  Forgiveness should be unconditional. Most of all, we must

know that we are great sinners as Paul testified about himself in 1

Timothy 1:15. It says, "...of whom I am the worst." We always think

that St. Paul is the greatest. But he confessed about himself, "I am

the worst sinner." King David became the root of Jesus not because he

was a mighty warrior but because he confessed his sins before God with

many tears, and he also forgave many kinds of adversaries instead of

doing away with them. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with

us. Bible scholars entitled today's passage "Divorce." What a

despicable title to think about! In fact, when we carefully study this

passage, we find that it is about the true meaning of marriage.  So let

us think about happy marriage.

First, a happy marriage (1-6). Jesus had finished his Galilean ministry

mainly in the Galilean district. Now he is on the way to Jerusalem. He

arrived in the region of Judea. As you know well, the Samaritans were

captured by the Assyrians and their blood was mixed. So the Judean

people thought of them as if they were Gentiles.  Most Jews avoided

Samaritan soil and took a long route around it because Samaria occupied

a huge territory between Galilee and Judea. But Jesus came to the

region of Judea directly passing through Samaria (Jn 4:4). Jesus mainly

worked in the Galilean district, healing the sick, preaching the gospel

of Jesus and raising his disciples. But the people of the region of

Judea knew who Jesus was. Large crowds followed him, and he healed them

there out of his compassion (2).

His healing in the region of Judea was indeed gracious to look at.

But the frantic Pharisees, because of their jealousy, tested Jesus.

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a

man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" (3) If Jesus had

said, "You can divorce according to Moses' law," then his answer would

contradict his own teaching, especially about love "love one another."

If Jesus had said, "Do not divorce," Jesus would seem to be opposing

the law of Moses. Here we must think about the Pharisees' mentality.

There are so many questions they could ask Jesus. Why did they ask

about divorce? The other day a man divorced his wife. Then the wife,

out of her sense of betrayal, killed her three children. When the happy

marriage was broken, her heart was broken. When her heart was broken,

she was totally irrational. Then innumerable demons crept into her soul

and she did what she should not do. Divorce breaks mostly women's

hearts; divorce also breaks children's hearts and makes them useless.

There is a nice-looking boy. His parents divorced. Everybody feels he

is like a vegetable man.  One of the great men in the United States of

America was a philanthropist who went around most parts of the world

almost all his life. When his strength was exhausted, he came home. His

wife talked about her lonely life without a husband. Then the famous

philanthropist who had established 3,000 orphanages in many countries

was upset, thinking that his wife did not understand his suffering and

hard work, and only complained about her lonely life. When he was

upset, a regiment of demons came into his soul. He decided to divorce

his wife at the age of around seventy-eight and died after three days.

The other day some said that a sixty-eight-year-old man divorced his

wife simply because his wife was not young and beautiful enough.  We

learn that divorce is not a natural phenomenon; it is precisely the

work of Satan.  In this country so many divorces have been filed. At

first, the courts of the United States of America carefully examined

the cause of divorce and encouraged people not to divorce. But in 1970,

American courts decided to allow uncontested divorce simply because

they could not deal with so many divorces, and the budget for divorce

court was too costly so much so that the court could not be maintained.

So they decided that those who wanted to divorce could just divorce

without any question. So in this country divorce is easier than cooking

one pan of lasagna. The most sorrowful thing is not the divorced

husband and wife, but their children. Most children trust their parents

and they think their parents are number one in the world.  But when

they beat each other and divorce, their children lose the joy of life

to live in the world. Finally their hearts are broken and they become

homeless. We cannot understand homeless children's sorrow and the

melancholy that overwhelms their daily lives. The Pharisees who asked

about the divorce problem to test Jesus may have wanted to divorce the

wife of their youth.

What did Jesus answer? Look at verse 4. "'Haven't you read,' he

replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and

female..."'" This verse explains that God made the world and mankind to

bless their marriage. Verse 5 says, "...and said, 'For this reason a

man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the

two will become one flesh.'" As you know well, every father thinks that

his first son or his children love him most and that they are his

possession forever. So they work hard and invest in them unsparingly.

Fathers have great expectations, which are written about in many books.

But when sons and daughters become grown-ups and finish their school

studies, they only think about their future beautiful marriage. Sorry

to say, but the Bible says, "For this reason a man will leave his

father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become

one flesh" (5). This verse tells us that when a boy is grown up and

gets married, he has already left his father and mother to be united to

his wife. There was a beautiful wedding ceremony last October 9th. But

the groom's father said to him, "If you have a wedding ceremony, don't

go on a honeymoon and don't sleep with your wife. Come back to your

father. After you get a Nobel Prize you can sleep with your wife." But

his son, who had never disobeyed his father, disobeyed his father's

instructions and enjoyed a beautiful honeymoon. Then there was no more

room for his father in his heart, but only for his beautiful wife. His

father was upset.  But his father had to know that a son is a son until

he gets married, and a daughter is a daughter as long as her parents

are alive. Sometimes it is better for us to know important sayings of

the ancients. Parents and married couples sometimes forget the meaning

of happy marriage. Jesus emphasized in verse 6: "So they are no longer

two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not

separate." Jesus' defense against the Pharisees' question about divorce

was, "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined

together, let man not separate." In this verse we learn that divorce is

not at all possible. God instituted marriage.  God ordained marriage.

God blessed marriage. Marriage was established at the cost of each

father's and mother's love and undying affection, for their children

left them without reservation to marry. Marriage is not meeting

together by chance.  Marriage is the focal point of God's creation. So

Jesus said to them in his apology, "Therefore what God has joined

together, let man not separate." Marriage is a happy event. But

marriage is related to the absolute providence of God. If anyone

divorces, his relationship with God is automatically broken and he or

she is cursed irrevocably fo. What is more, their children's hearts are

broken and they don't grow up as normal human beings. The meaning of

marriage is for young people to leave their fathers and mothers and

become one and be happy as long as they live in this world. And what

God has joined together, let man not separate. So married people cannot

imagine even the idea to separate.

God is wise in matching a couple. One man is intelligent and his

wife is gracious, but not so intelligent. One man is very hardworking

and diligent and has a vision of world conquest with the gospel of

Jesus, but his wife is like a genuine country girl. When we observe a

couple, the husband and wife are very different and opposite in

character and in their view of the world and way of using money.  But

when we prayerfully think about why they are so different, we find that

it is God's wisdom. If two persons are just the same kind, then there

is no harmony and universal beauty and their children cannot inherit

both sides' good qualities of integrity and character. Most

importantly, if a husband and a wife are not different, the world is

boring. Because they are different, they have many stories to tell and

there is ample reason to love each other. For two to become one takes a

little time.  But when two different persons become one, they can have

two thousand horsepower and nothing is impossible for them.

Second, Jesus' answer to the Pharisees' theory of divorce (7-9). Look

at verse 7.  "'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man

give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?'" What the

Pharisees asked was theoretically and rationally very right. But their

motivation was diabolic. When we look back to Moses' time, we find that

Moses' people were full of a slave mentality. What they wanted was to

work and eat, sleep and mate, and quarrel and divorce. These are the

main parts of slave people's life. Moses was a shepherd for six hundred

thousand people who used to live in Egypt. Most of their petitions and

complaints to Moses were about their wives. At that time women were

objects of pleasure to men, and the society was male-dominant. So many

Israelites did not like their wives and wanted to divorce. There were

too many divorce petitions. Moses could not deal with their divorce

problems. And if a man wanted to divorce his wife, he did as he pleased

and divorced her anyway because of their slave culture. Finally, Moses

permitted divorce on the condition that a man must give his wife a

certificate of divorce so that the divorced woman may have a chance to

marry another man. Moses permitted divorce on the condition that they

give the woman a certificate of divorce. It was to protect women from

misery. At that time, to be born a woman was a tragedy, even if she was

an Egyptian.

Look at verse 8. "Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce

your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from

the beginning.'" In this verse Jesus urged, "But it was not this way

from the beginning." When Jesus said this, Jesus was crying,

understanding the agony and sorrow of Moses in being a shepherd for

slave-like Israelites. Jesus continued in verse 9, "I tell you that

anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and

marries another woman commits adultery." This verse clearly nails down

that the motive of divorce is for the sake of adultery. When a man

divorces, he has many reasons to divorce his wife.  When a woman

divorces her husband, she has mountain-like excuses. But Jesus tells

the truth about the motivation of divorce: It is to commit adultery.

Why are there so many divorces, even among senior citizens? According

to Jesus, it is in order to commit adultery. We pray, "May God

establish America as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." This

prayer includes that the perverse and adulterous generation may be

gone, and that the kingdom of God come in the hearts of young and old

American people. We must pray with the prayer topic: "May God establish

America as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation," sometimes all

night, sometimes with fasting. Most importantly, we must pray

throughout our lifetimes. Whatever we do, it should be prayer itself.

Third, the disciples' surprise (10). Look at verse 10. "The disciples

said to him, 'If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it

is better not to marry.'" This verse shows that the disciples were

still very immature. They were not yet sanctified by the truth, and

most of them were not married yet because of their ambition in Jesus.

But they were indeed surprised by Jesus' lecture about a happy

marriage.  They did not understand what Jesus said about a happy

marriage, but thought it was chaining together and enslavement of a

husband and a wife. This is the reason there are so many homosexuals

and lesbians. They think that if they marry, they would have to be

responsible for their spouses and children. But they want to satisfy

their physical desire, so they become homosexuals or lesbians. Human

freedom without Jesus misguides people not to be responsible for

something, even for their families. His disciples were so pessimistic

about marriage and said, "If this is the situation between a husband

and wife, it is better not to marry." There are so many immature people

who do not marry because they don't want to be responsible for their

wives or husbands. One man is almost a genius. But his smart mind made

him calculative. He really wanted to marry from the age of nineteen.

Now he is fifty, but he could not marry because he wanted to be free

from any responsibility. He soothes his sorry feeling through painting.

We should not be like the disciples who were surprised at Jesus'

lecture about a happy marriage. We must learn Jesus' secret about happy

marriage. We must learn before marriage how to be responsible persons

and how to make harmony between different characters and

personalities.  We must learn before marriage the happiness of marriage

in Jesus.

Fourth, the renouncement of marriage (11-12). Jesus understood the

disciples. So he said in verse 11, "Not everyone can accept this word,

but only those to whom it has been given." In other words, the secret

of a happy marriage is not understood by man's calculation, but comes

from God. Those who do not believe in God do not know the secret of a

happy marriage. Jesus also said in verse 12, "some are eunuchs," and,

some "have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven."

Usually people want to marry a beautiful woman or a handsome man.

That's the desire of ordinary people. But Jesus told them the truth

that some became eunuchs. They were not necessarily physical eunuchs,

but those who renounced marriage. Jesus is talking about many women who

renounced marriage.  Until the seventeenth century in the British

Empire and in all the Catholic countries, if a family had two

daughters, one had to become a nun. The world is perverse and immoral.

It seems to be impossible. But it is possible when we pray, "May God

make this nation a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" to the end.

Fifth, a pure mind like children (13-15). When Jesus and his disciples

were talking about the happiness of marriage, children suddenly

surrounded them and made a lot of noise. Probably Andrew and Philip,

who had heavy marriage problems, rebuked them, "You children! Go away!

Go away!" Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not

hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (14).

He placed his hands on them, and he went on from there to Jerusalem.

Those who are enslaved by the divorce problem and those who are

paralyzed by the marriage problem cannot enter the kingdom of God. They

should be as pure as children.

In this passage we learned the happiness of marriage and its

principle, and at the same time, the motive of unhappy divorce. We must

know: What God has joined together, let man not separate. And Moses did

not give a certificate of divorce to a divorced woman for the sake of

divorce; it was to protect underprivileged and sorrowful women who were

divorced for no reason. May God bless us not to be like the Pharisees,

but to remember Jesus' teaching about a happy marriage. In order to

have a happy marriage, let's be as pure as children before marriage.