"`For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one."
1. Read verse 1. Where was Jesus going? How did he respond to the crowds who came? Why did he teach them the word of God? (2Ti 3:16; Heb 4:12; Jn 1:1-2; Jn 1:14; Jn 3:16)
2. Read verse 2. What did the Pharisees ask Jesus? What does it mean that they tested him?
3. Read verses 3-5. Why did Jesus ask the Pharisees about Moses' Law? What did Moses teach about divorce? Was he encouraging divorce? According to Jesus, why did Moses write this law? What does this mean?
4. Read verses 6-9. What Bible lesson did Jesus teach them? (Ge 2:20-24) What was his main point? What did Jesus believe and teach about marriage?
5. Read verses 10-12. When they were alone, what did the disciples ask Jesus? What does this show about them? What are people's motives for divorce? What did Jesus teach them? Why is divorce a sin against God? (9; Jn 15:5)
"`For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one."
It was quite interesting to learn how to be a good influence to others as the children of God. Our Lord Jesus worked as the earthly Messiah for only three years. But his influence has been overwhelming all the world down through the generations. His influence gives us courage to have a transformation in the word of God. His influence gives us a new life. His influence enables us to live in this world with peace and love. His influence gives us happiness in our families and with our friends. Finally, his influence leads us to obtain eternal life and his kingdom as our inheritance. His influence gives us courageous faith to live on earth as holy pilgrims. His influence came from the word of God. His influence came from his absolute obedience to the Almighty God for the purpose of world salvation. If we have a good influence, first and last of all, we can recognize ourselves as somebodies. It is not a small matter to recognize oneself as somebody. There have been many heroes in history. But none of them recognized themselves as somebodies. They were punishing themselves with trouble and distress. We remember Napoleon Bonaparte. When he was young, he was a conqueror. But when his stomach stuck out and he could not ride a horse as fast as he wanted, he lost the war at Waterloo. He was exiled to an island and died there. His influence does not impress us with a happy image. As a result, nobody names his child after Napoleon Bonaparte. In view of history, he was a man of great influence. Yet he was nothing but a sinful man who killed so many people in other countries and finally was imprisoned on an island. But our Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sin of the world. His death looked to be most tragic, as ever the world was made. But his death on the cross makes our souls tender. His death on the cross leads us home. His influence makes us holy pilgrims toward the kingdom of God. Today we are going to think about the true meaning of marriage. Every time we have a wedding ceremony, the bridegroom and bride are very happy. And those who are married are also happy, remembering their own wedding ceremonies in the past. Today let's think about why divorce is not right to God and about why true marriage in God is the source of happiness.
I. Jesus teaches the word to the crowds of people who came to him (1)
Look at verse 1. "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." Jesus' final journey to Jerusalem was progressing. Jesus left Capernaum and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan (9:33). Again crowds of people came to him, saying, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Good Jesus! My shepherd Jesus!" In the past, the crowds of people were only interested in begging and healing. But this time, in their souls the compassion of Jesus was there. So they welcomed Jesus. In view of Jesus' time schedule, they were really annoying crowds of people. But Jesus again taught them the word of God. When Jesus taught them the word of God, their eyes were glued to Jesus' mouth. When the word of life came into their souls, they felt as if they were in the kingdom of God. So they again shouted, "Jesus! Jesus! Good Jesus! Our shepherd Jesus!" This time of Bible teaching was one of the happy times.
Why did Jesus teach them the Bible? 2 Timothy 3:15-16 says, "...and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...." Why did Jesus teach them the Bible? Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Why did Jesus teach them the word of God instead of giving them something to eat? Isn't it our manner to give our guests a cup of tea or coffee and then talk? But Jesus gave them the word of God. Why did Jesus only teach them the word of God at this particular moment? He was bracing himself with the thought of crucifixion on the cross. But his mission to save the people from their sins compelled him to teach the word of God. So he taught the word of God so that the word of God might be planted in their souls and they might be saved. John 1:1-2 say, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." The word of God is Jesus himself. This is the reason Jesus did not give them a cup of coffee first, but he gave himself to them. What an amazing grace of Jesus! When he taught the word of God, he was full of grace and truth (Jn 1:14). It was because he taught the word of God to the crowds of people. He was giving himself to them. Whenever we read John 3:16, it says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." This verse reveals the compassion of Jesus when he taught the crowds of people coming to him on his way to Jerusalem. We have Friday Leaders' Testimony Sharing time. Every Friday night seems to be the best festival for us. Why is it so? It is because handsome and young students talk about Jesus from their hearts. On Thanksgiving we ate many pieces of turkey, but we were not as happy as we are at the Friday meeting when young and handsome and beautiful people share the word of God. If each district has such a festival with the word of God, this country will be like the kingdom of God, where there is only God's peace and joy.
II. The Pharisees' question concerning divorce (2-5)
While Jesus was teaching the word of God to the crowds of people who came to him, some Pharisees also came to him and wanted to test Jesus' Bible knowledge. Their question was, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" (2) Jesus answered, "What did Moses command you?" (3) They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away" (4). In light of Jesus' teaching, they found Jesus' moral level did not permit a man to divorce his wife. So they brought a shrewd question. They thought that Jesus' moral standard was different from that of Moses; therefore, Jesus was not keeping Moses' law. And therefore, Jesus was an outlaw. And therefore, Jesus was instigating the destruction of the system of Jewish tradition and disturbing people to confusion. Look at verse 2. "Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?'" Then Jesus asked, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away." What they said was literally right. But their hearts were crooked. In Moses' time, his sheep all had a slave mentality. In that miserable situation, women were even more misused and abused. Women, who were known as the mothers of the universe, did not find their proper position as women. But they were used by men at random. The Jews had no law before the Ten Commandments were given. So if a Jewish man, who had a slave mentality from their time in Egypt, married a woman and did not like her, the next day he abandoned the woman and married again. According to the Apocrypha, a Jewish man married five times in one month and divorced five times. Therefore, there was no happiness in a family. There were many unhappy children who had broken hearts, in addition to their unhappy situation as slaves. Shepherd Moses thought about their random divorce and discarding women like garbage. Shepherd Moses made the law of divorce. When a man divorced his wife, he should give her a certificate of divorce. This largely limited Jewish men of the time from divorcing their wives. When one was going to divorce his wife, he had to go to the court and produce evidence that she deserved divorce. It was not easy for anyone to receive a certificate of divorce. Shepherd Moses made the law of divorce in order to prevent random divorce and to restrict the man-oriented society so that the society might discover happiness when women were given their proper place.
It was not at all Shepherd Moses' intent to give them the law of divorce in order to promote divorce. Shepherd Moses, in his divine wisdom, restricted their divorce by the law of divorce.
Some Pharisees from Jerusalem thought they won the game and they were beaming, caressing their moustaches and beards. Then Jesus answered them. Look at verse 5. "‘It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,' Jesus replied." Some Pharisees from Jerusalem understood that Shepherd Moses gave them the law of divorce not to promote divorce, but to restrict divorce. Then they learned that they lost the game and they hid themselves in the crowd and ran away somewhere. Some Pharisees studied the Pentateuch so thoroughly. But they did not understand the heart of God and the shepherd heart of Moses. They only used the word of God as their political tool. They were not religious people. They were very political and their hearts were very crooked. We must remember that Moses did not give the law of divorce in order to promote divorce, but to restrict divorce. Indeed, Shepherd Moses was a man of divine sagacity.
III. The true meaning of marriage (6-9)
Even if the Pharisees disappeared in the crowd, Jesus taught the crowds of people around him the true meaning of marriage. The crowds of people gathered there to hear a message like the Sermon on the Mount. But Jesus was suddenly talking about the true meaning of happy marriage. Still, they were very happy to hear what he said. Jesus taught them the true meaning of happy marriage from Genesis. Whenever we see a new sheep, we start with Genesis. Jesus was the same. He also taught the people from Genesis. Look at verses 6-7. "But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.' ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife....'" When God made the world, he also made the first man Adam. Adam was the first steward of God's world. He worked hard. He ate a tremendous amount of food and whenever he slept he snored the whole time until he woke up. But he never said a few words, even at the dinner table, not to mention that he did not smile even once. So God made him fall into a deep sleep and took one of his ribs and made a woman and gave her to him (Gen 2:20-24). From that time on, Adam began to talk and smile and even sing with a baritone sound. If a man is the steward of the universe, a woman is the mother of the universe. Without a mother, the world is too lonely. Without a mother, the world is too sorrowful. Adam experienced this sorrow even in paradise. After the wedding in paradise, Adam found happiness in God and the meaning of his existence. When we study Genesis, we learn that Eve came from one of Adam's ribs. Therefore, they were in actuality, one. We can ask the question, "Why didn't God make a woman separately?" But God did this so that they could be one. Someday they could realize they really are one in God Almighty. Look at verse 8. "‘...and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one."
Here we learn the true meaning of marriage. In order to marry, a man leaves his father and mother and unites to his wife and the two become one flesh. In other words, two persons get together and become one person in character and in thought world and in faith in God.
But in truth, when a man marries a woman they can be two persons forever. Two becoming one seems to be absolutely impossible. It is because each person's character and nature are different. Some couples are very similar, so they are getting along well. But most couples find they are completely different. They are 120% different; it means not only 100%, but they have reason to talk about their difference 20% more. Because of their difference of opinion or difference in character and difference in thought world, some people divorce. But it is a great mistake. God made man and woman and made them one through marriage. If the bridegroom and bride were just the same, there is a great danger that they would beget retarded children. But if a husband and wife are quite different, they can bear brilliant children and they are happy because of their children. Because husbands and wives are different, they can find a new world, the world of harmony and mystery. True happiness in marriage comes when they have harmony and mystery in between them. There was a self-made man. He studied philosophy and theology. But he did not study superficially. He really studied to know the cause of his mother's death when he was eight months old. There were dozens of girls who liked him. But he married a country woman who was pure and simple. The one who studied philosophy and theology to solve his life problem was so complicated. But his wife was so simple and pure. There was a harmony and there was overflowing love. When the first child was born between them, they were overwhelmed by mystery. They wanted to have five sons and two daughters. But they could not fulfill their dream in order to shepherd the flock of God's sheep. The husband was always out to shepherd the flock of God's sheep and his wife was caring for their three children. They did not have much time to spend together for the last forty years. Still, they are the most happy ones. The husband thinks his wife is number one in the world. The wife thinks her husband is the number one man in the 20th century. Their love grows. Their faith grows in God Almighty. Their hope in the kingdom of God grows in their souls. Their influence touched their three children and they are also growing in God Almighty and they are happy.
Therefore we must follow God's truth about the true meaning of marriage day by day and month by month. Finally we find harmony and mystery in our family lives. Usually woman's vanity is so big. Because of this, Confucius said that if vanity is taken out of a woman, she collapses. But for a woman to be full of vanity is not necessarily bad. Rather, it is good. A woman is a wife of a family and a woman's expectation for her husband never dwindles, but it grows bigger and bigger. Any man who lives with his wife has to be a great man in order to satisfy his wife's great hope in him. As long as a married man has a wife, he can be a great man because of his wife's great desire for him. On the other hand, a husband must know a woman's place in the family. He must honor her as his children's mother. Children are influenced by their mothers until they become eighteen years old. As long as a husband buys her a present at Thanksgiving time and Christmas time and New Year's time and Easter season and on Valentine's Day and Independence Day and Abraham Lincoln's Day and Veteran's Day, he can earn his wife's respect. In return, his wife influences his children as their daddy wants, and raises them into the kind of people they should be. Therefore, a husband must learn how to give a present to his wife. Otherwise, he loses everything. To make a happy family, like a happy farmer–who is happier than the king of his country–men must honor our partners as mothers of their children. Generally, women don't want any big presents and heartless admiration. They want small gifts on time and for their husbands to look at them and smile as the expression of love. Then we can please God through our happy family after marriage.
Look at verse 9. "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." This is God's imperative. Anyone who thinks about divorce is already displeasing God and God's wrath and anger is upon him. Therefore, we should not think about divorce, even in our dream. If by some misfortune one has dreamt about divorcing his wife, he must fast several days and repent. It is because a dream always comes from our subconsciousness. Let's read verse 9 once more. "Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
IV. The motive of divorce (10-12)
Jesus' disciples were people of the time. Ambitious John might have had in mind to divorce many wives and have many younger and beautiful women as his wives. For this reason, when they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her" (11). Divorce happens because there is a possibility if he divorces he can have another woman to marry. Suppose his wife were the only woman in the world and there were no more women at all. He would not divorce. Many a man divorces his wife because there are many women in the world who are younger and beautiful. So many a man has divorced several times and married one around twenty to twenty-five years younger. He is not mindful at all that his former wife, who was divorced by him, is very sorrowful. He is not mindful at all that his children's hearts were broken when their parents divorced and their father married a woman young enough to be their sister. Divorce causes great pain because it is sin which displeases God. Marriage is like a vine and branch relationship. A branch cannot separate from the vine. Therefore, John 15:5 says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." It is the description of the love relationship between Jesus and his disciples. Philosophically speaking, marriage is a love relationship or a permanent contract. If a branch falls away from the vine, it dries. It also becomes useless. When a man cuts his relationship with God he is useless to God. In Greek, the word for sin, hamartia, means to separate or to cut. If a man divorces his wife he is cutting his relationship with her. In other words, he becomes a sinner in the sight of God. Cutting the relationship is not a light matter. It is a gravely serious matter in the sight of God. As long as we have a vine and branch relationship we are happy and we can bear much fruit. But if they cut their relationship with God they become sinners. They never see the kingdom of God or enter the kingdom of God. While on earth, they live in the darkness and when their life in the world is over, they go to hell where fire never stops.
Let's read verses 11-12. "He answered, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.'" Jesus was sad when he answered the disciples' question. However, he plainly told them that divorce is to satisfy the desire to commit adultery. People explain their cause of divorce in many ways. But at the bottom of their hearts they divorce to commit adultery. There is a saying that there are three kinds of people. One kind is absolutely necessary in the world for the blessing of others. Another kind is those whose existence does not make a difference whether they exist or not. The last kind of person is a very harmful existence. They are existences who should not survive in the world. Those who want to divorce their wives to satisfy the desire to commit adultery are the kind who should not exist in the world.
In this lesson, only remember the happiness of marriage. And if you have something wrong in your married life, especially before your children, you have to really come to God and ask his mercy to give you a correct and happy married life. God bless you.