What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus has something to say about marriage and divorce, and it’s radical to our current world culture (verses 3-12).
- Jesus has something to radical to say about money, too (verses 20-30).
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Don’t be afraid to address the difficult stuff of life, especially sex and money; they are essential to discipleship.
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
This is Jesus’ clearest teaching on marriage and speaks loudly in several ways. First, it provides His clear definition of marriage—a covenant between a man and a woman. Whatever our culture is saying about this today, Jesus could not be clearer regarding God’s intention for marriage.
Notice that IMMEDIATELY following His teaching on marriage, Jesus welcomes the children and bids them come so that He can touch and bless them. I’ve never noticed that context before. Of all the reasons biblical marriage matters, the care and nurture of children by a father and a mother is near the top of the list.
…which makes the scourge of divorce even more painful. The Church must have courage to say, “Divorce is a tearing of covenant that destroys life, and it denies the resurrecting power of Jesus to be able to bring life back into a marriage.” Of course we welcome divorced people and help to rebuild them, as we do all who are broken by the power of sin. But (with the one exception in verse 9) we must see divorce as Jesus saw it: sin; a violation of a sacred covenant, a breaking of vows, desolation in the lives of children and a negation of the transforming power of Christ.
Starting this day, whatever our past, may every one of us say, “By God’s grace I will honor my wedding vows and so honor the God to whom we made this covenant!”
Regarding the rich man, I think these words speak to nearly every reader of this passage on this list. We are, by the world’s standards, rich people. Yet we never feel we have enough, are rarely content, live in perpetual monetary fear and tend to idolize our wealth.
Ironically, on the heels of this teaching about marriage and divorce, an area that many contemporary Christians either wink at or ignore, comes a clear teaching about the importance of giving, another area contemporary Christians either wink at or ignore. If the readers of just this blog honored and protected their marriage with all their hearts and might and tithed and gave faithfully, our Chapel Hill family culture would be changed.