Our Next Guest Is: Legalism

Series: Our Next Guest | Week 7: A Journey Through the Gospel of Mark

Day Two Mark 10:1-12

1 Then Jesus left Capernaum and went down to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. Once again crowds gathered around him, and as usual he was teaching them.

2 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”

3 Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”

4 “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.”

5 But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. 6 But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, 8 and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

10 Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. 11 He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”

1. What is Jesus doing as usual in verse 1?
2. What do the Pharisees do as usual in verse 2?
3. How does Jesus respond in a way that goes above their squabbling?

The Pharisees didn’t really want to know about divorce – a controversial topic even in their day. They only wanted to find ways to trip Jesus up. Not allowing Himself to be manipulated by their minutia, Jesus took the high road, quoting Old Testament Scripture to highlight God’s intent for marriage. While divorce is never God’s intent, plan, or hope for anyone, we do see elsewhere in Scripture where He allows it for specific reasons. May today’s passage serve as a reminder to us to form our beliefs and theology based upon all of Scripture, not just a few verses. Follow the example of Jesus, embracing grace and avoiding the trap of legalism.

For Further Reading: What God Has Joined (For further resources and support related to divorce, visit tpcc.org/divorce.)

*TPCC does not necessarily endorse all For Further Reading/Learning sources. They are simply meant to be a helpful tool.

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