Sunday, April 26, 2015


Sunday, April 19, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 45

(This is a series of sermonettes on The Gospel According To Mark. )

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s. Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

SCRIPTURE for Today: Mark 10:1-12 King James Version (KJV)
10 And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you?
4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter.
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
SERMON for Today:
Once again, Jesus’ opponents seek to test him (cf. 8:11; 12:15) with a question, this time concerning the legality of divorce. They hope to expose him as an opponent of the Law of Moses. The bill of divorce refers to the provisions about divorce in Deut. 24:1–4.

Jesus emphasizes that marriage, as a permanent relationship between a man and a woman, goes back to God’s purpose at the beginning of creation (Gen. 1:27; 2:24; Ex. 20:14). Moses’ regulations on divorce (Deut. 24:1–3) were not part of God’s original (“beginning”) plan but were instituted “For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.”

In this passage and in Luke 16:18 Jesus does not include the phrase “except for sexual immorality” as in Matt. 5:32 and 19:9. One possible reason is that there was no dispute or disagreement among Jews, or in Greek or Roman culture, that adultery was a legitimate ground for divorce, and Jesus is not addressing that issue here. The disputes were over the many other causes for divorce, so Jesus gave a blanket statement about all the other causes without explicitly specifying what everyone already agreed was true.

Note that in Mark 10:12 Jesus says “And if a woman shall put away her husband” is the only time in the Gospels where it is assumed that a woman also has a right to initiate a divorce.

People like to take this passage of Holy Writ and say Jesus said there should be no divorce.  The verses are much more complicated than that.  Do not miss the fact that Jesus took the discussion back to the Creation of male and female.  His statement about them being “one flesh” took away the idea that the wife was the property of the husband.  This was further reinforced in private with his disciples when he says “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.”  This condemns the common practice of the day of getting a bill of divorcement simply because the husband was tired of his aging property and wanted a new wife.

The idea that it is God who joins a wife and husband takes the entire marriage process back to the creation story and not to the local courthouse.  You can lay all the guilt trips you want to on folks who failed in previous marriages, but you might want to reserve your judgement.  Their present marriage may be the only one that God had a hand in and that He joined the two and they became one.  Read this scripture and remember it well before you or your church turn your back on a couple who have remarried.  
John 8: 1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
Go and live in peace knowing the Lord walks with you.

NEXT WEEK: The subject will be THE RICH YOUNG RULER.  Mark 10: 17-31

PRAYER for Today: Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

© Ed Cooper, April 26, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
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