Matthew 5:27-32; 19:3-9
“No adultery” is what God decreed in the Law (Exodus 20:14).
“Not even in the eye or in the heart” is what Jesus explained in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:28).
- Did Job understand that (Job 31:1)?
- James helps us understand the consequences of following our lustful eyes and heart (James 1:14,15).
- Which helps us understand further the rationale behind Jesus’ prioritizing lesson in verses 29 and 30.
Jesus acknowledged the Mosaic allowance (Deuteronomy 24:1) for a man putting away his wife with certain provisions.
- Because of “some uncleanness in her.”
- Don’t just kick her out; give her legal standing with proper process and documentation.
- But God hated such putting away (Malachi 2:14-16).
- It was no compliment to them that God allowed it back then: “For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept” (Mark 10:5).
- But from the very beginning, God had a better plan (Mark 10:6-9).
“What therefore God hath joined together,
let not man put asunder.”
Perhaps the Pharisees heard (or least heard about) Jesus’ teaching on the mount. So eventually they put Him to the test on the matter: “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matthew 19:3). I don’t recall that even Law allowed that! But Jesus didn’t take that tack in His response.
Instead He seems to ask them, “Don’t you know the original plan and heart of God for marriage?” (Matthew 19:4). So what “God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:6). That was so simple.
Hoping to find refuge in what Moses had to say in Deuteronomy, the Pharisees demanded an explanation for that divine allowance (Matthew 19:7).
Jesus had two more simple statements to explain the matter to them (Matthew 19:8):
- That allowance was “because of the hardness of your hearts.”
- From the beginning, such separation and putting away never was the plan and heart of God.
Excerpted from Divorce and Remarriage