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Aug 3 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Fifty-four – Matthew 19:1-12

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only to those to whom it has been given. . . .” Matthew 19:10-11

The Pharisees came to test Jesus (the same word is used when Satan tempted him; Mt. 4:1). The Law of Moses contained a divorce clause and they wanted to determine whether the Lord stood by the Law or took a more idealistic view of marriage (perhaps because of his teaching in Mt. 5:27-32).

Jesus was not opposed to the Law, but he did challenge its letter, which sometimes reflected the “hardness” of the human heart rather than the heart of God. Jesus’ disciple is someone who does not simply go along with “It has been said,” but learns to discern the will of God in the Scriptures through the Spirit (Mt. 5:21, 27, etc.; 2 Co. 3:6).

Reaching back to a time prior to the Law, Jesus referred to God’s original design from “the beginning.” This is where we discover God’s paradigm for marriage.

What surprises us is the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ statement. Apparently they were not too idealistic when it came to marriage. Of course, the problem with idealism is that it requires ideal men and ideal women in an ideal world for it to work. Jesus’ answer to them was that the sexless life of a eunuch was always an option. As for those who cannot “accept this statement,” they must accept the commitment that marriage demands–even at the risk of failure.

Lord God, who from the beginning said that the two shall become one flesh, strengthen us for the life to which You have called us. If marriage, give us grace to make our marriages strong in Your love. If not marriage, let our relationship to Jesus be enough. May we all become better, kinder, and more loving people.

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