Today's verses are Mark 10:6-8: "But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh.'" The Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce, whether it should be easy or hard. To where does Jesus go to answer their question? He goes to original intent. He goes to the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2. He goes to what God intended from the beginning before sin entered the world and ransacked every part of God's original intent.
To answer the Pharisees' question, Jesus not only says that divorce was never a part of God's original design but that it's caused by the hardness of people's hearts (vs. 5, yesterday's lesson/blog). Every divorce is caused because one or both of the people in the marriage have hardened hearts, a refusal to repent and do God's will.
But Jesus goes a step farther in today's verses. Not only does he give the reason for all divorce, he gives God's definition of marriage.
First, Jesus quotes Genesis1:26,26, that God originally created us male and female. We are two different genders, opposite and complementary at the same time. Then Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24, again, pre-Fall, original intent. Note that since this is a creation creed, it's not just for Jews and Christians. It's for everyone, everywhere. Marriage is not only God's idea, but God's gift to humanity for social health. Here is God's definition of marriage according to Jesus, quoting Genesis 2:24:
1) A man and woman will leave their parents.
2) The man holds fast to his wife. This means that in a public ceremony, before God, family and friends, they make permanent, covenant vows to one another: for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health, forsaking all others, forever. The back door is permanently locked from the outside.
3) They become one flesh. This is the sexual term. They have intimate, sexual intercourse with one another, thus sealing the vows they'd just made publicly.
Jesus' teaching about God's intent for marriage could not be clearer: one man, one woman leaving parents, cleaving to one another in a public ceremony, back door locked from the outside in a permanent relationship,then sealed with sex AFTER the vows are publicly expressed. Put another way, marriage is one man, one woman in a committed, heterosexual monogamous relationship forever.
Think about how many social ills would go away if every marriage everywhere would practice God's will: from STD's being practically eliminated, to children being raised in the healthiest environment possible, to society's overall health. This would be "the kingdom of God," what Jesus came to inaugurate on earth.
Our society is presently going through many social upheavals and problems. Most of them, in my opinion, can be rooted in the breakdown of marriage and the family as God intended. The answer for many social problems, in my opinion, is for all of us who desire to be married and are married to repent of our selfishness, our hardness of heart, and commit ourselves again and again to God's original design for marriage and the family.
Finally, our society is debating what a right definition of marriage should be. I am a Biblical theologian. When trying to answer any question about faith or practice, where the Bible speaks clearly, so must I. The Biblical definition of marriage couldn't be clearer. It's defined in Genesis 2:24, quoted by Jesus when asked about marriage here in Mark 10 (and also Matthew 19, a parallel passage) and by Paul in Ephesians 5: 19ff. Again, it's between one man, one woman, in a committed, heterosexual, monogamous, permanent relationship.
In my opinion, we redefine marriage at our own peril. God will not be mocked. Whatever we sow, we shall reap, individually, and as a nation.
I pray our greatest desire as God's people would be to do his will, no matter the cost.