Day 19 – Jesus on Marriage

Posted on Posted in Advent

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Marriage is a hot topic today, but truth be told, it has always been a hot topic. In Matthew 19, we find Jesus both rebuking cultural views of marriage, and defining true marriage. In the text, the Pharisees ask Jesus if it’s ok to divorce for any cause (a common practice), and by his answer, Jesus speaks clearly and frankly to a host of marriage issues we face today.

Here is what Jesus says, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6).

To give the short answer, Jesus rejects no fault divorce because men have no right to tear apart something that God has joined together. But in this text, Jesus not only speaks directly to no-fault divorce, but he also speaks indirectly to homosexuality, so called “gay-marriage”, and the transgender movement. And he does so by affirming what is right and true about sexuality and marriage.

Jesus begins where all understandings about sex and marriage must begin; he begins with gender. Jesus declares that God created gender (male and female) on purpose, and with purpose. In contrast to the transgender movement where gender is supposedly chosen based on personal feelings and experience, Jesus says gender is a reality created by God, to be received from God, and then lived out to the glory of God.

So why did God create humans as sexual gendered beings? He did so for the purpose of marriage. So that boys would leave homes and marry girls, and girls would leave homes and marry boys (Unless called to singleness, as Jesus discusses in verses 11-12). And the reason boys are to marry girls and girls are to marry boys, is because they are both different, and in their differences they can become “one-flesh”. And this one-flesh (sexual) relationship is at the heart of what marriage is, and what marriage is for.

I’m sure you have heard that Jesus never spoke on the issue of homosexuality, so called gay-marriage, or transgender issues. But that’s not really true. Because speaking clearly and frankly about the truth, is at the same time exposing all the competing lies. And after defining and defending marriage here, a few chapters later, Jesus uses marriage to point to something that all brides and grooms are meant to point to; the great wedding feast that is to come, the wedding feast of the Son (Matthew 22:1-14). And in that wedding feast, Jesus Christ is the groom and we are his bride, and that’s why the meaning of marriage matters so much.