God’s plan from the very beginning of history is for marriage to be a lifelong, sacred bond. To my knowledge, none of our middle school students have married yet. So the application of today’s tough teaching from Jesus is for the future. But you should ask God to begin preparing your hearts and minds right now in two important ways. First, plan to marry one person for life. Second, that means that after deciding to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the most important decision you will ever make is whom to marry. So, you should be ready to do what the old knight told Indiana Jones in the epic movie The Last Crusade as Indy was trying to guess which cup was the Holy Grail: Choose wisely!
I am going to be very straight forward and say that as middle school students, you do not need be dating or courting right now. A boyfriend or girlfriend at your age will not make your life better, only more complicated, stressful, and possibly painful (emotionally). Really, you may not even be ready for a boyfriend or girlfriend even when you are in high school. Your focus now should be on your relationship with God, your family, your school work, and your extracurricular activities (in that order). Finally, when it is the right time to think about whom you might consider for marriage, please listen to the advice of godly adults who care about you. Look for proven evidence of a real commitment to Christ in the young woman or man above all else. Okay, enough preaching from a teacher – time to see exactly what Jesus said on this topic.
The Text (Mark 10:1-12)
1 Then He arose from there and came to the region of Judea by the other side of the Jordan. And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again.
2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
3 And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”
5 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of 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 reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. 11 So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Background and Observations
• In Jesus’ time, some religious leaders taught that divorce was okay for any reason, while some taught that it was only okay in cases were a spouse had committed adultery. The Pharisees want Jesus to pick a side and then draw heat from the side He doesn’t pick. But Jesus outmaneuvers them by directing them back to God’s original plan when He created the first man and woman.
• Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was intended to give legal and economic protection to women when their husbands divorced them. Jesus says that Moses (the author of Deuteronomy) created these procedures because of the “hardness of heart” of people who were already determined to divorce their spouses.
• Again, as middle school students, you are not yet married. When you read Scripture, God does not want you to worry about what other people do or have done, but for you to plan to follow His will for your lives as taught in His Word.
Questions to Think About
1. Have you thought before about what kind of person that you want to marry? Where do godly character traits fit into your hopes?
2. In what ways are your growing right now to be a godly husband or wife for someone else one day?
3. Do you have godly mentors in your life right now? Who are they and how are you letting them speak God’s truth into your lives?