About Jesus Steve Sweetman
- Divorce Remarriage
in the Biblical record does Jesus systematically set forth His teaching
concerning divorce and remarriage. Except
for Matthew 5:31 and 32, we see Jesus responding to a few questions
concerning this issue. So,
when it comes to Jesus, we're limited in what we learn, but, what we do
learn is crucial.
of the four places found in the gospels where Jesus addresses divorce
and remarriage, I begin with Luke 16:18 because it's only one verse.
One verse doesn't constitute the totality of Biblical teaching.
The text reads. "Anyone
who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and
the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery".
Upon a superficial reading of these words you may think you
understand what Jesus said, but without a grasp of the context you'll
surely misunderstand Him.
context of what Jesus said here goes back to Luke 15:2 where the
Pharisees were angry with Him for associating with prostitutes.
On one occasion a sinful woman, probably a prostitute, touched
Jesus by washing His feet. (Luke 7:36-40)
The self-righteous Pharisees were furious.
How in all lawful honesty could Jesus let a ceremonially defiled
prostitute touch Him?
responded to the Pharisees by pointing out their hypocrisy concerning
legal matters. In Luke 16:15
He said, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of
men, but God knows your hearts. What
is highly valued among men is highly detestable in God's sight".
Jesus blasted these guys for their hypocritical rabbinical
teaching that allowed them to circumvent the Law of Moses they
arrogantly claimed to uphold.
specific point of hypocrisy Jesus zeroed in on was the Pharisees
practice of free and easy divorce and remarriage.
He didn't say much, but what He did say was directed specifically
to the Pharisees and their supporters. They clearly knew that, and so
of these Pharisees were of the liberal Hillel school of thought who
majored on the words "displeasing" and "disliked" in
Deuteronomy 24:1 – 4. They
believed that any "unpleasing" thing they "disliked"
about their wives was grounds for divorce.
The words "anyone who divorces his wife commits adultery,
and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery", in context,
were spoken specifically to these Pharisees and their supporters who
disguised their wife swapping in rabbinical legalities.
on the context, here's my paraphrase of this verse.
"Any one of you hypocritical and lust filled men commit
adultery when you freely and easily divorce your wife to find a new sex
partner". This may
sound crude, but the historical fact is that these men were that crude.
believe to be hermeneutically accurate, we must know exactly and
specifically to whom Jesus spoke. He
was speaking to guilty hypocritical wife swappers who were standing
right in front of him. I
don't believe Jesus was speaking to men who lawfully divorced their
wives on the grounds of adultery as Deuteronomy 24: 1 - 4 permitted. Those
men were few and far between. I
believe a contextual analysis of Jesus' statement tells us that wife
swappers committed adultery when they remarried, not those who lawfully
divorced their wives on the grounds of adultery.