Posted by / Sunday 19 March 2017 / No comments

Jesus' teachings on marriage and divorce

In his teachings on divorce and marriage, Jesus referred to one of the laws of Moses, stating that men could divorce their wives by giving them a certificate of divorce. However, according to Jesus, anybody who divorces his wife, except on grounds of infidelity, has automatically turned the woman into a harlot. He continued that anybody who marries a divorced woman has also committed adultery. So clearly Jesus was against divorce and remarriage.

Jesus again confirmed his abhorrence of divorce when a group of Pharisees came to him asking whether it was lawful to divorce a wife for any reason. Jesus replied by saying, from the beginning God made them both male and female that is why a man may leave his father and mother and cling to his wife “…and the two shall become one.” In the book of Mark, Jesus said, “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder”. The Pharisees asked Jesus why Moses told them to give the wife a certificate of divorce and send her away but Jesus told them it was because of stubbornness, from the beginning, it was never so. He confirmed his teaching that whoever divorces his wife except on grounds of adultery and marries another has committed adultery.

In his teachings, Jesus was suggested that one could chose not to marry, thus, he endorsed the practice of celibacy. After the conversation with the Pharisees, his disciples told Jesus that if that was the case with a man and his wife, then is not necessary to marry. Jesus replied that there people who were born eunuchs, eunuchs who have been made so and there are people who have decided to forgo sexual pleasures for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Jesus also taught that in the resurrection, there shall not be anything like marriage. This was the occasion where the Sadducees tried to trap him with a question. They referred to Moses’ teaching that when a man dies leaving a wife, the brother should marry the widow and produce children for the brother. Seven brothers died after they had all married the same woman one after the other in their life to produce children for the brother who had first died. Eventually, the woman also died. The Pharisees asked Jesus whose wife the woman would be after the resurrection? Jesus taught them that after the resurrection, those who enter the kingdom of God after death would not marry or be given in marriage.  Such people would not die anymore, they have become like the angels.

Jesus also spoke against and remarriage. According to him, divorcing wives on flimsy excuses is bad. He, therefore said, anyone who divorces his wife, except on the grounds of adultery, has turned his wife into a harlot. Also, anyone who marries a divorced person is guilty of adultery.

1. If partners in the marriage are unfaithful to each other, it can lead to the breakdown of the marriage.

2. Sometimes where the couple is unable to bear children, it brings tension into the marriage and causes it to breakdown. Each party feels like the other is the cause of the barrenness.

3. Where the financial position of the couple is precarious, and it is difficult to make ends meet, unnecessary quarrels start and that can eventually break the marriage down.

4. Where there is a breakdown in communication between the couple, it can also cause a breakdown of the marriage.

5. If the couple is incompatible, it can also bring differences that eventually lead to divorce.

6. Religious differences can also be a cause of marriage breakdowns in society today.

7. Protracted illness is another ground for a marriage to break down. Where a spouse becomes terminally ill, the other partner, unable to cope with the stress level may just abandon the marriage.

1. a. Highlight Jesus’ teaching on marriage ad divorce.
    b. What three things can lead to the breakdown of marriage in our society today.

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