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What was the reaction of the disciples to Jesus’ prohibition of divorce and remarriage?  See Mat 19: 10.  What does their reaction indicate about their understanding of how strict they understood Jesus’ teaching on this topic to be?  On the basis of what wisdom from Scripture may they have concluded if such was the case of a man with his wife that it was better not to marry?  See Pro 19:13, 21:9,19, 25:24, 27:15.  What might we learn from the disciples’ response to Jesus’ teaching on divorce and remarriage about the way they understood the threat of divorce to be an important tool for maintaining peace in the home?  Do people use that same threat today?  In what way is Jesus’ strict teaching on divorce ultimately a much better means for maintaining happiness and blessing in the home, and in what way did it especially lift the plight of women as nothing else could do?  Think: who is typically hurt more by divorce: the man or the woman?  What onus does the threat of divorce put on the woman, and how does Jesus’ strict teaching on divorce equalize the responsibility for a happy home to also include the husband?  Has the liberalization of the divorce laws in the past 50 years ultimately been a positive or negative thing for women in general?

What is the significance that the word translated by the NAS as relationship (KJV = case) is the same used by the Pharisees in Mat 19: 3 that was translated as cause?  Note: the word is almost always used negatively as an actionable cause in the sense of some guilt, crime, charge or grounds against someone; cf. Mat 27:37, Joh 18:38, 19:4,6, Act 13:28, 25:18,27, 28:18.  Consider that the Pharisees’ question was if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any “actionable cause” (guilt or crime) of which she might be guilty—not just any whim a man might have; in what way did Jesus’ answer turn any such grounds for divorce they might find against their wives into grounds that God would then have against them?  Think: Assuming an “actionable cause” in a marriage relationship, even adultery, is the righteous response to such evil to violate our own covenant vows of “for better and for worse…till death do us part”?  Is that how we would have God deal with us in our covenant relationship with Him when we err and commit adultery with the world?  Where would we be if He “divorced” us for all the grounds He has against us?  Is not the very purpose of any covenant to make the relationship binding until death (whether naturally, or as a result of the curses that result from violation of the covenant) for the ultimate good of the partners even in circumstances that would otherwise destroy it?  Think: in spite of Israel’s many harlotries, even crucifying His Son whom He sent as her Savior, has God broken His covenant and completely forsaken her?  See Rom 11:25-27.  What are the covenant bonds of marriage meant to teach us, and the world, about God’s faithfulness even in the most evil of circumstances?  Cf. Rom 5:8, Heb 13:5b.  If we as Christians break those bonds are we reflecting the nature and likeness of Him whom we claim to follow, or the world’s?  What does Scripture teach is the righteous response to such evil against us, even in a marriage relationship?  See Rom 12:17-18, Eph 4:31-32, Col 3:12-13, 1Pe 2:18-3:9.  In accordance with our profession of faith and marriage vows is then the righteous response of a true Christian to an “actionable cause” in the marriage relationship to divorce, or to exercise mercy and forgiveness and to seek restoration and healing, just as God does with us?  But what about the really nasty, ugly situations?  Next lesson!

What do we learn from the binding nature of the marriage covenant about the great importance of only entering into it after prayerfully seeking all wisdom and direction from God, and only marrying one whose heart first and foremostly belongs to God and is not in rebellion to His eternal purposes?  Cf. 1Co 7:39, 2Co 6:14.  Considering the deep spiritual truths of marriage that are only understood by experience and acquired over time and even generations of time, what is the importance of parents teaching, guiding, and directing their children in the marriage process?  Cf. Deut 6:6-7.  What then is the great danger to a society such as our own where an entire generation has completely forsaken the sanctity of marriage?  See Hos 10:4.  Because of the great importance and binding nature of marriage, should we suppose that it is necessary for a future spouse to possess complete understanding and be “perfect” and without fault, or is it because none of us are these things that true marriage is only entered into by a covenant that is binding unto death?  Do not the frictions and hardships of marriage, like other trials we face, impart important spiritual qualities, like patience, longsuffering, self-denial, and teach us about the sufficiency of God’s grace?  2Co 12:9-10.  What is the one most important and necessary quality for a future spouse?  See Mat 22:36-38; cf. 2Th 2:10, Pro 2:2-22, 4:5-9.

Matthew 19:3-6 (Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce, Part 1)
Matthew 19:7-9 (Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce, Part 2)
Matthew 19:9 (The Exception Clause to Divorce and Remarriage)
Scripture Passages Related to Divorce and Remarriage
Matthew 19:1-9 (The Spiritual Significance of Marriage)
Matthew 19:10 (The Disciples’ Response To Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce)
Matthew 19:1-10 (Answers to the Really Hard Questions Regarding Divorce)
Matthew 19:1-10 (Answers to the Really Hard Questions Regarding Remarriage Part 1)
Matthew 19:1-10 (Answers to the Really Hard Questions Regarding Remarriage Part 2)
Matthew 19:11-12 (On Celibacy)

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