The Catholic Church does not condone divorce. That became a stumbling block for my parents and a blessing for me (I’ll explain later). Jesus, however, has something very clear to say about marriage and divorce as well as children entering the Kingdom of God. When is a child accountable for his or her actions? That and more in this next installment in the Gospel of Mark. Let’s dig in…
Discussion about Divorce and Marriage
Then Jesus left Capernaum and went down to the region of Judea and into the area east of the Jordan River. Once again crowds gathered around him, and as usual he was teaching them.
2 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”
3 Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?”
4 “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.” (Deut. 24:1)
5 But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. 6 But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. 7 ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, 8 and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, 9 let no one split apart what God has joined together.”
10 Later, when he was alone with his disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again. 11 He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”
Jesus Blesses the Children
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.Mark 10:1-16 NLT
Hot Topic #1 – Divorce
My parents were both divorced, then they married and had me. The Catholics wouldn’t marry them because they were divorced. My mom, being very devout, was not allowed to receive communion until after my dad died. She hadn’t changed. She was the same person. All of a sudden, she was acceptable in the eyes of the church.
When I was going into 1st grade, my parents wanted to put me in Catholic School. Thank God, they wouldn’t have me because I was a “b_____d” child. My parents were not married in a Catholic Church. I wasn’t good enough. I was 5.
I never married because when I was 21, in 1979, my parents and I moved back to Puerto Rico after living 20 years in New York. I found many women my age divorced with kids. They got married as teenagers because they wanted to have sex, and sex before marriage was against the Catholic Church. Yet, so is divorce. It didn’t make sense to me at all.
In any rate, we need to look at what the BIBLE SAYS — NOT what the Catholic Church made up. When you look at it, the rules that the early Catholic leaders made up were very much in the same style as the Jewish Pharisees.
Key Points in Today’s Passage
First, I must point out that Jesus left Galilee and headed south towards Jerusalem, which is in Judea. He never would return to Galilee in His human form. The Pharisees went to meet Him to confront Him. They were threatened by His message. They wanted to trap Him so they could condemn Him and get rid of Him.
The Jews had 2 schools of rabbinic thought when it came to divorce — a strict conservative one and a liberal one. They both stemmed on how they interpreted one of Moses’ writings in Deuteronomy…
If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, 2 and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, 3 and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, 4 then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance.Deuteronomy 24:1-4 NIV (bold emphasis mine)
Both sides saw this as a reason to make divorce OK. Not what Moses intended at all.
The conservative, strict side said it was OK to divorce only if the wife did an “indecent” act. That would be adultery, prostitution, dressing provocatively, etc.
The liberal stance focused on the “something” or “anything” and stretched the meaning of “indecent” to include everything from bad cooking and bad housekeeping.
Divorce and Adultery are Forgivable Sins
But, sins nonetheless. Two born-again people (a man and a woman) in a Christ-centered marriage should not get divorced. Marriage is Holy, sacred — created by God. It’s our selfish, me-centered culture that created the “no-fault” divorce. That was the attitude in the 70s and 80s — if the marriage doesn’t work, just get divorced!
“We must come to grips with the fact that marriage, is a binding promise made to God, our spouse, and the world, and it cannot be broken at our discretion. There are certain cases where God allows the dissolution of the promise, but it is up to God and not to us.”David Guzik
God Hates Divorce but Forgives Divorcees because HE Loves You!
If you just profess to be Christian, but don’t really and truly FOLLOW Jesus, then, it’s easy to be focused on your own happiness rather than that of your spouse. If you are not born again, you need to be. Start there. Invite Jesus into your life right now!
Bless the Children – Hot Topic #2
Back in Jewish culture, children were important when it came to lineage. They weren’t thought of as people until they were old enough to work the farm or help in the family business. They were possessions. Thus, the disciples treated the kids, whom were brought to Jesus, badly. However, Jesus, welcomed them and embraced them.
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
Of course, one reason Jesus loved little children was the attitude He saw in them.
Jesus saw in the nature of a child the attributes needed to embrace and be part of God’s kingdom. Children are honest. They’ve yet to learn the art of hypocrisy and duplicity… Children are dependent. They lean on their parents… Children are trusting. They take you at your word… Children are open. They’re receptive to the truth and eager to learn… And we enter God’s kingdom by having a child-like honesty, and dependence, and trust, and openness.Sandy Adams
Where does an infant or child go when they die?
Close to 64 Million innocent babies have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade in 1973. The sad thing is that even if the Supreme Court reverses that decision, there are states that are passing laws to literally commit infanticide — the murder of a child that’s viable outside the womb.
For those mothers who have aborted their babies, if you sincerely ask Jesus to forgive you, He will — He loves you.
As for your babies, they experienced absolute joy immediately and are loved in the arms of Jesus. Just like He embraced the babies in today’s passage, He holds in love every single child that was selfishly killed because they were an inconvenience.
Infants and young children …
- Are not morally aware, thus not morally accountable.
- Do not deserve judgment though their parents do. In other words, the sins of the parents do not transfer to the children.
- Go to heaven if still born, miscarried or die after birth like David’s son did.
- Don’t got to “Limbo” or “Purgatory” — there’s no need to invent a place like the Catholics did to explain where innocent babies go. By the way, baby baptism does absolutely nothing.
- Are saved because it is the desire of God that all people be saved.
- Will all be restored with all creation in the end — in the New Heaven and New Earth.
What is the Age of Accountability?
It’s the moment a child is old enough to know right from wrong. Each person is unique, so we can’t say it’s at 12 years — it could be sooner. Plus, not everyone is equally accountable. People with mental capacities of a child are not as accountable as someone with full mental capacity.
It all comes down to their heart and attitude. Consequently, if we look at the kingdom with the eyes of a child and just believe, He accepts us. It is all rather simple. Don’t overthink it! That’s the problem. I’ve heard people say, “It can’t be that simple!” But it is!
Here’s all you have to do to be saved…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.
Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…
Child of Love
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Top image by Good News Productions International from FreeBibleImages.org. (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)