Misusing the Scriptures

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And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.

Mark 10:2-5

This seems like a pretty radical thing for Jesus to teach. The Pharisees held Moses and the Law in the highest esteem. Now they ask Jesus a very straightforward question, challenging him to contradict Moses.

Jesus’ answer is very savvy. He doesn’t contradict Moses, but he slams the ball right back into the Pharisees’ court, turning the question back on them. Moses’ teaching about divorce was given because of the hardness of men’s hearts, not because it was God’s desire for marriage. Best of all, His answer is solidly Biblical. He takes them right back to the beginning of time to show them God’s original intent for marriage was one man and one woman united for life.

But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  (Mark 10:6-9)

Jesus demonstrated that “one greater than Moses has come” and that blind obedience to the minutia of the law was not what God desired. God desires obedience that flows from a righteous heart, not a passionless keeping of His statutes. He grants us an abundance of grace and mercy because of our flesh and hardness of heart, but we shouldn’t confuse his grace with his desire. Jesus is the very image of the eternal Father and He is both asserting His authority over Moses and demonstrating His perfect alignment with the Father’s will here in Mark 10.

I pray that I will always look to Jesus, the “author and finisher of our faith” for clarity regarding God’s will instead of looking for “proof texts” in the scriptures just to support my own position on an issue.

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