Divorce as Illustration

He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery (Mark 10:11-12).

Not much “wiggle room” there.

Most folks don’t have a problem with this rule until they (or someone they know) break the rule.  Then what?

Mark does not address the “then what” – and neither should we (at least not from Mark).  He just lays down the rule.  The significance is why he lays it down where he does.

Mark 9:30 informs us of Jesus’ second prediction of his impending death.  From there, right through the third prediction and 10:45, Mark focuses on selfless living.  Almost squarely in the middle, he presents Jesus’ teaching on divorce.

It’s not just a “divorce” passage.  The passage is there, without compromise, to illustrate the seriousness of self-centeredness.  It leads to a condition described as adultery.  Every divorce is caused, at root, by selfishness on the part of one or both partners.  But it isn’t just in marriage.  In every phase of life, self-centeredness removes God from the throne in favor of self.  That action is called “adultery,” and when God wanted to talk about Israel’s faithlessness, that’s the word he used.

Marriage is serious business.  To make it work requires selflessness.  Failure is not consequence free option because selfishness is not a consequence free option.  It would be better to have an anchor tied about your neck and be thrown into the sea (Mark 9:42).  The illustration underscores the seriousness and personal impact of following Jesus.

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