Friday, April 8, 2011

Lent Day 26: Mark 10:1-16

Jesus is questioned on the issue of divorce. As had become customary for Jesus, He was teaching. The Pharisees came again to test Jesus this time over the issue of divorce. More than a theological issue, this was a political issue. King Herod had taken his brother's wife. Interestingly, Jesus points them backward to Moses' "command" and creation whereas the Pharisees quote what Moses "permitted". Jesus notes that the reason for this permission was their "hardness of heart." While there is disagreement about exactly what Jesus is teaching about divorce here, the story with the children is obviously connected and insightful by way of contrast. Again children are being brought to Jesus and we see the disciples model the attitude we've mentioned about children - not the innocent and wonderful creatures we imagine them to be. Jesus is angry at the disciples' attitude. Jesus used the children again as a teaching point. Jesus proclaimed that receiving (or entering) the Kingdom of God must be done like a child. Unlike those who are hard-hearted are those entering the Kingdom of God must do so like dependent children!
What happened to John the Baptist when he took sides on the issue of King Herod's wife? (see Mark 6) How might this guide how Jesus answered the question? What might it say about the Pharisees motivation for asking the question?
How do these two stories go together?
How does that help us understand what Jesus is saying about the Kingdom and the issue of divorce?
So if you were asked today about what Jesus believed about divorce (based on this passage), what would you say?

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