Jesus smiled as the crowd of people pressed in. Some women with children crowded around him. Each one held an infant for Him to touch.
Matthew stepped in. “Please, ladies, we have more important things to attend to.”
Jesus pushed Matthew back. “Leave them alone. I have time for children. They need a touch, too.”
He made sure every child got the attention they deserved.
When the women left Jesus let out a deep breath. A smirk came to Him as some Pharisees approached.
The grayest-haired man stepped forward. “Rabbi, is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
Jesus squared His stance to the man. “What does Moses say?”
“Moses gave us a certificate of divorce option.”
Jesus shook His head. “It’s because of your hard hearts that Moses included that provision. That’s not the original design. Remember? In the beginning the man is to leave his father and mother and cling to his wife. The two are destined to become one flesh. Nobody should separate them, not for any reason. They are to remain as one until death. One who willfully divorces and remarries commits adultery.”
The Pharisees turned around and left.
A young man dressed in fine clothes came in behind them. “Good teacher, what do I have to do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus held His hands out at His sides. “Keep the all commandments.”
The man nodded. “I have, every one of them.”
Jesus folded His hands and stared into his eyes. “Go, sell all you have and give the money to the poor.”
The smile disappeared from the young man’s face. He looked down and left.
Jesus shook His head. “It’s very difficult for a wealthy man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Thomas looked at Jesus. “How can anyone enter the kingdom then?”
Jesus kept watching the young man walking away. “It’s impossible for man, but not for God.”
Peter grabbed Jesus sleeve. “We’ve left everything to follow You. What’s waiting for us in the kingdom?”
Jesus placed His hand on top of Peter’s hand. “You twelve will judge the tribes of Israel in the kingdom. Those who have left their earthly kingdoms of houses and families shall have one hundred fold in this life and eternal life in God’s kingdom to come.”
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem when these confrontations occurred. He and His followers were on the west side of the Jordan River across from Jericho. This was the main route from Galilee to Jerusalem for the festivals, especially Passover.
The Pharisees made it a habit of trying to trap Jesus in some dilemma He couldn’t get out of without breaking some law. Since they didn’t believe he was the One who wrote the laws they didn’t think He knew them that well. He disappointed them every time.
The rich man had a personal agenda. He held himself quite high on the grading curve in his mind. He was just looking for verification that he was on the right track. Jesus knew his heart motive better than the young man did. Another disappointed seeker walked away dejected.
The disciples were concerned they would miss the kingdom somehow when the rich man lost his chance. Jesus quickly reassured them they had nothing to worry about. They were chosen for a reason.
I never noticed the juxtaposition of these themes of divorce and leaving ones family for the kingdom until I wrote this post. I’m sure Jesus wasn’t condoning divorce to advance the kingdom, but perhaps giving ones self to that mission if the prospect occurs.
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There are no guarantees in this life, especially when dealing with people. Commitments today are just as shaky as they were in Jesus’s day.
Christian divorce rates are nearly identical to secular marriages. My marriage is falling into the statistical quagmire with too many others.
I thought when I found a solid Christian woman at a Bible college that prospect was nearly nil. It wasn’t totally zero.
It’s amazingly simple to get a divorce these days.
On Saturday Barb and I will meet at the bank to settle our accounts there. She’ll have the documents from her lawyer ready for me to sign. Car titles will be signed off. In less than an hour we’ll be legally unmarried to each other.
In my heart and mind that piece of paper doesn’t hold any weight as to my commitment to her. I promised God I’d stay true to her for as long as both of us are alive. I fully intend to keep that vow. She’ll remain my one and only intimate partner.
My life is taking a turn toward serving God by advancing His kingdom in amazing ways. I’m apparently supposed to do it without my life mate/helper beside me. This breaks my heart, but I’ll press on for the glory of God.
If I didn’t believe Jesus is still in the resurrection business I’d lose all hope of reconciliation with Barb. I’m open to that prospect and she knows it.
She claims she fell out of love with me. I take that as a positive sign in a way.
In Matthew 24 Jesus is telling His disciples what to look for just before His kingdom begins. In verse twelve He mentions that love will grow cold. This is merely verification that the end is near so I’ll press on all the harder to bring as many others into the kingdom as I can.
There are advantages to being single while serving God. My schedule will be much more flexible for one.
For those of you in a stable marriage keep striving to honor God by honoring your mate. God did say it’s not good for man to be alone.
The human mind is an incredible invention. It can believe some amazing things, like talking animals and interplanetary travel while reading a story.
Don’t let your mind tell you your life would be better without your spouse when God ordained for you two to be together.
I’ll see you later. Wade