“What Jesus Demands From The World” – Daily Devotional (7/19/10): Demand #42 “What God Has Joined Together Let No Man Separate – One Man, One Woman, By Grace, Till Death”

Matthew 19:10-12

“The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

“Not surprisingly, when Jesus had finished teaching on marriage and divorce in Matthew 19:3-9, his disciples were bewildered by how strict Jesus’ standards were. So they said, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry” (Matt. 19:10). This response confirms that we are on the right track when we hear Jesus setting the bar very high. The disciples assume that this standard is so high it is better not to marry. In other words, if there is no back door to marriage, it is better not to walk through the front door. This response would not make as much sense if Jesus had just prescribed a back door as large as infidelity. Jesus’ response is not to lower the bar so that marriage becomes less risky. Instead, he says, in essence, that the ability to remain single if necessary and the ability to stay in a hard marriage if necessary are both a gift of God. In other words, flourishing in singleness and flourishing in marriage are a work of divine grace. “Not everyone can receive this saying [the saying that marriage is permanent], but only those to whom it is given” (Matt. 19:11). The point is not that some disciples are given the grace and some are not. The point is that this grace (or faithfulness in singleness and marriage) is the mark of a disciple. “Those to whom it is given” are followers of Jesus. God gives the grace for what he demands.

Then Jesus illustrates that such grace has actually been given to those who for various reasons have not been permitted to marry. “For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it”. The point here is that if you do not marry or if you are divorced and must remain single, you are not alone but are in the company of some who have had singleness forced on them and some who have chosen it for the sake of the kingdom. In all cases God gives grace (pg. 317-318).”

“Marriage is a great work of God. It is a great gift to the world. It is worthy of books and songs and poetry and life and sacrifice, not just a little chapter like this. Jesus would grieve over the cavalier way that marriage is treated in our day. He would be appalled at any thought of two men or two women calling their homosexual union marriage. He would not call it marriage. As much pity as he may feel for the sexual brokenness, he would call the practice of homosexuality sin and the attempt to sanctify it with the word marriage folly. He would respond to this folly the same way he responded to the Pharisees’ justification of divorce with Moses’ teaching. He would go back to the beginning. Only this time he would underline the words male and female. “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’?” (Matt. 19:4-5). Jesus would root heterosexual marriage in the creation of man as male and female and in the original union of man and woman into one flesh. He would count it a great sadness that the glory of marriage and all that it stands for is so debased as to make it a covering for the sin of homosexuality (pg. 319).”

“There is no doubt that Jesus’ demand for faithfulness in marriage is a radical word to our modern culture. Here is a test for his lordship over our lives. His standards are high. They do not assume that this earth is our final home. He makes it very clear that marriage is an ordinance for this age only. “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Matt. 22:30). Therefore, marriage is a brief blessing. A great one, but not an ultimate one. A precious one, but not a permanent one. This eternal perspective explains why Jesus can be so radical. Never to have married is not a tragedy. Otherwise Jesus’ life is a tragedy. Tragedy is craving the perfect marriage so much that we make a god out of being married. Jesus’ standards are high because marriage does not and should not meet all our needs. It should not be an idol. It should not and cannot take the place of Jesus himself. Marriage is but for a moment. Jesus is for eternity. How we live in our marriages and our singleness will show if Jesus is our supreme treasure (pg. 322).”

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on July 19, 2010 at 10:00 AM  Leave a Comment  

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