What did Christ say about divorce and remarriage? We have a sample of His teachings on divorce, remarriage, and adultery in Matthew’s gospel. Though this is a topic marriage speakers seem to shy away from, Jesus made it front and center in His teachings.
A Light View of Marriage
Frankly, I am surprised to see the number of couples that call themselves Christians that view divorce and remarriage as a viable option to their marriage issues. If you will receive it, I would like to make what some will deem to be a rather strong statement:
The only differences between outright adultery and a number of our divorce and remarriage situations are time and a piece of paper filed in divorce court.
If you carefully read the gospels, you will find that Jesus mentioned marriage on just a few occasions. But, when He did, He often related divorce and remarriage to adultery. We find these accounts in Matthew’s gospel:
“But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” (Matthew 5:32)
“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” (Matthew 19:9)
Jesus, the Marriage Speaker
We often ask, “What Jesus would do?”. As a Bible teacher, I take the question a little further and wonder what His sermons would be like if He were alive today. In Matthew 5 and 19, we have an example of how Jesus would teach in relation to marriage, and, it is quite the contrast to our marriage messages today. The very topic that we conveniently overlook was front and center in Christ’s teachings.
When Jesus dealt with marriage, His goal was not laughter, tear-jerking stories, or countless explanations as to why couples struggle to get along. His intent was for people to view divorce and remarriage from God’s perspective. Part of Christ’s motive was to to remind people that a light view of marriage leads to the heavy sin of adultery.
Not a Legalist, but a Biblicist
Even as I write these words, I am confident that a few will be tempted to categorize these words as archaic, old-fashioned, or legalistic. Keep in mind, I have simply quoted the God that we all claim to serve, and the same Jesus that said, “whosoever believeth in me shall not perish” also exclaimed the previous verses.