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Jesus, Marriage & the Family Part III

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

For those who would seek to follow Jesus as His disciple, His instruction regarding marriage and family is invaluable. May we all be ever mindful of His every word to us regarding these things. 6. Jesus boldly and courageously stood against the hard heartedness of men towards marriage and women as seen in their (the Pharisees’) attitude towards divorce.

Matthew 19:3-9“Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all? And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.” They said to Him, Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND HER AWAY?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” (cf. Mark 10:2-12)

Jesus would have no part of the hardness of heart (Matt. 19:8) that the Pharisees and so many other men in that day harbored towards their wives (and probably women in general). They were not oblivious to God’s original pattern and intent as seen in Genesis chps. 1,2. That is they were familiar with those chapters. But familiarity can breed contempt. And hardness of heart keeps us from connecting with God’s heart and mind.

When we men use scripture to justify what our flesh wants, women and children and society always suffer the consequences of our sins. There is a big difference between what God “commanded” (vs. 7), and what God “permitted” (vs. 8). Jesus made clear in this passage that oneness and covenantal joining is what God commanded (vs. 4-6). Divorce only under certain circumstances is what God permitted (vs. 8).

7. Jesus boldly and courageously stood against the Pharisees and Scribes regarding their selfishness and self centeredness towards honoring one’s parents.

Mark 7:9-13 “He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition. “For Moses said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER, IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH’; but you say, ‘If a man say to his father or his mother, whatever I have that would help you is Corban (that is to say, given to God), you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or his mother, thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down’ and you do many things such as that.”

Traditions that help us obey God’s commands and divine order are fine and good. But traditions that men develop that skirt around God’s commands, and that help support our self centered efforts and agendas are evil. And these latter traditions are usually at least partially motivated by the love of money. One of the ways these devious religious leaders found to support themselves financially was by diverting monies that should have gone towards helping to care for one’s elderly parents to instead be redirected to them. Of course, to get people to do this, they had to develop a theology for it, which is what Jesus referred to as “Corban”.

Jesus saw through their deviousness and hypocrisy; and declared to them and those listening that this was just one of many examples of such.

8. As committed as Jesus was/is to marriage and the family and honoring His parents while on earth, He had an equal commitment to God’s people; perhaps a greater commitment once He left His home and began His ministry. So should we. Two passages speak to this.

Mark 3:31 -35 “Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (cf. Luke 8:19-21)

Luke 11:27,28 "While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed." But He said, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."

Jesus clearly loved and honored His mother. I believe He also deeply loved His brothers and sisters. But true fellowship can only be experienced with those who live to do the will of God. Such were the people that Jesus highly valued and sought after. The more we learn to walk with Him and seek His kingdom and will first, the more we will value others who do the same, even if they are not related to us. Sometimes the fellowship we experience with spiritual family gives us the needed resources to be who we need to be to our blood family, whom we may or may not have true fellowship with.

Re: Luke 11:27,28 Jesus is committed to honoring parents. But not to any veneration of them. Again in this passage He makes clear the people He truly values and seeks are those who "hear the word of God and observe it."

The intimacy and blessing that Jesus (as God and Head of the Church and our good Shepherd) reserves for those who live to do His will is an intimacy and blessing unlike any other. It is out of that intimacy and blessing that we find relational energy and resources to righteously love and relate to our nuclear and extended family members.

9. Family members are capable of unspeakable evil towards their family members who walk with and follow Jesus. Following Jesus will often at least initially cause division in families.

Matthew. 10:21 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.” (cf. Mark 13:12, 13)

Now this will not always happen especially if one’s brothers and sisters, parents and children all fear and love the Lord. The reality for many of God’s people though is when they come to Christ later in life; and none of their family members know and love the Lord, great persecution can result. This is especially true in Muslim lands, communist or extreme socialist nations or even in Israel where there is such deep hostility towards Christ followers.

The specific context of this passage above is Jesus’s sending out His twelve disciples to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, heal the sick and cast out demons. We know that they did not experience the extreme kind of resistance and persecution that He described in vs. 16-23 during their first little mission, while He was still with them. They did experience it in their leadership of the church as seen in the book of Acts. Most of them it is believed were eventually martyred for their faith.

Matthew. 10:34-36 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.”

Again as I have said previously in this study, Jesus created the family and is very committed to and is heavily invested in its health and wholeness. But He wants His disciples to know that sometimes as we seek to follow Him as Lord and Master, our family members can become our worst enemies. Hopefully not all of them. But some of them can come against us with surprising hostility and rage.

Luke 12:51-53 “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother- in- law.”

Jesus’s will for our families and clans is never division. But because some of the members of our families and clans are slaves to sin and Satan, they will sometimes stir up great division and strife because of our love for Jesus. Jesus mercifully informs His disciples that this could very possibly happen.

Luke 21:16, 17 “But you will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all because of My name.”

Luke 21:10 -36 is a parallel passage to Matthew 24 wherein Jesus discusses eschatology and specifically the great tribulation and the signs leading up to it. Again this kind of extreme betrayal, hatred and even murder is more likely to be found in nations wherein there is and has been great persecution of Christians for decades and even centuries. It is not as common in the U.S., but we know that can easily change.

All of this illustrates why believers must invest in their relationships with God’s people, so that we find the sharpening and the support we need to endure the persecution and rejection we sometimes experience in our families.

"Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household." Mark 6:4 (See also Matt. 13:57; Luke 4:24; John 4:44).

This was true of Jesus. And it is true of modern day prophets who are willing to proclaim truth no matter how unpopular and uncomfortable that truth may be. Family members who do not live to do the will of God on a daily basis expect other family members to keep the peace and not rock the boat. They feel they have some level of authority over the prophet because to them he is first a family member. This is not license for a prophet to reject his family. It is rather a loving warning from Jesus so prophets are not shocked when it happens.

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