The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at 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 then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6)
Jesus Appealed To Scripture
The Son of Man was sent by the Father to testify of the word of God to all men. As Jesus taught the people, He guided their minds to view the will of the Father as supreme appealing to the scriptures as His authority for teaching. The Lord deflected the work of His teaching to come from the mouth of His Father rather than seeking the glory for Himself. Often the critics of Jesus would test Him trying to entrap Him by His words so they would have some reason to accuse them. They failed in every attempt and one of the reasons for their failures was because of the manner Jesus answered them.
A group of Jewish leaders approached Jesus with an indisputable test that would give them leverage to accuse Him. Confident they had constructed an argument that would challenge the teaching of the man from Nazareth; the Pharisees asked Jesus if a man could divorce his wife for any reason. The answer Jesus gave would be refuted by the Pharisees as they laid their trap of deceit by arguing the points of law that men had debated for centuries. Jesus did not hesitate. First He appeals to the word of God as His authority to answer. The Lord puts the burden on these men who thought they knew the law. It would have been easy for most men to speak of their own wisdom and what they thought the answer should be. Jesus immediately went to the word of His Father and chided the Pharisees to read the word of God. Using the book of Genesis, the Lord reminds them of what the Father had ordained in the beginning of time. Truth is older than the world. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth but the character of truth existed long before this. He did not appeal to legal arguments or philosophies of men but the word of God. Any question that has to do with eternal salvation must begin with the word of God.
Jesus quotes from the writings of Moses. He illustrates the forming of the family unit in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve as the first family of humanity. Moses had instructed through the divine word that a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife in the union of marriage as purposed by God. The two shall become one flesh as they bind their lives together as one. This was the design of the Lord from the beginning. Over the centuries man had confused the character of the home to be anything that would appeal to his carnal nature. Marriage was redefined to mean whatever the lustful pleasures of a man would be and divorce was common. Jesus turned the tables on the Pharisees by going back to the divine authority of what God had said in the beginning. Man and woman were created with a purpose. It was not the design of the Father to create male and female so that marriage would be abused, neglected, rejected and that men would be with men or women with women. Divorce was never the intention of God for the happiness of man. The Pharisees had long forgotten the real purpose of marriage: the union of a man and a woman for life. Their question would serve to validate the authority of the word of God and Jesus used the word of the Father to answer the challenge of whether it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason. In a simplistic manner the Lord told the Pharisees, “No.” There was no debate. It was not a matter of trying to figure out if that was the best answer or how people would accept His teaching. They asked Jesus a question and He answered it plainly because the word of God plainly taught it was not the purpose of God for a man to divorce his wife.
The authority of scripture was solidified by the final answer Jesus gave. With sixty-three words Jesus answered a question that men have written volumes about, debated for centuries and created a plethora of false teachings that have impacted nearly every family that names the name of Christ. His last ten words summed it up: if God put man together with a woman what right has a man to separate this holy union of the divine will? Most men ignore these final words. It did not matter to Jesus what the popular view of marriage was in the Jewish culture. He did not appeal to the Roman laws that were in Palestine at the time. Neither did Jesus try to answer the question by His own wisdom and authority. He began His answer by directing them to the word of God and He concluded His answer by telling the shocked Pharisees that what God said was truth and nothing man could do was going to change that. If God joined the man and woman together in marriage man should not trifle with it. Jesus answered with the word of God and rested upon the word of God as the final authority. Men would do well to follow the example of Jesus.