1 ¶ And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.
Jesus Christ is constantly busy. He has no time to lose and yet, He has eternity.
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
A Pharisee is tormented by questions about sex. A modern day Pharisee is obsessed about how women dress, how they behave toward their husbands, and whether or not a woman can own a business or lead a country, and, of course, divorce. They are fanatically obsessed with concerns about women. There must be a name for that kind of obsession.
Here is the passage in the Law given to Moses that they are concerned with;
Deuteronomy 24:1 ¶ When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
The Law was given for wicked people. It was given for murderers and blasphemers among other unsavory characters.
1 Timothy 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
A saved man today has Christ’s righteousness imputed to Him if he believes, which, of course, if he didn’t believe, he wouldn’t be a saved man. He is not under the Law. (see Galatians 3:24 and 25 for confirmation). The Pharisees and Judaizers want to keep putting you back under the Law so the preacher or priest can have control over you. Christ is going to give something that completes the Law and fulfills it and explains what it meant.
In the Sermon on the Mount He says, if I may paraphrase, ‘the Law says this….but I say’ as He explains the distinctions between what was meant by the Law and what the Law literally says. As Paul says later;
2Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Remember here that Christ is talking to beard wearing, pork abstaining, temple going, Sabbath observing Jews under the Law given to Moses. See Romans 7:1-4 where Paul is talking to those who know the Law as he makes a comparison to the wife of a dead man not being bound to him as we are dead to the Law and not bound to it. We are married to Christ now. Some preachers’ reading comprehension is sorely lacking.
Romans 7:1 ¶ Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Marriage is designed to be FOR LIFE. Divorce is not part of God’s will. He allowed it because of the hardness of a man’s heart. Don’t unite your flesh with another person of the opposite sex unless you commit yourself that this is forever. Don’t marry someone who thinks differently.
The Jews taught, I am told but have not bothered to confirm, that you could kick your wife to the curb if she didn’t cook like you wanted.
10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Here it is clear that if you put away your wife and marry someone else you commit adultery against her. If a woman puts away her husband and marries someone else she commits adultery. Jesus announces in Matthew that only the spouse’s fornication is an acceptable grounds for divorce.
Matthew 19:9 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.
Fornication runs the gamut from adultery to incest and many places in between. When you have removed your sexual affections from your spouse, even temporarily, and put them someplace else you are a fornicator. You may also be an adulterer, a pedophile, or obsessed with pornography (the Greek word translated as fornication is porneia from which we get the word pornography) and you have broken the marriage bond.
The Holy Spirit, speaking through the wisdom given to Paul, shows that abandonment is another ground that is acceptable for divorce.
1 Corinthians 7:13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
It can be argued, I think, quite truthfully that the spouse who has abandoned you and joined flesh with someone else has ended the marriage on both counts of fornication and abandonment. You didn’t put them away falsely. They left you and committed adultery with someone else. Case closed. You are free to marry again. Thank God for His grace.
The Fundamentalist Pharisee’s assertion that if divorced, for any reason no matter what, you can never marry again is an absurdity based solely in their sick, twisted desire to control other people; pathological authoritarians that they are.