Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you.”
This scripture challenges us several ways. Australian attitudes to divorce have changed significantly during my life time. As have our ideas about what constitutes marriage. At the heart of these changes has been a concern to move from a legalistic and mechanistic approach to marriage as a means of securing wealth and property to relationships founded in personal affection and love. When we read our scriptures and examine the human relationships depicted we can note some significant differences from what we experience in our own time and culture. But some things remain the same. Our relationships are to be grounded in mutual respect and loving kindness.
Jesus is challenging the “hardness of heart” of the Pharisees who want to test his orthodoxy… his “political correctness” of the day. Jesus declares that partners in marriage are bound together by something deeper than just a contracted property exchange. They become, “one flesh”
This is the radical idea that God is part of that relationship.