Category Archives: Gospel of Mark

Jesus’ Teaching on Divorce in Mark 10

I have been working through Mark 10 this week. The chapter starts with the Pharisees testing Jesus on his view of the legality of divorce. It is possible given Mark 10:1 that Jesus just crossed over into Herod Antipas’ territory. Herod had divorced his wife to marry his half-brother’s ex-wife. So marriage, divorce and re-marriage was a big deal around this time, about where Jesus was when this happened.

The Pharisees are emphasizing divorce. Jesus flips it to the right emphasis – God’s intention for marriage. God intended for one man to marry one woman for life. That’s it. Period. We need to teach that until we are blue in the face.

Then there is 10:10-12 on remarriage. In this instance Jesus doesn’t give grounds for this but does say that remarriage can result in adultery.

This further emphasizes how serious God’s design and desire for marriage according to His plan really is. Some people have taken this as the unforgivable sin. I don’t believe that is the case. I have known people who gave up on God because they were taught this – that they couldn’t be forgiven unless they divorced a second time. You aren’t going to make a broken situation less broken by breaking more things.

We also need to take two things Jesus said in Mark 3:28-29 seriously – that God forgives all sin (3:28) except one (3:29) and that one is not remarriage adultery. That sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

There is hope for the divorced. There is hope for the remarried. We need to teach the desire and design God has for marriage. We need to be serious about keeping our marriages pure. When things go wrong we need to love people through it all and help them pick up the broken pieces and offer them hope.

We can teach both the seriousness of God’s Word and the reality of forgiveness. Teaching forgiveness doesn’t take sin less serious as we understand what it took for the forgiveness of our sins through Jesus.

Last, there are some other really important teachings in this chapter that if we took seriously, divorce wouldn’t be an issue. Jesus has the rich man ask him about how to get eternal life. Jesus tells him to sell everything and give it to the poor and then come follow Jesus. This principle would save a lot of marriages because the one thing that we would have difficulty letting go of with God is also something that hinders our marriage. To address this with God is to open ourselves up for a healthier marriage. A few verses later Jesus says this is impossible with man but possible with God (10:27_. Many marriages are lost because we operate out of our own strength rather than trusting God and being obedient to Him.

Jesus says a bit later in 10:31 that the last will be first and the first last. This also should characterize our marriages – putting our spouse above ourselves. Then James and John ask for seats of honor in the kingdom. Jesus says they are to be servants. Again, this would save many marriages.

Jesus teaches on divorce in 10:1-12 but the rest of the chapter contains vital teachings that would save many marriages. People have known divorce is wrong for centuries and beyond but still do it. We need to teach divorce isn’t God’s design or desire. We also need to teach the flip side – how we live in such a way that our marriages can work. That is Mark 10.

Faith or Fault?

Mark 2 is full of people who found faith and people who found fault. Read all four stories in the chapter and you will see it in each one. We get to choose which one we are going to be. If you choose to live in fear you choose to be the critic. If youContinue Reading

They Wanted to be Near Jesus, Not for the Same Reason

Read Mark 2 when you have 2 minutes and look at all the people who wanted to be with Jesus. The crowds filled the house to hear him teach the word. The friends lower their paralyzed buddy. Levi goes with him. Jesus has a meal with tax collectors and sinners “for there were many whoContinue Reading

Jesus Didn’t Wait Until Sunday

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own traditions that we miss the bigger point entirely. The Jewish religious authorities in Jesus’ day had done this. In their effort to be holy…to cross the t’s and dot the i’s they had wrapped various commands in so many traditions that it was hard to tellContinue Reading

The Holy Spirit’s Role in Jesus’ Miracles

Throughout scripture the Holy Spirit has enabled people to do amazing things. The Spirit empowered several of the judges to do the mighty things God called them to do (Samson and Gideon to name a few). The Holy Spirit came on Saul and enabled him to prophesy (1 Sam 10:6-10). The Holy Spirit enabled theContinue Reading

Fascinating Story Order in the Gospels

Sometimes the Gospels have stories that are ordered in such a way that it just blows my mind. Because these connections span multiple stories it can be easy to miss because we often study one unit of the text at a time rather than looking at the whole or at least big chunks to seeContinue Reading

Birds, Rocks and Thorny Places

Parables are like ogres, which are like onions…they have layers.   One of the layers that adds rich meaning to the reading and understanding of Jesus’ parables is packaged in identifying with the different characters in the story. This is quickly and easily seen in the parable of the prodigal son where most of usContinue Reading

Jesus Came Proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom – What is the Gospel?

We have been following through the ministry of Jesus and are just now only in the very beginning stages. I have written an article on the beginning of Jesus’ ministry over at Wineskins that will serve as the next post in this series. You can read it here. Jesus Came Proclaiming the Gospel of theContinue Reading

Why Did Jesus Heal the Guy Twice? The Importance of Context

In Mark 8 we get the story of a man Jesus healed twice. The first healing only enabled the man to see partially. The second healing allowed him to see clearly. What is going on in this story? Either Jesus’ power was a bit off that day or he was up to something. I voteContinue Reading

Bio Sketch of James the Brother of Jesus

In studying for a class on the book of James I ran down some information on the author, James the half-brother of Jesus that I found extremely helpful in understanding the letter itself.   James is the Greek version of the Hebrew name Jacob. His mother was Mary (Mark 6:3), his half brother was JesusContinue Reading

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