The Word This Week

Matt 19:1…

In yet another attempt to divide Jesus’ crowd, the Pharisees once again make public fools of themselves in an attempt to stumble Jesus with a question meant to at the very least divide Jesus’ followers, but preferably turn them away from Him entirely.

This would be a difficult challenge for the Pharisees, as Jesus has just healed the sick in the midst of the multitude following Him to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan, having left Galilee to go up to the feast. Hundreds of thousands would have likewise been heading up to Jerusalem at the same time Jesus was. We have no idea how large this crowd Jesus was in the midst of, but Matthew refers to it as, “great multitudes.”

This was the Pharisees attempting to cut Jesus off at the pass before He could go further.

You can imagine how they plotted with each other to come up with a supposed ‘doctrinal’ question meant to stumble Jesus in His answer. They’ve attempted this before – and they knew Jesus was a formidable theological opponent. It would take an inescapable question to pin Jesus down and divide His crowd. By this point they knew the risk of attempting to defeat Jesus with a theological argument.

They arrived at a question pertaining to marriage, because they assumed the crowd was already divided on the issue of divorce. This is because two opinions were prevalent in that day. On one side, was a well-known liberal rabbi teaching you could divorce your wife for any reason, and on the other side was a conservative rabbi teaching you could only divorce your wife for the sin of sexual infidelity.

So, they knew the crowd was most likely already divided, and they would use this wedge to turn any they could away from Jesus.

That they failed miserably in this attempt actually turned out favorably for us, because it gave Jesus the opportunity to express God’s design and intent for marriage, the literal existence of Adam and Eve, and the literal truth of the creation sequence expressed in Genesis 1 – 3, all of which has been widely attacked in our day just as it was in His.

Pastor Bill