Journal Mk 10 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
(Jesus) answered them, “What did Moses command you?”
(The Pharisees) said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”
And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter…” Mark 10:2-11a
Observation: How do I react to challenges? Do I cut people off with impunity? Do I look down on the challenger? Do I square up for a fight?
Or do I prepare myself to ask clarifying questions to get to the real issue?
Analysis: When I first read Mark (the Bible in general) ages ago, I was looking for the “Do this, don’t do that” references—I thought I should prepare to “declare righteousness to the heathen horde.” I was soooo stupid and condemning. Are you divorced? And you call yourself a follower of Christ? Shame, shame.”
Well, here I am in shame, thinking about my past like this. I am a divorcee, but happily remarried, and fervent for Christ. Transparently, there is shame I still deal with but trust Jesus’ atonement on the Cross for my redemption. It is hard at times, but I grind out Faith daily—I don’t deserve His forgiveness but am grateful for it.
The Pharisees were looking for a condemning “gotcha” from Jesus. But what did the Savior say? Turned it around on them by asking, “What did Moses say?” and had them cough up their point. Jesus expanded on that, not invalidating what Moses said (which was the Pharisee’s objective) but explaining with authority the background of why….and pointing out the real reason for Moses’ allowance: “…because of your hardness of heart…”
This is why study is so important in the midst of the Brotherhood. A person can look at the surface and go, “Yep, not divorced, not ever going to be…” and subconsciously put a STAR in the “good for me” column; not really getting to the main point of being hard of heart and dealing with that at the foot of the Cross DAILY. Indwelling sin makes us swing to being hard-hearted and resistant to your Word; examining ourselves in the mirror CANDIDLY keeps us chasing humility.
Prayer: Father, “How are you? Better than I deserve…” has, at times, such a cliche’ vibe to it. But it is so FACTUAL and true. I don’t deserve the goodness I receive, the love and friendship from You. You freely give yourself…and I am all the more grateful for it.
Make me sharper in your word, O God. Help me to see your hand in the words and understand them more.
Ricky Two Shoes