October 8, 2000

Mark 10:2-16

Some Pharisees wanted to test Jesus. So they came up to him and asked if it was right for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus asked them, "What does the Law of Moses say about that?"

They answered, "Moses allows a man to write out divorce papers and send his wife away."

Jesus replied, "Moses gave you this law because you are so heartless. But in the beginning God made a man and a woman. That's why a man leaves his father and mother and gets married. He becomes like one person with his wife. Then they are no longer two people, but one. And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together."

When Jesus and his disciples were back in the house, they asked him about what he had said. He told them, "A man who divorces his wife and marries someone else is unfaithful to his wife. A woman who divorces her husband and marries against is also unfaithful.

Some people brought their children to Jesus so that he could bless them by placing his hands on them. But his disciples told the people to stop bothering him.

When Jesus saw this, he became angry and said, "Let the children come to me! Don't try to stop them. People who are like these little children belong to the kingdom of God. I promise you that you cannot get into God's kingdom, unless you accept it the way a child does." Then Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them by placing his hands on them.


1. If the question about divorce was to be a test there must have been an expectation of a response which would have been outside the boundaries acceptable to the Pharisees. What do you think would have been an unacceptable answer regarding divorce?

2. How do we handle this issue of divorce or unfaithfulness within the church these days? How is this similar to and different from the issue of other separations and divisions? For instance, from last week we hear about someone who is healing in Jesus' name but is not a part of the "disciples." Is that a divorce which shows unfaithfulness? Is the keeping of children from Jesus an unfaithfulness and thus the same as a divorce which keeps that which GOD intended to be together, apart? This raises the question of what is a couple?

3. So Jesus blessed the children who have an intuitional approach to matters of the faith. It was not that the children were doctrinally correct or institutionally astute, but that they have a sense of what it means to be coupled? When we can see what needs to be together, regardless of doctrine or institution, we are in tune with the "kindom" of GOD. In knowing this song there is a deep blessing.

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