Listening to a John MacArthur sermon on this passage about divorce got me thinking about some parallels with the pro-gay theology crowd.
Matthew 19:1-11 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given.
His point was how the Pharisees in Jesus’ time were wildly pro-easy-divorce.
In the beginning of Matt 19, the Jews seem to be asking for Jesus’ opinion in a rabbinic conflict in interpreting Deut 24:1. The school of Shammai allowed divorce only for adultery, the school of Hillel allowed divorce tor any reason. They are asking if Jesus favors Hillel.
Keep in mind how educated and well read the Pharisees were. Jesus seems to heart sarcasm, because in verse 4 He says, “Have you not read . . .” and then He goes to the very beginning, in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, to point out God’s created order. They had obviously read that and knew what is said but had deliberately ignored it. It was as if they had said “2+2=5” and He was pointing out how ridiculous they were being for missing something so elementary. The pro-gay theology crowd is the same way.
Sometimes I think orthodox Christians are too patient and gracious with false teachers. There are a number of problems with pro-gay theology and we can go on all day refuting their arguments. But in doing so we probably give them much more of a forum than they deserve. It leaves them with the ability to pretend that it is just a toss up and that either view must be OK.
Jesus didn’t drag out the discussion with the Pharisees like we do with the pro-gay theology crowd. I think He would have answered them the same way He did with the pro-divorce crowd, with a dig at how in their rebellion they miss the obvious: “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command . . .”
I could also see him saying something similar regarding abortion, i.e., “Have you not read . . . don’t murder, don’t shed innocent blood, children are a blessing, etc.?”
(Note that divorce was a hot topic in that culture while homosexuality and abortion were not.)