Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONYMathew 19:1-12
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Vs 6).
St. Mathew tells us some Pharisees approached Jesus and asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason? This question comes from them as a test, and that is no surprise because throughout His ministry they are seen trying to trick and trap Jesus. They were very legalistic and shrewd in their dealings. We must notice here that Jesus doesn't answer the question on their terms; instead, He talks about God’s original design for marriage.
Marriage was instituted by God.
“Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female (V 4). He is referring here to the formation of the original marriage and the original family (Gen 1:27, 2:18-24). The Bible tells us how God formed the woman from Adam’s rib and gave her to the man. So, God planned, organized, and conducted the first wedding. It was God’s idea, not Adam’s. Here we see Eve as God’s designed provision for Adam. More often today, we tend to think that marriage is our own idea or our parents’ idea. It is God’s idea. That should convince us that we need to be looking to God to build up our marriage.
Marriage is a sacred, covenant relationship. Jesus says in V 5, ‘the two will become one flesh”. Then He says it again in V 6, “They are no longer two, but one flesh”. This is the same thing God says in Genesis 2:24. God put them together and they became one. In marriage, a new relationship is formed. The man and women leave their respective families and form a new family. It is God who joins them together as one flesh. The New Testament goes on to talk about marriage as a picture of Christ and the Church. Apostle Paul explains how the husband-wife relationship reflects the relationship between Christ and the church (Eph 5:22-33).
Marriage is between a Man and a Woman (V 5). Here Jesus points us back to the book of Genesis. It is the book of foundations (Gen 1:27, 2:24). Probably that’s not a popular part of the definition of marriage in today’s society, but it is part of the biblical definition of marriage, and it is part of Jesus’ teaching on marriage. It is the law of God’s creation (Gen 1:28).
Marriage is a public vow of Lifetime Faithfulness (V 6). “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate”. There were two schools of thought regarding divorce among Jewish teachers of Jesus’ day. One of the groups (Shammai) taught that divorce could only happen if there was a great immoral sin. The other (Hillel) taught that one could get divorced for nearly any reason (Deut 24:1). Here Jesus’ stance on divorce is ‘except for sexual immorality, not for just any reason (V 9). Adultery breaks the covenant of sexual faithfulness. Divorce breaks the covenant of lifetime commitment. Prophet Malachi calls divorce ‘breaking faith’, breaking the covenant of lifetime faithfulness (Mal 2:14-16).
The Gospel portion taken for our Sacrament of Holy Matrimony Order is from the Gospel of Mathew 19:1-6, which demands our serious approach toward marriage and its build-up.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of marriage. Help us to use it for Your glory and for the extension of Your kingdom. Lead us not into temptations, but deliver us from a culture of sexual unfaithfulness. Amen!
Thought for the Day
Nobody marries a perfect mate.
Rev. Joseph Chacko, NY