Mark 10:35-45

                                             April 28,  2019


                         Christ’s Teaching on Marriage and Divorce


1 “And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by

the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again; and, as He was

wont, He taught them again.”   As Judaea and Galilee both lay west

of the Jordan, this route above described would be literally coming "to the borders

of Judaea and beyond Jordan." Again multitudes flocked together to Him, and

again He taught them. Matthew (Matthew 21:1) says that "He healed them."

His miracles of healing and His teaching went hand in hand.


2 “And the Pharisees came to Him, and asked Him, Is it lawful for a man to put

away his wife? tempting Him.”  They hoped to discredit Him with the respectable

classes, and to found a charge against Him of overturning the social and religious

institutions of the land.  Too, they hoped they could charge Him with lax morality,

or perhaps He would disrespect the law of Moses or possibly, even

to embroil Him with the tetrarch Herod Antipas, in whose dominions He now was.

(Remember what happened to John the Baptist ch. 6:14-29) It is the reproach and

shame of nearly all “heresies” (remember that the Greek word for heresy means

“choice CY – 2010) in religion that they sooner or later attempt to abolish the

safeguards of society, and the time-honored customs of the social order. Marriage

is a touchstone that betrays the inherent unrighteousness and impracticability of a

large proportion of them.  (In our society it is obsession with abortion, gender,

homosexuality, separation of church and state, dispersal of condoms, freedom

of expression, censorship, etc.  Beware – CY – 2010)  Also, Christ’s enemies

hoped on this point to array Him against Moses and to discredit Him with the common

people.  Matthew 21:3 adds to the question the words, “for every cause.” There were

causes for which it was lawful.  They put this question to our Lord, “tempting Him” –

of course with an evil intent. This question about divorce was one which was much

agitated in the time of our Lord.  In the century before Christ, a learned rabbi, named

Hillel, a native of Babylon, who afterwards came to Jerusalem (this might explain the

liberal attitude of Hillel God had told the Israelites not to mix with the Canaanites for

they would detract them from God – the Israelites disobeyed and eventually went into

idolatry and for this, they were carried into Babylon in captivity for seventy years –

many returned under  Ezra but many stayed behind, being content in Babylon and

preferring the world instead of God’s plans.  Apparently, Hillel was a descendant of

this group and no doubt this affected his attitude in such things as marriage .  If you

remember, his ancestors under the leadership of Aaron had built a golden calf to

worship and when Moses came off Mt. Sinai after being with God, that he ground up

the golden calf and spread the dust in the brook that came out of the mount –

I say all this to make the point that The Jews were wont to say that never any

trouble came upon them without an ounce of the gold dust of the golden calf

being in it I submit that Hillel’s views and modern attitudes towards marriage,

abortion, gay rights and other perverted views reek with “gold dust from the

calf”.  Jesus called it “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”

[ch.7:7] – CY – 2010).  Hillel studied the Law with great success, and became the 

head of the chief school in  that city. One of his disciples, named Shammai,

separated from his master, and set up another school; so that in the time of our Lord

the scribes and doctors of the Law were arranged in two parties, namely, the

followers of Hillel, the most influential; and the followers of Shammai. These two

schools differed widely on the subject of divorce. The followers of Shammai only

permitted divorce in the case of moral defilement, while the followers of Hillel

placed the matter entirely in the power of the husband. (just opposite of

modern heresies which promote the supremacy of women to make that

call – CY – 2010)  The object, therefore, of this artful question was to entrap

our Lord, and to bring Him into collision with one or other of these two

opposing parties. For if He had said that it was not lawful for a man to put away

his wife, He would have exposed Himself to the hostility of many of the wealthy

classes, who put away their wives for any cause. But if he had allowed the lawfulness

of divorce at all, they would have found fault with His doctrine as imperfect and

carnal, although He professed to be a spiritual Teacher of a perfect system, sent

down from heaven.


3 “And He answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 

4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her

away.” If we now turn to  Matthew (Matthew 19:4-5), we shall find that

our Lord then appeals to the original institution of marriage. "Have ye not read,

that he which made them from the beginning, made them male and female,

and said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall

cleave to his wife; and the twain shall become one flesh? So that they are

no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together,

let not man put asunder." He thus reminds them that marriage is a Divine institution;

that as Adam and Eve were united by Him in a union which was indissoluble, therefore

He intended that the marriage bond should remain ever, so that the wife ought never

to be separated from her husband, since she becomes by marriage a very part of her

husband. To this purpose St. Augustine says ('City of God,' bk. 14:22). "It was

not of the spirit which commands and the body which obeys, nor of the rational

soul which rules and the irrational desire which is ruled, nor of the contemplative

virtue which is supreme, and the active which is subject, nor of the understanding

of the mind and the sense of the body; but plainly of the matrimonial union, by

which the sexes are mutually bound together, that our Lord, when asked whether

it were lawful for any cause to put away one's wife, answered as in Matthew

(Matthew 19:4-5). It is certain, then, that from the first men were created as we

see and know them to be now, of two sexes - male and female - and that they are

called one, either on account of the matrimonial union, or on account of the origin

of the woman, who was created from out of the side of the man."


“What did Moses command you?” - It is to be observed that Jesus goes

back behind the old Mosaic Law, which was universally accepted among the Jews

as the authoritative standard of conduct.  Jesus allows no authority to mere

traditions and usages.  “And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of

divorcement”.  From the beginning God joined man and woman in one

indissoluble bond; but man’s nature having become corrupt through sin,

and sin changed and corrupted the institution, and so was the occasion of

bills of divorcement and polygamy.



            divorcement was called “a writing of cutting off” (sepher kerithuth). This

            bill or writing of divorcement implied, not only a mere separation from bed

            and board, as some restrict it, but a complete severance of the marriage tie.

            It was a certificate of repudiation, and either stated or omitted the cause of

            such repudiation. If the cause was adultery or a suspicion of adultery, the

            husband might prove himself (δίκαιοςjust; decent) just like Joseph in

            Matthew 1:19), that is, a strict observer of the Law in dismissing the guilty wife

            with a bill of divorcement; and yet, not wishing to expose her, he might send

            her away privately. If, however, the guilty person or the suspected person were

            brought openly to justice, and the crime proved, certain death was the

            penalty, as is distinctly stated in Leviticus 20:10, “The man that

            committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that

            committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the      

            adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Most commonly, therefore, when

            a bill of divorcement was resorted to in accordance with the Mosaic

            permission, it was for some less cause or minor offense than conjugal

            infidelity; and in such cases it served the wife as a certificate of character.


5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he

wrote you this precept.  6 But from the beginning of the creation God made

them male and female.  7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother,

and cleave to his wife;  8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no

more twain, but one flesh.  9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not

man put asunder.”  Matthew appears to give the more full account, of which Mark's

is an abbreviation. If we suppose the scribes here to interpose their question,

"Why then did Moses permit a bill of divorcement?" the two narratives fit exactly.

Our Lord here answers their question, For your hardness of heart he wrote you this

commandment. He permitted (not commanded) them to put away their wives, lest

dislike might turn to hatred. From the beginning God joined them in one indissoluble

bond; but man's nature having become corrupt through sin, that sin changed and

corrupted the institution, and so was the occasion of bills of divorcement, and

polygamy. The Law of Moses put some restraint upon the freedom with which

men had till then put away their wives; for thenceforth, a divorce could not take

place until some legal steps had been taken, and a regular instrument had been

drawn up; and this delay might often be the means of preventing a divorce which

might otherwise have been effected in a moment of passion. Thus this legislation

was adapted to the imperfect moral condition of the people, who were as yet quite

unprepared for a higher moral code. (Modern folks must not either!!!??? – CY – 2019)


10 “And in the house His disciples asked Him again of the same matter.” 

The discussion with the Pharisees, related in the previous verses, had taken place in

public. But now in the house, and in private, the disciples asked Him again of this

matter; so that what follows seems here to have been said to them privately. But it

would appear from Matthew (Matthew 19:8) that our Lord had already said this in

public; so that here He proclaims a new law, or rather affirms the sanctions of the

primitive institution, abrogating the "bill of divorcement" excepting in the one case

of fornication, and restoring the rite of marriage to its primaeval and indissoluble



11 “And He saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry

another, committeth adultery against her.”  Committeth adultery against her

(μοιχᾶται ἐπ αὐτήνmoichatai ep autaenis committing adultery on her).

This must surely mean the wife that has been put away. The adultery is against her,

against her rights and interests.


12 “And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she

committeth adultery.”  This verse should be read thus: And if she herself shall put

away her husband, and marry another, she committeth adultery (καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ

ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὑτῆς γαμήση ἄλλον μοιχᾶταιkai ean autae apolusasa

ton andra autaes gamaesae allon moichatai). This reading is well supported.

These words indicate that, according to our blessed Lord's teaching, wives and

husbands have equal rights in reference to divorce; and so the Greek, according to

the best authorities, is (γαμήσηgamaesae - shall marry), not (γαμηθῆ - gamaethae

shall be married).  Josephus, however, makes it evident that in his time husband and

wife had by no means equal rights in these matters ('Antiq.' 15:7, 10).



  • ORIGINAL MARRIAGE LAW. The Savior argues the indissoluble

            nature of the marriage law from the original unity of male and female, from

            the extreme closeness of the marriage bond taking precedence of every

            other union even parental and filial; above all, from its Divine origin.

            Marriage was thus an ordinance of God; it was instituted in Paradise in

            those bright and sunny bowers before sin had marred the freshness and the

            loveliness of the new-created world. Even then God saw that it was not

            good for man to be alone, and accordingly He gave him a help meet for him

            one that was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. “Therefore shall a

            man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto [literally, be

            glued unto] his wife: (my testimony is that I appreciate my wife of 50 years

            whose attitude in times of marital unharmony has always been “I’m stuck”

            according to the Biblical plan – CY – 2019) and they shall be one flesh.” It

            was an ordinance of God Himself, an ordinance nearly coeval with the creation,   

            an ordinance made for man even in his unfallen state of innocence.  Jesus says      

            that an institution created by God at first, coeval with our race, and confirmed

            by so many sanctions, can neither be nullified nor modified by any human

            enactment, nor set aside by any authority other than His who created it.

            “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”




ü      There is reference to what we should call natural adaptation. If there

      is design in any arrangement or provision of nature, there is certainly          

      design [reader, I recommend typing in Fantastic Trip in your

      search engine if you are interested in design – this is spectacular –

      there are 68 photographs – it has music which I hope you can

      bring up but if not, a silent reverence will do – CY – 2010]

      in the division of mankind (as, indeed, of other races of living beings)

      into two corresponding and complementary sexes. Man was made for        

      woman, and woman for man; and the equality in numbers of male and       

      female is evidently a natural reason both for marriage and for



ü      There is reference to the creative, historical basis of marriage. The

                        record of Genesis is adduced, and Jesus reminds the Pharisees that

                        marriage dated, as a matter of fact, from the beginning of the

                        creation — that our first parents lived together in this relationship

                        from their first introduction to each other until the close of life.


ü      Jesus asserts marriage to be a Divine ordinance. “God hath joined

                        together husband and wife. The Law of Moses came in with its                                       

                        additional provisions and sanctions; but it presumed the existence of

                        the marriage state. God, who orders all things well, had seen that it

                        would not be good for the man to be alone; accordingly He instituted                                

                        wedded life, and hallowed it.




ü      A condemnation of the custom of facile (easy) divorce. It was a

      common practice for the Jews, when dissatisfied with their wives, to

      put them away for very trivial reasons — even because they were not         

      pleased with them, without any offense having been committed. They       

      were wont to appeal to a permissive provision in their law as a warrant

      for acting thus. In our own times, in many countries even professedly        

      Christian, it is too common for regulations of great laxity to be made         

      regarding divorce. In some countries even incompatibility of temper is

      a sufficient ground for permanent separation. (and who knows what

      other excuse has been developed in the last 200 years since this has

      been written - CY - 2010)  Such practices are condemned by Jesus as        

      contrary to the Divine intention regarding marriage, and as

      subversive of all sound morality. As the family is the unit and the basis

      of all communities, and of all moral unity and welfare, it is of the

      highest importance that the sacredness of this Divine institution

      should be upheld, and that all practices and sentiments which       

      undermine it should be discountenanced and opposed. Lax views

      upon divorce are to be repressed, hostile to all social welfare as well

      as to domestic concord.


ü      A declaration that such divorce is conducive to adultery. Our Lord

      does not say that the remarriage of divorced persons is in all cases  

      adulterous; but, speaking of these who are separated for trivial

      offenses, and for any offense short of the most serious, (infidelity)

      He declares that for such persons to marry again is nothing less than           

      adultery. They are not really and in God’s sight released from one

      another, and a second union is therefore unlawful. “What therefore

      God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”  May we as            

      Christians discountenance lax opinions and practices upon a question

      so vital to social and national well-being as the ordinance of










            This is not a popular or acceptable lesson; and most people would be

            willing to accept, without a murmur, the position of danger and temptation

            occupied by the affluent. However, the warnings of the Master are fully

            borne out by the experience of those who have watched the working of

            human nature under the influence of riches.


ü      To have wealth is to be in danger of trusting in wealth.


ü      To trust in wealth is not conducive to humility, penitence, and faith —

                        the dispositions peculiarly suitable to those who would be saved.


ü      To lack these dispositions is to be disqualified for the kingdom of God.


ü      Yet the grace of God, with whom all things are possible, is able to

                        overcome difficulties and temptations great as these.



23 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples, How

hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”

And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples (καὶ περιβλεψάμενος

Ιησοῦς λέγειkai periblepsamenos ho Iaesous legeiand looking about Jesus

is saying). Mark frequently uses this word περιβλέπω periblepo to look around;

to gaze upon.   Our Lord turned from the young man, who was now going away,

and looked round about, no doubt with a sad and disappointed look, and said to

His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

Why is this? Partly because the love of riches tempts men to heap them up, whether

lawfully or unlawfully. Partly because the love of riches binds the soul to earth,

so that it is less likely to think of heaven. Partly because riches are an incentive

to pride and luxury and other sins. The heathen poet Ovid could speak of riches

"irritamenta malorum." (truth in nothing)  Poverty and contempt of riches often

open that heaven which wealth and covetousness close.



27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not

with God: for with God all things are possible.”  Jesus looking upon them

(ἐμβλέψας δὲ αὐτοῖςeublepsas de autoiislooking yet to them). The Greek

verb implies an earnest, intense looking upon them; evidently narrated by one

who, like Peter, had watched His countenance. St. Chrysostom says that He looked

on them in this way that He might mitigate and soothe the timid and anxious minds

of His disciples. It is as though our Lord said, "It is impossible for a rich man,

embarrassed and entangled with his wealth, by his own natural strength to

obtain salvation; because this is a supernatural blessing, which we cannot

obtain without the like supernatural aids of grace. But with God all things

are possible, because God is the Author and Source, as of nature, so of

GRACE and GLORY!  And He enables us, by His grace, to triumph over

all the difficulties and hindrances of nature; so that rich men shall not be

hindered by their riches; but, by being faithful in the unrighteous mammon,

shall make it the means of their being received unto 'the eternal tabernacle.'




30 “But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and

brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with

persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”  But he shall receive a

hundredfold now in this time (ἑκατονταπλασίοναhekatontaplasiona

hundredfold). Luke (Luke 18:30) says (πολλαπλασίοναpollaplasiona

manyfold) "manifold more" - an indefinite increase, to show the greatness and

multitude of the recompense. He who forsakes his own for the sake of Christ

will find others, many in number, who will give him the love of brethren and

sisters, with even greater affection; so that he will seem not to have lost or

forsaken his own, but to have received them again with interest. For spiritual

affections are far deeper than natural; and his love is stronger who burns


is influenced by earthly love only, which only nature has planted. But in the

fullest sense, he who forsakes these earthly things for the sake of Christ,

receives instead, GOD HIMSELF!  (To Abraham God said, “Fear not,

Abram:  I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” – Genesis 15:1)

For to those who forsake all for Him, He is Himself father, brother, sister,

and all things. So that he will have possessions far richer than what earth

can supply; only with persecutions (μετὰ διωγμῶνmeta diogmon -  with

 persecutions). This is a very striking addition. Our Lord here includes

"persecutions" in the number of the Christian's blessings. And no doubt

there is a noble sense in which persecutions are really amongst the blessings

of the believer. "If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are ye;

for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you" (1 Peter 4:14). Peter,

who must have had in his mind the "with persecutions" of our Lord when he

wrote these words, here shows that the blessedness of the Christian when

suffering persecution is this, that he has a special sense of the abiding presence

of the Spirit of God, bringing with it the assurance of future glory. "Rejoice,

and be exceeding glad: far great is your reward in heaven." The words are also,

of course, a warning to the disciples as to the persecutions that awaited them.

And in the world to come eternal life. This is that splendid inheritance in which

the blessed shall be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; and so shall possess

not only the heaven and the earth, and all things that are in them, but even God

Himself, and all honor, all glory, all joy, not merely as occupiers, but as heirs

for ever; as long as God Himself shall be, who is Himself "the eternal God."



                        The One of the Twain (archaic term for two)



                   To My Dear and Loving Husband




                                 ANNE BRADSTREET



                                                     If ever two were one, then surely we.

                                                     If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.

                                                     If ever wife was happy in a man,

                                                     Compare with me, ye women, if you can.

                                                     prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,

                                                     Or all the riches that the East doth hold.

                                                     My love is such that rivers cannot quench,

                                                     Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.

                                                     Thy love is such I can no way repay;

                                                     The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.

                                                     Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,

                                                     That when we live no more, we may live ever.







I Corinthians 11:3-12

Deuteronomy 1:17

Leviticus 19:15

Genesis 3:16

I Peter 3:7-12


Thus would the apostle have the women appear In Christian assemblies,

even though they spoke there by inspiration, because of the angels, that is,

say some, because of the evil angels. The woman was first in the transgression,

being deceived by the devil (1 Tim. 2:14), which increased her subjection to

man, Gen. 3:16. Now, believe evil angels will be sure to mix in all Christian

assemblies, therefore should women wear the token of their shamefacedness

and subjection, which in that age and country, was a veil. Others say because

of the good angels. Jews and Christians have had an opinion that these

ministering spirits are many of them present in their assemblies. Their

presence should restrain Christians from all indecencies in the worship

of God. Note, We should learn from all to behave in the public assemblies

of divine worship so as to express a reverence for God, and a content and

satisfaction with that rank in which he has placed us. (Matthew Henry)



We have here the sentence passed upon the woman for her sin. Two things she is

condemned to: a state of sorrow, and a state of subjection, proper punishments of

a sin in which she had gratified her pleasure and her pride.


I. She is here put into a state of sorrow in child bearing.  Sin brought sorrow into the

world; it was this that made the world a vale of tears, brought showers of trouble

upon our heads, and opened springs of sorrows in our hearts, and so deluged the world:

had we known no guilt, we should have known no grief. The pains of child-bearing,

which are great to a proverb, a scripture proverb, are the effect of sin; every pang

and every groan of the travailing woman speak aloud the fatal consequences of sin:

this comes of eating forbidden fruit. Observe:


  1. The sorrows are here said to be multiplied, greatly multiplied. All the

     sorrows of this present time are so; many are the calamities which human life

     is liable to, of various kinds, and often repeated, the clouds returning after

     the rain, and no marvel that our sorrows are multiplied when our sins are:

     both are innumerable evils. The sorrows of child-bearing are multiplied;

     for they include, not only the travailing throes, but the indispositions before

     (it is sorrow from the conception), and the nursing toils and vexations after;

     and after all, if the children prove wicked and foolish, they are, more than ever,

     the heaviness of her that bore them. Thus are the sorrows multiplied; as one

     grief is over, another succeeds in this world.


  1. It is God that multiplies our sorrows: I will do it. God, as a righteous Judge,

      does it, which ought to silence us under all our sorrows; as many as they are,

      we have deserved them all, and more: nay, God, as a tender Father, does it for

      our necessary correction, that we may be humbled for sin, and weaned from

      the world by all our sorrows; and the good we get by them, with the comfort

      we have under them, will abundantly balance our sorrows, how greatly soever

      they are multiplied.


II. She is here put into a state of subjection. The whole sex, which by creation was equal

with man, is, for sin, made inferior, and forbidden to usurp authority, 1 Tim. 2:11-12.

The wife particularly is hereby put under the dominion of her husband, and is not

sui juris—at her own disposal; of age; independent, of which see an instance in that

law, Numbers 30:6-8, where the husband is empowered, if he please, to disannul the

vows made by the wife. This sentence amounts only to that command, Wives, be in

subjection to your own husbands; but the entrance of sin has made that duty a

punishment, which otherwise it would not have been. If man had not sinned, he

would always have ruled with wisdom and love; and, if the woman had not sinned,

she would always have obeyed with humility and meekness; and then the dominion

would have been no grievance: but our own sin and folly make our yoke heavy.

If Eve had not eaten forbidden fruit herself, and tempted her husband to eat it,

she would never have complained of her subjection; therefore it ought never to be

complained of, though harsh; but sin must be complained of, that made it so. Those

wives who not only despise and disobey their husbands, but domineer over them,

do not consider that they not only violate a divine law, but thwart a divine sentence.


III. Observe here how mercy is mixed with wrath in this sentence. The woman shall

have sorrow, but it shall be in bringing forth children, and the sorrow shall be forgotten

for joy that a child is born, (John 16:21). She shall be subject, but it shall be to her own

husband that loves her, not to a stranger, or an enemy: the sentence was not a curse,

to bring her to ruin, but a chastisement, to bring her to repentance. It was well that

enmity was not put between the man and the woman, as there was between the serpent

and the woman.      (Matthew Henry)



What do we expect?  Romans 1:20-32)


We need in this day of the withdrawing of the Holy Spirit a good dose

of Pentecost and to heed the advice of Peter when he said,

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ

for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

.......Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”  (Acts 2:38,40)