In Jesus’ Words: Questions and Answers (Matthew 19:2-12)

jesus-christ-light-of-the-world-1401917-wallpaperLarge crowds followed Jesus, and He healed them there. Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?” (Matthew 19:2-3)

If only they had known.  If only they knew who they were talking to and how the world would regard Jesus in the centuries to come.  If only they knew they were standing face-to-face with the Son of God and could ask Him anything.  Whether you believe or not, Jesus has made a remarkable impact on the last 2000 years, and I think any one of us would love to meet him face-to-face and ask our questions.  We all want the answers to life.  But even when we have them, we sometimes want different answers; or our own answers do not satisfy us.  When the Pharisees approached Jesus with their questions, Jesus knew they were not coming to seek the truth; their motives were false.

Their conversation that follows is a very controversial one today, so I took the help of a few Bible commentaries to see what they had to say.  As one commentary wrote: Jesus’ answer was not a direct one but rather an effective one.  No one could contradict his logic.  When I read the passage, I see compassion in Jesus’ answer.  Though Jesus never justifies sin, He does know our struggles and what is on our heart.

~ Matthew 19:4-12  Question about Marriage and Divorce ~

“Haven’t you read,” Jesus replied to the Pharisees, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female”. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”

“Why then,” they asked Him, “did Moses command us to give divorce papers and to send her away?”

He told them, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not like that from the beginning. And I tell you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

His disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of a man with his wife is like this, it’s better not to marry!”

But He told them, “Not everyone can accept this saying, but only those it has been given to. For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb, there are eunuchs who were made by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves that way because of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

Here’s a little trivia.  In the book of Job, God asked Job over 70 questions during his trials, but never directly answered any of Job’s questions.  According to the Gospels, Jesus only answered 3 out of 183 questions that were asked of him.  Yet, Jesus was often known to ask people, “What do you want?  Who is it that you seek?”

We may not receive all of the answers to our questions here on earth, but God is more interested in our answer.  Who is it that you seek?

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The Truth

truth

What is truth?” Pontius Pilot famously asked of Jesus. (John 18:38)

“Is this true?” the high priest asked of Stephen before he was martyred. (Acts 7:1)

Stephen’s response and final speech, where he explains all things from the beginning, is recorded in Acts 7.

“…And when they heard these things, they were enraged in their hearts and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, filled by the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven. He saw God’s glory, with Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said,  “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”  Then they screamed at the top of their voices, covered their ears, and together rushed against him.  They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. And the witnesses laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul…”  (Acts 7:54-58)

Saul helped kill Stephen.  He was a cruel and powerful man.  Later, Saul became a follower of the very same people he persecuted.  He gave up everything – his reputation, his money, his status – all to be willingly persecuted himself.  There is only one thing that would make a person do that – the truth.  And today, there is only one thing that would make 21 Coptic Christians in Egypt not waver in their faith as they are being beheaded – the truth.  It was clearly not the response their executioners were expecting.  One of the 21 was an unnamed African from the Muslim Brotherhood, who had recently become a new follower of Christ.  When he was asked to return to Islam in order to spare his life, he said he would rather stand with his Christian brothers and Jesus Christ.

“…And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 20:4 – Apostle John’s vision

Many people debate truth, but no one would disagree on the importance of knowing it.  I cannot think of another thing more important than knowing the truth, though it’s not always the most popular.  Popularity and majority do not equal truth.  There is no price tag on knowing the truth, and there is no substitute.

As we go through this Easter week, with celebrations and remembrances, stop and think on the truth.  Are you willing to live for the truth?  Some are even willing to die for it.  The more serious we take our belief in who Jesus is, the more serious we’ll take our responsibilities and actions here on earth.  For there is no salvation without a Savior.

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