Summary of passage: The disciples concluded it would be better not to marry than to commit adultery according to Jesus’ definition. Jesus responded that some will be called to remain celibate and those should accept it.
Jesus blessed the little children who came to him despite the rebukes from the disciples. Jesus explained that the kingdom of heaven belongs to those such as these.
8a) Jesus said that some are called to remain celibate and if you are called, then, yes, you should remain celibate.
b) Paul taught that he wishes all would not marry like him but if you do marry to remain pure and not to commit sin through adultery. Married people face many troubles and Paul wanted to spare people of those troubles by not marrying. Marriage problems can push God away. An unmarried person can focus all his life on God but a married person is focused on pleasing his or her spouse and thus his interests are divided between this world and God’s world. Paul wished for those to live in undivided devotion to God. He also advised widows not to re-marry but to focus on God instead.
God might ask someone not to marry for His glory so that they can focus and devote all of their lives to Him.
9a) First, the sanctity of the marriage union no longer exists in much of society today. Infidelity is rampant and thus is divorce and heartache. Re-marriage is also very common. Swinging is acceptable as is gay marriage. This is not what the Bible teaches. But if you say you are against gay marriage or that divorce is a sin then you are the stigmatized as un-Biblical and judgmental. Christians are pressured to accept society’s “water-downed” view of marriage and to not voice any dissent.
Society does pressure people to marry. If you are 30 today and unmarried, some think there must be something wrong with you. Some give in to the pressure to have a white picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a cat and dog. They forget that God might have another plan for their lives.
b) Personal Question. My answer: Well, I believe I strengthened myself through studying these passages and knowing what God and Jesus think of marriage and divorce so that I can voice that to others who are confused or have no clue. I can encourage single people to wait on God and not to push things. I can give Biblically-based advice when a friend is struggling in her marriage.
Knowledge of the Bible is powerful. It is our tool and our weapon when fighting the devil and sin. The more we know, the stronger we are. The stronger we are, the stronger are those around us. Hence, the service BSF does for all of us whether we know it at the time or not. Bible study is never a waste. Never.
10a) To have Jesus touch them, to place his hands on and pray for them.
b) Children were not valued in ancient society. A lot of kids died before they reached adulthood so parents found it difficult to bond with them when they were only going to lose them in the end. The disciples might have seen Jesus wasting his time on kids who were going to die anyways. Children were also bought and sold when the parents were in debt or for other reasons. They were seen as property–disposable and again, not valued and worth Jesus’ time. People had kids so they could have help around the farm. They were seen as workers and not as precious beings as we see them today.
c) Children can be overlooked because of their size in this world. Also, people may leave kids’ salvation up to the parents. You are seen as interfering on parental rights if you talk to kids about Jesus. Likewise, adults assume the parents are talking to kids about Jesus when they may not be.
d) Personal Question. My answer: Give God the glory for all you have and do while they are there. Ask them if they know who Jesus is. Casually mention Jesus and church to them. Pray beforehand and allow God to guide you. Reflect God to them. It doesn’t have to be in your face. Most kids are pretty open and will take your talk as such.
Conclusions: I have thoroughly enjoyed this study of marriage and divorce. I think it’s a topic that is not discussed enough in Christian circles because of the negative connotations of marriage and the political correctness that silences dissenters against the mainstream, which is so unfortunate especially in God’s eyes. What was intended to be beautiful has been twisted and it must be heart-wrenching for God to see.
I think it’s important for every Christian to know the Truth God intends and I pray the more we all know the Truth the more we can live out His truths and turn the tide society has taken.
End Notes: The term “eunuch” was used in ancient times figuratively to mean those who chose to abstain from marriage. Paul repeatedly emphasizes that one should be at peace with this decision and it is not for all.
Note that the parents brought their children to Jesus to be blessed. So must we. We must not let others push aside our kids for any reason. Our primary duty as Christian parents is to first and foremost teach our children about God and Jesus. Everything else is secondary.