Mark 10:1-12 Marriage, Divorce, And Adultery.
Jesus and his disciples reenter the predominantly Jewish territory of Judea, including Jerusalem, and the path to his death and resurrection (v. 1a). “And multitudes gathered to Him again, and as He was accustomed, He taught them again. The Pharisees came and asked Him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ testing him” (v. 1b-2 Cf. Mt. 19:1-9). Some things never change – men ask questions about the law to know what they can get away with. However, the Pharisees, like many religious leaders today, go a step further and in this case asked the question with the intent of testing Jesus. Jesus did not contradict what he had given to Moses, and so he asked them if they knew what Moses had written (v. 3). Incidentally, since their answer is based on Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and Jesus does not dispute their reference, it is clear that they were all in agreement that this was through Moses. Jesus’ answer tells us something about some of the differences we see between the creation ordinances, and what was later on allowed in the process of time, due to the sinfulness of humanity (Gen. 1:27; 5:2).
Divorce had become a reality in the fallen condition, so men were commanded to guard it by law (v. 4). It was because of the hardness of men’s hearts that a commandment was issued to guard against abuse (v. 5). Something similar occurred with polygamy, men were having sexual relations with many women, so it was guarded by the requirement for marriage, though not the creation pattern of one man and one woman – the two becoming one flesh (vv. 5-8 Cf. Gen. 2:24; I Cor. 6:16; Eph. 5:31), and those God brought together, man was not to separate (v. 9). Divorce was and is serial polygamy. However, part of the command of Moses was that once divorced, the original divorcees were not to remarry – so there was added this prohibition. Divorce without grounds did not cease to make a person an adulterer, the certificate merely guarded against abuse, such as remarrying the original spouse (vv. 10-12). Elsewhere Jesus would teach about divorce when there was an innocent party (Mt. 5:31-32; 19:8-9).