The Pharisees, who dearly loved their money, heard all this and scoffed at Him.
Then He said to them, "You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.
"Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.
But that doesn't mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God's law to be overturned.
"For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery."
Several of you were disappointed that I didn’t pull apart the matter of divorce, remarriage and adultery. But as I said yesterday, I am working my way through Luke and Luke only has one verse about this topic in what he has recorded in this section between the Parable of the Unjust Manager and the Lazarus and the Rich Man story. It is Luke's context that I am dealing with, not what Matthew or Mark wrote. Most of us generalize what is in the Gospels to the extent that one size fits all. But that is not the case. I told you yesterday that in Luke's account, Jesus has just one verse on the matter of divorce and remarriage and in fact, He doesn’t spell anything out about it. Why has He used it? What is His purpose? Well, it is all to do with the way these five verses hang together. Yes, in fact they do hang together. I hope you have seen that already. We need to take the time to see how it all fits, in order to determine why Jesus slipped in the divorce/remarriage thing here.
Have you spotted the links? If not, allow me to assist you. Jesus has told two stories about money and wrong motives. This passage opens with, "The Pharisees, who dearly loved money, heard all this and scoffed at Him." A clear link at the very least, to the Parable of the Unjust Manager, but I think it goes wider than that. . . .So Jesus says to them, "You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts". This was the problem with the elder son in the Prodigal story, and we know for sure, Jesus used the retelling of the Jacob story in a pointed way to answer the Pharisees criticism of Him dining with tax collectors and sinners. Mmm, now that is food for thought isn't it. Notice in the Unjust Steward story, the steward is seeking to get into homes and secure his social link with people . . . .You have the Law, the Prophets and the Writings as a guide . . . But you are trying to force your way into the Kingdom by another route. . . Has the Law lost its force? No, of course not . . .It is easier for the heavens and earth to disappear in fire than it is for the Law of God to lose one Jot or Tittle of its force. . .For example. . . Issues of marriage and divorce.You so easily try to annul marriages and allow men to speak three times "I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you," and that is supposed to abolish a marriage vow made before God. In your dreams. You allow men to commit adultery and the woman has no legal response under the Law. Men can do it multiple times. Do you know the bonds that were made in heaven before God are binding? In God's eyes you are still married to your first wife.
The reference to divorce and re-marriage is openly stated to be an example Jesus is using to demonstrate His point. The Pharisees so easily try to bypass the Law or declare it void by their own cleverness. They redefine the terms being discussed, they pass other laws by way of explanation on the original statements from God, to allow people to side-slip the Law. Jesus inference here is that the smallest point of God's Law can't be overturned by your tricky dicky manoeuvring in your attempt to circumvent the Law. God's Law remains immutable and the vow you made to your first wife is still in place. None of your attempts to redefine marriage or divorce will make an iota of difference. Ouch!
Keep your eyes and ears open as we move into the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Is it coincidence that this story is focused on the mismanagement and abuse of riches? Here is yet another man who feels he can do whatever he wishes with the money at his disposal. Note too, the continuing link to the Law. Notice there is a segment at the end of the Lazarus story, which picks up on the weight of the Law and the need to listen to Moses and the Prophets. Do you think that is a throw away line of the story? Do you see now,it is all linked?
Well, if that is the case, then there is more for you to do to pick up on the pieces, in order to get the maximum point of all of this. Yes, you guessed it. We haven't finished yet; there is more to come. Don’t go to sleep when you are dealing with the Bible. It's too deep for that. You will always need to be looking in every direction with eyes wide open to pick up on all the clues Jesus gives you. Is it clicking into place yet? Are you beginning to see the wider picture?
Again I say to you, when Luke said he was writing an ordered account for "the God lover", he wasn't kidding. Now tell me the truth, you never imagined all this was linked together, did you? You figure the headings to the units in your Bible constituted the Sense Units. Untrue. When we rightly divide the Word of Truth, amazing things fall out. Get a good night's sleep won't you.
Tomorrow we begin Lazarus and the Rich Man.
To fully understand the Word of God you need a telescope and a microscope. Ian
You need to operate on the micro level and the macro level at the same time. Ian
Your greatest obstacle to personal growth isn't ignorance; it's the illusion of knowledge. It's in believing you've 'arrived.' Bob Gass
Our greatest ignorance is not of what we have yet to learn, but of how little we really know. Bob Gass
May I never miss a rainbow because I am looking down; may I never miss a gem because I am looking up.