Proper 22 Reflections
7 October 2018
Mark 10: 2-16
Collect for Proper 22 Lord, thank You for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people. Grant us the lasting faith that can persevere through every trial. Empty our heads of anything that competes with You, and let us hold firmly to You eternally.
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Jesus and the disciples have now left Galilee, his home and the place of his ministry so far, and have come into Judea. From now on, the journey clearly takes them closer to Jerusalem.
Pharisees were scholars of the law, and spent much of their time raising questions about it; they saw this as a religious duty. In addressing them Jesus shows they are not coming from the attitude of faith but contempt.
It was easy for a man to divorce his wife. A wife was not permitted to divorce her husband. Children were not idealized, as is sometimes true in our culture, but usually had little value until they matured.
God intends marriage to be lifelong. Today’s Gospel deals with two accounts: marriage/divorce and Jesus’ love of children. In regard to marriage and divorce, Mark has Jesus take the position that neither husband nor wife should get a divorce. For the Pharisees, divorce is a legal matter: for Jesus it is a divine matter – not what is legal, but what is right. Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees that the legal right to get a divorce was due to a human’s sinfulness, but this was contrary to God’s intention that marriage is permanent. To substantiate this, Jesus refers twice to the creation account.
The Gospel continues with an account of Jesus receiving little children, for marriage and children go together.
Jesus urges that children should be brought to Him and teaches that one should receive the kingdom of God as a child in terms of openness and receptivity.
1. Is there any indication that the Pharisees were up to no good in their questioning of Jesus?
2. Why do you think they picked that particular question? How is it related to Genesis 2, quoted here by Jesus? To the teachings of Moses?
3. How does Jesus respond to their question? What effect do you think this answer would have on the Pharisees?
4. What is the significance of vs. 10-12,” And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” when compared to v. 4? They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.”
5. Why do you think Jesus says this part privately? In view of the strictness of this statement, do you think our church is wrong in permitting divorce as well as remarriage?
6. What is it about little children that Jesus considers not only valuable, but essential for the Kingdom of God.
A prayer for steadfast faith – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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