DAILY DISCIPLINE #163
By Colleen Donahue
The disciples were more than a little surprised by our Lord's teaching on marriage and divorce. (If you haven't done Daily Discipline #162 I hope you'll take the time to do so). They were reacting on the restraints put on their freedom to divorce which had become quite simple to do if you subscribed to the thinking of the Jewish School of Hillel. So a new question had to be asked.......
To Marry Or Not To Marry? -- That Is the Question!
Studies continued from Matthew 19:10-12
Day 1- The disciples were quite surprised by Christ's teaching on divorce. They react to having restraints put on their freedom to divorce. They reason if marriage is so final then it's probably better not to marry at all!
What is the Lord's balanced response to their impetuous suggestion?
Day 2- In other words, the unmarried state is not for everyone but only for those "to whom it has been given." Then Jesus goes on to tell of three particulars.....
First, we need to define "eunuch" to make sense of what Jesus is saying. In Greek the word means "bed keeper" or "one that has charge of beds and bedchambers". A eunuch in Bible times was a male servant of a royal household. These servants were often emasculated by castration as a precautionary measure -- especially if they served among the wives in a ruler's harem (2 Kings 9:32)
(From Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
This barbarous practice of mutilation was used throughout the orient. Jesus is using this example figuratively to make his point. First there are some born with a physical, mental or emotional problem which makes marriage untenable in later life. Second, there are some who are put into a position by other men which makes marriage and children impossible.
Day 3- And finally it is possible for a man or woman to deliberately choose not to marry and have a family so that they can attend to the things of God.
Philippians 3:7-8 / Romans 13:14
"The true eunuch is not he who cannot, but he who will not indulge in fleshly pleasure."
Clement of Alexandria
Day 4- Jesus has laid down some principles for us (not laws). The norm for men is marriage which transcends all other natural bonds established with our mothers and fathers.
But there are also exceptional cases where this principle doesn't hold and it is better not to marry as Jesus shares here in Matthew 19:12.
Day 5- There are also critical times in history where marriage can be a hindrance rather than a help. The Apostle Paul chose to remain single because of the critical times in which he lived AND God's call on his life to travel and share the gospel.
1 Corinthians 7:25-27
Why was Paul making this recommendation?
1 Corinthians 7:28b, 32-35
Day 6- So whether God calls you to the married life or to the single life it is to be embraced and lived out with all diligence and faithfulness. We should not seek for something we don't have or to be free from what we do have.
1 Corinthians 7:17-24
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