Listen to today’s devo!

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” (Matt. 19:3)

Expanded Passage: Matthew 19:3–4

Seventeen states in the United States have “no-fault” divorce. One legal resource explains: “No-fault means you don’t have to prove cheating, abandonment, cruelty, or anything else to get a divorce. Your spouse doesn't have to agree to give you a divorce. You can get a divorce even if you did something that made your marriage end.” This view of divorce is the ultimate “get out of marriage free” card. There’s no responsibility, no accountability, and no real attempts at reconciliation.

The Pharisees are using 'no-fault divorce' to lay a trap for Jesus. The way they frame their question reveals that, in ancient Jewish culture, the only person who can initiate divorce proceedings is the husband. They are asking Jesus publicly, “Can I leave my marriage whenever I want for whatever reason I choose, no matter how insignificant it might seem?”

Jesus’ answer was brilliant. He elevated the conversation to a higher level. He said, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator…?” The conversation around marriage doesn't start and end with us — our desires, our needs, our preferences. For Jesus, the conversation around marriage begins and ends with God—God’s intent, God’s desire, God’s design. So, the question is really, “What does God want for this union?” rather than, “What works best for me right now?” Instead of starting with our happiness, we can start with God’s holiness.

Ask: Am I committed to pursuing contentment or complaint in my marriage?

Steve Norman is a Wesleyan pastor, speaker, and author. He lives in West Michigan and serves the Great Lakes Region of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.