Yeshua’s Final Journey ~ Part 1
In our last post, we conclude our examination of His Raising of Lazarus and saw Yeshua withdraw to a region near the desert, to a village called Ephraim. In this post, we begin a new chapter dealing with the final days of Yeshua’s life and ministry to count down.
What occurs during this period, probably between January and March, is a microcosm of His entire ministry. There is more teaching to be done and more confrontations with the P’rushim. He once again blesses little children and reminds His followers of the burdens they must bear. As He has done twice before, Yeshua tells of His impending death.
More parables are taught, and still, more people are to be healed. He even has to admonish His closest talmidim of the spiritual nature of His kingdom and the need for humility and service. 1
P’rushim Question Yeshua on the Issue of Divorce
3 Some P’rushim came and tried to trap Him by asking, “Is it permitted for a man to divorce his wife on any ground whatever?” 4 He replied, “Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, 5 and that he said, ‘For this reason, a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh’? 6 Thus they are no longer two, but one. So then, no one should split apart what God has joined together.”
7 They said to him, “Then why did Moshe give the commandment that a man should hand his wife a get and divorce her?” 8 He answered, “Moshe allowed you to divorce your wives because your hearts are so hardened. But this is not how it was at the beginning. 9 Now what I say to you is that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery!” 2
The only text in the Five Books of Moshe dealing with divorce is Deuteronomy 24:1–4, and its discussion of grounds is perfunctory. Yeshua, in recalling Scripture, harks back to the beginning, in Gan-Eden (Mattityahu 19:4–5), to support His view that marriage must not be dissolved for anything less than the most direct insult to its one-flesh integrity, adultery. Verse 9 may imply that divorce without remarriage is allowable for lesser offenses.
The Talmidim Question Yeshua
10 The talmidim said to Him, “If that is how things are between husband and wife, it would be better not to marry!” 11 He said to them, “Not everyone grasps this teaching, only those for whom it is meant. 12 For there are different reasons why men do not marry – some because they were born without the desire, some because they have been castrated, and some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever can grasp this, let him do so.” 3
Judaism has always considered marriage both normal and desirable – “The unmarried person lives without joy, without blessing, and without good …. An unmarried man is not fully a man” (Talmud: Yevamot 62b–63a). On the other hand, some branches of Christianity came to grant abnormally high status to celibacy.
Depending on the calling and preferences of the individual, Yeshua allows that either the married or the single life can be one of service to God and humanity; and He takes care to minimize needless guilt on the part of those making a choice.
In our next, we will continue to explore Yeshua’s Final Journey.
Click here for the PDF version.
1 F. LaGard Smith, The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order.
2 Mattityahu 19:3-9.
3 Mattityahu 19:10–12.