Others in Matthew, class 9: Matthew 19:1-12 – The Marital Status Divide
This passage is not included in this curriculum so that we can once and for all solve the theological debate over this passages and other scriptures that address the matter of divorce. The discussion that does need to take place is how to handle the obvious disconnect that is so often apparent among Christians of varying marital status – single, divorced, widowed, married. How is each looked upon as “other” by those who do not share the same marital status?
What challenges do never married people face as soon as they approach a church door?
What challenges do divorced people face as soon as they approach a church door?
What challenges do widowed people face as soon as they approach a church door?
Matthew 19:1-9: Marriage as the Ideal, or
Marriage Practiced Ideally?
In his comments on marriage brought up by the Pharisees “test” question on divorce, Jesus holds up marriage as it was known in Eden as the ideal to be pursued in the Kingdom – “What God has joined together, let not man separate.” Yet, for the purpose of high service of the kingdom, John the Baptist, Paul, and Jesus himself remained single. When Jesus described the practice of marriage, though, he held to ideal standards.
Matthew 19:10-12: The Unmarried Others
Jesus followed up his comments on marriage with an
acknowledgement of those who for various reasons remain unmarried. The first
two, the “eunuchs who have been so from birth” and the “eunuchs who have been
made eunuchs by men” were in Jesus’ day, according to Deut. 23:1 cut off from
entering the assembly of the Lord. Others indeed. But compare that circumstance
to the eunuch from Ethiopia in Acts 8 and his entrance to the kingdom.
The third kind of eunuch Jesus mentioned were eunuchs only metaphorically. “Those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom.”
Taking all that into account, how are married people, never married people, and previously married people to regard one another, treat one another, and minister to one another in the kingdom presently?