Mark 10:2–16 NRSV – Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 10:3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 10:4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 10:5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 10:6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 10:7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 10:8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 10:9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 10:10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 10:11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 10:12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” 10:13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 10:14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 10:15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 10:16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Summary – In this passage we find Jesus reproving two different groups. He reproves the Pharisees with the creational teaching about marriage. They were trying to trap Jesus in his words. In his answer he turns their question on them. He says divorce was granted in the days of Moses because of “your hardness of heart.” He explains that unbiblical divorce leads to adultery. In this he provides the famous words of marriage: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Then he reproves the disciples for forbidding the children to come to him, saying that “for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
Insight – Many people wondered what kind of kingdom the Messiah was going to bring. Jesus did not bring the kind of kingdom that the Pharisees wanted. He even disappointed the disciples until they finally understood Him. When Jesus addressed these two groups, the Pharisees and the disciples, he corrected them about their kingdom expectations.The Pharisees wanted a kingdom of power and themselves as those in power. They used the Law as an excuse to easily grant divorces and they displayed their rotten hearts by continually entrapping Jesus and finally crucifying Him. The disciples also needed correction because they failed to see the true nature of the kingdom. Like the Pharisees, the disciples sometimes thought the kingdom of God is about power. However, Jesus illustrated the spiritual and humble nature of His kingdom with children. We must receive the kingdom like a child and little children show us the kingdom.
Catechism – What did Jesus teach about children? He taught that to such as these the kingdom of God belongs.
Discussion – Why do you think the disciples rejected the people bringing children to Jesus?
Prayer – Heavenly Father, we give you thanks that our Savior called those who are weary and heavy laden to himself and that He invited children to Himself. Grant that we may walk in that child-like humility and faith as we remember our Savior’s grace. In Jesus Name. Amen.