April 24, 2014
READ: Matthew 19:1-6
Let no one split apart what God has joined together (v.6).
A man knocked on my office door and asked me if I would officiate his marriage. I asked him to sit down so we could chat about his plans, timing and spiritual life. “Oh, I’m not sure you understand,” he said, “I’d like you to marry me today, like in the next hour.” The story is complicated, but his fiancée was from a different country and was living in our country with a short-term visa. For numerous reasons he wanted to marry right away, but he didn’t want a civil authority to perform the ceremony. He wanted a church and a pastor.
While there were many factors at play in this man’s situation, he clearly understood that marriage was a holy thing. Even in his predicament, he wanted to ensure that he and his fiancée recognised God in their vows.
This impulse was right, for Scripture tells us that marriage is—at its core—not foremost about a human action but God’s action. Matthew described how the “Pharisees came and tried to trap [Jesus] with [a] question” (19:3) concerning the appropriate conditions for divorce (a question designed to force Jesus to take sides in a heated religious dispute). But Jesus refused to answer the question on their terms. Rather, He reasserted the central biblical teaching that the union of a husband and wife is not a matter of human creation or human dissolution (vv.4-5). In marriage, man and woman are “no longer two but one,” Matthew wrote, because “God has joined [them] together” (v.6).
Marriage is God’s idea. It’s one of the ways He makes His love visible in the world. The healing of broken marital relationships is His work. The poet Rilke described marriages as “roots that drink from heaven.” What a perfect description! —Winn Collier
2 Kings 2:13-25 ‹365-day plan
Read Genesis 2:18-25. Who’s the prime character in this narrative? Whose actions are on display? How does this inform your view of marriage?
What are the implications for you in the realisation that marriage is first and foremost God’s activity? How can a marriage reflect God’s love and character to the world?