Reflection: Speaking truth to an imperfect world
Have you ever wondered why Jesus teases out an answer from the Pharisees (religious teachers) that supported divorce? After all, he then goes on to firmly support marriage for life.
It was a trap.
Mark 10 begins “Jesus left that place [Galilee] and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan.” At this time Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, was the ruler of Galilee and territory over the Jordan. Antipas was the ruler who had been denounced by John the Baptist for divorcing his wife to marry his brother’s wife, Herodias. In Mark 6, we see that John ended up losing his head for such opposition.
So this question to Jesus about divorce was politically loaded.
Jesus gives a masterly answer “What did Moses command you?” By filtering his answer with the Moses exception, Jesus had made sure the Pharisees can’t take his answer to the Romans or Herod.
But later, “inside the house”, he speaks directly to Herod’s situation: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
If Jesus had said that in public he would have been telling the truth. But he chose to say it in private.
It is worth considering that in an imperfect world, which is often hostile to the Christian message, Jesus chose his words very carefully. He left his direct condemnation of Herod’s situation to his private discussion with the disciples.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want you to make me wise in the way I act towards those who do not know you. I know that some are hostile. I know that some are searching. Give me the wisdom to know how to speak the truth in any and every situation.