March 13, 2018
“Duty to Little Ones”
If Jesus was out in the 705, 905, 519, today the itinerary heads into the 416, the heartland, centres of power including the capital and the temple. The push-back to the buddies ‘from Nazareth in Galilee’ is like ours ‘from Cornerbrook in Newfoundland’, ‘Goin’ Down the Road’
Pharisees try him on divorce: Moses let a man divorce a wife. Jesus won’t make it a good thing, but a concession to hard-hearted humans. The aspiration is cited as Genesis – centuries of marital pain has followed, given the realities of human relationships.
The argument continues, with Talmudic rabbinic reasoning from Torah. Nobody would take one rabbi’s word as definitive, including Jesus’ – but his take would be balanced with others’, like Hillel balanced with Shammai, typifying soft or hard line interpreters.
In the company of his disciples, Jesus (according to Mark) ups the ante, by saying that serial monogamy, so common amongst us, is adultery. More significant his analysis applies equally to women and to men trying to shed their socio-economic burdens.
What’s your take on divorce? Why are others stricter against it, or more lenient toward it, than you are?
People are bringing children, and just like yesterday, we read it with a Victorian sentimentality. What did it mean to recognize and resist children, who were brought to be touched by the holy man?
The disciples are ‘stern’ and Jesus is ‘indignant’. What’s driving the emotion in this story? The social codes and mores may not be ours. Something, however, about the humility of being like a child is being affirmed…
After yesterday’s threats of hell to those who mess with others’ salvation, he’s more encouraging about one’s own childlike or childish progress in the faith. Who’s the 'he': Jesus or Mark?
He left that place
and went to the region of Judea
and beyond the Jordan.
And crowds again gathered around him;
and, as was his custom,
he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came,
and to test him they asked,
‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’
He answered them,
‘What did Moses command you?’
‘Moses allowed a man
to write a certificate of dismissal
and to divorce her.’
But Jesus said to them,
‘Because of your hardness of heart
he wrote this commandment for you.
But from the beginning of creation,
“God made them male and female.”
“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.”
So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined together,
let no one separate.’
Then in the house the disciples a
sked him again about this matter.
He said to them,
‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another
commits adultery against her;
and if she divorces her husband and marries another,
she commits adultery.’
People were bringing little children to him
in order that he might touch them;
and the disciples spoke sternly to them.
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.
Truly I tell you,
whoever does not receive the kingdom of God
as a little child
will never enter it.’
And he took them up in his arms,
laid his hands on them,
and blessed them.