Jesus next turns to the matter of divorce. Do you suppose it is a coincidence that Jesus moves from adultery directly to a teaching on divorce? Jesus teaches more on divorce in chapter 19. But to whet our appetites a bit, here’s a big but about it from that passage, where Jesus said it’s crucial to recall God’s intent and design for marriage as He instituted it: They are no longer two, but one. In Jesus’ day, a certificate of divorce could be issued for practically any dissatisfaction on the part of a husband—“You burned the toast, woman? Away with you!” But there is far more than legal expediency to be considered. As God instituted marriage, He didn’t envision it being undone on a whim. When a couple covenanted with one another, when they spoke their marital vows, it was two becoming one. If you try to divide one you leave it horribly injured, or worse.
And what of the vows we make? Of oaths, Jesus continued, the law mandates that they be upheld. Don’t break your oath, but keep it. This is of fundamental importance in any civilized society. Covenants, contracts, obligations and agreements make the world go round. When someone is thought to be in breach of their word, things grind to a halt. Just look at court dockets across America. Were you to sit in on some of that litigation you would hear lawyers arguing the finer points of law. Who is right? Who is wrong? Jesus weighs in, but I tell you that it’s not a matter of what the finer points are; it’s not a matter of whether you swore on your Bible, in the name of your God, or over your dear mother’s grave. Jesus argued: Simply—don’t miss the word simply—let your yes be yes and your no, no. What should it look like to be a follower of Christ? Honesty. Integrity. Consistency. If I were to jump up on the preaching stump for a moment, I’d note that no complaint against Christianity sounds louder and more often than that of hypocrisy. I’ve heard more tales of people who profess Christian faith, yet don’t pay their bills, renege on promises, and walk away from obligations. You have heard it too. It shouldn’t be. Our word should be our bond. Our faithfulness to our word should be evident to all.
AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER FIVE, BIG BUTS OF THE BIBLE: A REVEALING LOOK AT JESUS CHRIST