September 29, 2016

Matthew 19:13 Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

The implication from the text that we have is that this happened immediately after Jesus had given His definitive teaching on divorce. We have to wonder whether the mothers (presumably) who brought the children had heard what Jesus said, and that was part of their motivation. We have trouble grasping the social context of the day, but what is coming out about Islam should give us some insight. It is taught, and legally practiced in some Islamic countries, that all a man has to do to get rid of his wife is to say, “I divorce you,” three times, and it is done. We have to realize the context of the question in verse 3, “for any and every reason.” There were some teachers in that day who said that burning breakfast was sufficient reason to divorce a wife! Jesus’ response gave both partners equal dignity, and that was revolutionary. Any wife who heard that would quite understandably have wanted Jesus’ blessing on her children! In a marriage where the husband fails to cherish his wife properly, she has no emotional sup­port for her self-image other than her children. We see that around us all the time. That’s why such women place their children ahead of their husband in their priorities about almost everything. The women here may well have been thinking, “I don’t know when my husband may try to divorce me, so Jesus, bless my children!” The devil hates marriage and intact families, as is very obvious in the world today, so standing up for the Biblical description of marriage and family is a major way of resisting the devil and destroying his works. (James 4:7, 1 John 3:8)

One ministry the Lord has given me has been marriage counseling and weddings, so this is an issue I think and talk about a lot. I have been blessed with a magnificent marriage, but that hasn’t been a very strong shield even for my own children. Every generation has to deal with this for themselves. Unfortunately, the majority of young people lack the spiritual maturity to seek and follow God’s prescription, and so bring lots of unnecessary grief on themselves. Parents need to be clearer and more open about their own marriage with their children. I don’t know that my own parents were as clear as they should have been, seeing my siblings, and I know I wasn’t sufficiently clear with my own children. All the passages about transmitting God’s Word to succeeding generations aren’t just blowing smoke! As I teach on marriage and family I have no room for pride, but Cathy’s and my relationship is noticed and held in awe by many who know us. I am to be fully grateful, and be consistent in speaking the truth in love as the Lord gives opportunity, so that I may indeed destroy the devil’s work and be an agent of God’s kingdom.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Many things on this trip have been reminders of what the devil is doing to tear down families. May I be fully submitted to You so that I may be fully effective as Your agent in proclaiming and establishing Your truth, so that many may be set free from the devil’s lies, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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