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TEXT: Genesis2:18-25/Mark 10:2-16
CHRIST REMAINS FAITHFUL TO HIS CHILD-BRIDE!
Preached by Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old by the prophets.  But now in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son (Heb. 1:1, 2).  Dear hearers of the Word made flesh;

“From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let not man separate.”




TEXT: Genesis2:18-25/Mark 10:2-16
CHRIST REMAINS FAITHFUL TO HIS CHILD-BRIDE!
Preached by Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

In many and various ways God spoke to His people of old by the prophets.  But now in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son (Heb. 1:1, 2).  Dear hearers of the Word made flesh;

“From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let not man separate.”


The world and mankind did not evolve by chance – that is a satanic fairy tale widely used to abuse our children as if it was true.  We are created by God – you are His handiwork!  From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’  He made Adam from the dust in the image of God and breathed life into him – a totally unique creation.  Eve He built from the rib of Adam – also in the image of God.  The Hebrew word used to describe her formation “built” – is used nowhere else in the creation account – a totally unique creation. 

Yet these totally unique creations in the image of God were made for each other.  Man was not complete without one who was like his opposite – fit for him.  In a manner that was not random or accidental – in a manner that implied no inferiority – God built a helper – an assistant – an ally who was like his opposite.  You’ve heard the saying, “opposites attract”.  In Eden, the attraction of opposites was that of the “perfect couple”.  Ideally suited – fully compatible – this bride and groom were unstained by sin!  When the uniquely created, fully equal, but not-at-all-identical “built” one was brought to Adam, his response rings out with excited fulfillment that “Whoa!” might help describe.  “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 

Notice how Jesus twice emphasizes the one flesh nature of marriage as He refers back to creation.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together let not man separate.”  What was separated from the side of Adam in building Eve was reunited in the marriage given to them by God.  Their union in Eden was perfect - with God and with one another.  There was no separateness because there was no sin.  And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

How mightily God’s gift of marriage is under assault today!  The assault often sounds intellectually caring and spiritual.  Witness the recent decision of the ELCA.  The assault is often carefree and couched in humor.  Witness a late-night comedian who mocks the faithful marriages and families of others and now jokes about the “terrible things” he has done in sexual immorality with women employees to laughter and applause.  Some will attack marriage even more by making a joke of him.  Others will attack marriage even more by trying to make him a hero or martyr.  But such attacks against God’s gift of marriage are all around us – in the culture – in the schools – in Hollywood – even in the external pale of the Christian Church – and they are within us – in our own sinful nature. 

It is a “terrible thing” when anyone assaults God’s gift of marriage with humor or with lust or with attempted redefinitions of His gift.  Do not be deceived by him who masquerades as an angel of light.  “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ – not male and male – for homosexuality – not female and female for lesbianism.  These, Scripture reveals, are unnatural and sinful perversions of what God has created.  “From the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh… Neither did God create male and female to imitate this one flesh relationship in temporary arrangements or to test it out before the total commitment of marriage.  As Scripture says, “let marriage be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure.” (Heb 13:4).

We are to speak the truth in love in these matters, also about the permanence of marriage.  What therefore God has joined together let not man separate.”  From the beginning of creation God did not create marriage as a temporary partnership to be dissolved by the will of man.  This was the question of the Pharisees as they tested Jesus.  “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” They were looking for loopholes and they were looking to turn popular opinion against Jesus.

The conservative rabbis in Jesus’ day, (from the house of Shammai) taught that divorce could take place only for reasons of immorality.  The liberal rabbis (from the house of Hillel) taught that a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason.  Jesus’ answer cut through their legal wrangling and returned to the original gift of the Creator.  His answer also brushed aside Moses as a hiding place.  The certificate of divorce Moses had commanded did not condone divorce.  It was done to protect the wife and give her some standing after the husband cast her aside.  Jesus said it was because of their sclerosis (hardening) of heart that Moses gave this commandment.  What they thought justified their actions Jesus used to condemn their actions. 

In the house, Jesus’ continued teaching His disciples in private.  “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”  Political law in Israel permitted a man to set aside his wife for almost any reason.  Roman and Greek law also permitted a wife to set aside her husband.  Jesus’ answer does neither.  Jesus’ answer rather elevates God’s gift of marriage and the status of the wife based on the Creator’s original intention for two who become one flesh.


God’s giving and man and woman’s receiving is the basis for marriage.  It is His gift to husband and wife.  It is the closest communion possible for two human beings – emotionally, physically and spiritually.  It is a closed communion – not to be messed with by another - What God has joined together, let not man separate.  It is the proper and joyful and God-pleasing communion for sexual love.  It is a lifelong union in which husband and wife can be completely open to each other without fear of one or the other leaving.  For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer. The only thing closer than the unique “one flesh” relationship of husband and wife is the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church – between Christ and you.

The Pharisees were looking for loopholes but Jesus gave them the law with no quarter.  To this day, His words are hard-hitting.  God’s will for His gift of marriage is “until death parts us”.  It is a holy estate blessed by God in Paradise before humanity’s fall into sin.  It is not ours to modify as we might like even though sin now affects every marriage.  It is hard work, forgiving work, life-long work.  It is just as much or more about being the right person in Christ as finding the right person in Christ.  How important it is to ask God to keep on making you into the right person through repentance and forgiveness.  How important it is to really know the person you are marrying and the family you are marrying into.  How important it is to take time and care and conversation before receiving God’s gift of marriage.  What a treasure it is to share the same faith in Jesus Christ and be able to pray and worship and commune together. 

And how we fail!  Husbands fail to lay down their lives for their wives, loving them like Christ loved the Church.  Wives fail to order their lives in line with their husbands as Christ ordered His life with the Father’s will.  And even among Christians, the separation and pain of divorce are sometimes felt.  If there was no sin between husband and wife there would be no failure to please, no fault-finding, no fluctuating emotions, no fading commitment and no divorce.  But sin is ever present and there are no legitimate loopholes in God’s law.  Trying to excuse our sin, justifying our hardness of heart, only intensifies the sclerosis.

Our only hope is what Mark records next in the ministry of Jesus.  Thank God for the beautiful scene he then reports.  And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them…Jesus…said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

What God would have us sinners do is what a little child does when he or she breaks something valuable and fragile in the home.  When it’s clear to all what has happened, the little one may bury their tearful face in their parent’s lap and sob “I’m sorry” – “I didn’t mean to break it, but I did”.  Setting the broken pieces before their father and mother they can only plead for mercy – and that’s what they receive.  Taking the remorseful child in their arms and laying their hands on the child the parents don’t extract revenge but forgive.

The words Jesus speaks in our midst about marriage today are no less hard-hitting than on the day He first spoke them.  They show us the brokenness of our hearts and our lives.  We can only gather up the pieces and place them before our heavenly Father in confession and say, “I’m sorry – I broke it”.  No loopholes, no excuses, no passing the blame, no rewriting Jesus’ words.  We can only keep on burying the mess in Jesus’ death, drowning it in Baptism, and receiving the cleansing that comes by way of Jesus’ blood.

Dear Christians, the Lamb of God gave His life for us all, the married, the single, the divorced, little children!  Remember how He sheltered the woman caught in adultery from her stone-throwing accusers and absolved here and sent her on her way to sin no more?  Remember how he extended mercy to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well five times married – and redirected her life?  He is the source of forgiveness for husband and wife – He softens hearts – He mediates between them.  He is the source of help and new life for you whatever your past has been and whatever your station now is.

You see, Jesus left His Father to cleave to us.  Knit together in Mary’s womb he became bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.  Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14).  Christ the groom had legal reason to divorce His Bride (The Church).  But that’s not what He did.  Jesus did not come to file for divorce but to lay down His life for His Bride.  He came to cleanse her by the washing of the water with the Word and present her to Himself a glorious Bride without spot or wrinkle or blemish (Eph 5:25-27).

Now, in one sense you are His child-Bride – whether single or married or divorced or remarried.  Notice how the only ones who get it right in the tenth chapter of Mark are the little children.  Only the little ones get blessed by Jesus.  They don’t come to test Jesus or to find fault with His teaching or looking for legal loopholes.  They don’t come thinking they have kept His commandments and looking down their noses at others.  These little ones are the ones whom Jesus lays His hands upon and blesses. 

Beloved the heavenly Bridegroom comes in His feast of love to bless you – His little one - this morning.  He has no intention of letting you go or putting you aside.  He comes once again to join Himself with you; to commune with you, His beautiful, spotless, blameless Bride.  What God has joined together in the flesh of Christ let not man separate.  In the Name of Jesus, Amen.