I had to do it. As much as I wanted to avoid it because of all the controversy surrounding it, I didn't feel I'd be doing right by the church to preach through Matthew but avoid this topic for my sake.
So we put it on the preaching schedule--Matthew 19:1-12, Divorce and Remarriage.
I preached what I found in the text. And as you might imagine, I preached a non-traditional interpretation of the topic.
Yes, Jesus provides an understanding about marriage and divorce. But no, he's not talking to people considering divorce. And he's not even really talking about divorce--he's actually being challenged about a point of law by the Pharisees...who are there to "test" him!
Jesus' prohibition about remarriage after divorce is cultural and clearly intended to protect, help, and benefit women. I daresay he would answer differently today, enlarging his "prohibitions" and applying them both to men and women, and laying the smack down to those who would hypocritically try to apply his teaching to benefit themselves.
The problem is when we take this scene, which has very little information, and create a universal, timeless doctrine by which we can measure others' lives. Jesus was clearly concerned about relational integrity, which is why he reminded them of the way it was in the beginning.
One of the things I pointed out was, if you were nowhere to be found while a couple went through marital problems to the point where things broke down into a divorce, you sure don't have the right to label their divorce (or them) as "scriptural" or "unscriptural."
This is not one of my best delivered sermons. I was very nervous and went "off script." But it's one of my more passionate sermons. Please listen, and leave some feedback.
Sermon: Divorce and Remarriage