Scripture: Matthew 5:31-32
Reflection: Jesus is on to some of these guys. They knew adultery was wrong, but they still wanted to have sex outside of their marriage. In the previous verse Jesus exposed their hearts and went inward. Now Jesus goes the other way and deals with sexual sin within their social practices.
They were using a seeming loophole in divorce law in order to have a different woman. It was a sort of serial monogamy running under cover of divorce law. Jesus totally busts them on this one. In essence Jesus tells them that this practice of divorce and remarriage does not get around the sin of adultery. In fact, it is promoting it. When you use divorce as a way to go from one woman to the next, then you are committing adultery, the very thing you are using legal cover to back up that you are not doing.
The take away message here is not specifics about how divorce and remarriage should happen in our modern day context. The important issues of domestic violence, threats, oppression, and addiction are not what Jesus is addressing here. He was confronting a specific practice. The principle here is that people when take legal cover to get away with their selfishness, evils desires, and sin it does not actually make it any less selfish, evil, or sinful. Using legal cover does not change a person’s heart and does not change the pain that can be caused to another person. Tapping into a legal narrative may seem to give legitimacy to a practice or behavior, but it doesn’t. There are laws higher than humans laws. There are principles, that transcend anything that can be articulated in human language.