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The Sermon on the Mount #7 - Divorce & Remarriage

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The Sermon on the Mount #7:

Divorce & Remarriage


Text: Matt. 5.31-32

Thesis: To stress the sanctity of marriage and suggest ways to avoid divorce.


(1)    Today, the divorce rate is estimated to be around 50 percent.

(2)    Needless to day, this figure is unbelievably high and may also explain why this   topic is considered so controversial today.

(3)    However, this topic was just as equally controversial in Jesus’ day as the divorce rate was unbelievably high as well.

(4)    Even the reasons for divorce were out of hand as the majority had adopted the view of Rabbi Hillel who taught that the “indecent” of Deut. 24 included things such as spoiling the dinner, “walking around with her hair down, speaking to men in the streets, or speaking disrespectfully of her husband’s parents in his presence” (R. Kent Hughes, The Sermon on the Mount 114).

(5)    In His teaching about marriage, divorce & remarriage (Matt. 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18), Jesus pointed everyone back to God’s original intent of marriage and cautioned people to think very seriously before getting a divorce, only allowing remarriage, for the one initiating the divorce, in cases of marital unfaithfulness (Matt. 19:9).

(6)    Let us note Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount and make some suggestions on how to improve and marriages and avoid divorce.


I.                   The Text:

A.    In verse 31, Jesus refers to Deut. 24:1-4.

1.      As already discussed, the meaning of the “indecent” was hotly debated with Rabbi Hillel teaching that it included about anything and Rabbi Shammai teaching that it only included sexual unfaithfulness.

2.      Basically, the Jews were only concerning themselves with the certificate even though the text had so much more to say.

B.     In verse 32, Jesus turns his attention to the husbands and encourages them to think seriously about the consequences of divorcing their wives for reasons other than sexual unfaithfulness. (2 Views)

1.      The divorce in the first century virtually assured a woman of abject poverty and her only alternative would be to remarry; thus, becoming an adulteress.

2.      A man divorcing his wife without fornication on her part is causing her to break the marriage covenant when she doesn’t want to do so (also, stigmatizing her as an adulteress).

II.                The Application:

A.    Divorce is not something that should be taken lightly.

1.      E.g., Mal. 2:16 – “I hate divorce”

2.      However, I would stress that God still loves the divorced, just not the divorce itself.

B.     One must think of others before he/she gets a divorce.

C.     One should do everything humanly possible in order to save the marriage.


(1)   Marriage is a sacred union that was established by God (Gen. 2:18-25).

(2)   Let us always uphold the sanctity of this union and do our part to be the best husband or wife that we can possibly be.

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