Please read Matthew 19:3-15, Mark 10:2-16,
Luke 16:16-18, 17:1-10, 18:15-17
“The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:16-17 NKJV
“Up to the time of Yochanan there were the Torah and the Prophets. Since then the Good News of the Kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone is pushing to get in. But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter in the Torah to become void.” Luke 16:16-17 CJB
The word for ‘tittle’ is keraia, the tip or horn of a letter, the smallest stroke in a Hebrew letter, such as that which distinguishes ב from כ or ה from ח.
The Septuagint rendered the Hebrew ‘Torah‘ (תורה) by the Greek nomos (“Law”), probably in the sense of a living network of traditions and customs of a people. The designation of the Torah by nomos, and by its Latin successor lex (whence, “the Law”) has historically given rise to the misunderstanding that Torah means legalism. ‘Torah‘ (תורה) can also be translated as instruction, teaching, direction or guidance. The root, yod-resh-hey (ירה), originally meant to throw or shoot an arrow. The noun torah literally means to cause something (or someone) to move straight and true. The most prominent meaning of Torah for Jews is that it constitutes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, the five books of Moses, (also called the Pentateuch, ‘five books’ in Greek – Genesis (Bereshit), Exodus (Shemot), Leviticus (Va-yikra), Numbers (Bamidbar) and Deuteronomy (Devarim)). Sometimes the word Torah is used to refer to the whole Hebrew Bible (TaNaKh) which contains the books of Moses – Torah, the Prophets – Nevi’im (נביאים), and the Writings – Ketuvim (כתובים). Yeshua may well have been referring to the whole TaNaKh in Luke 16 when He spoke of “the law and the prophets“, not even the smallest part of which will become void or fail.
Yeshua made a distinction between the age of the law and the prophets and the age of the kingdom of God – this shift from one age to the next was marked by the ministry of Yochanan the baptiser. The end of the age of the law and prophets does not, however, mean an end to the value or necessity of such for God’s word is eternal.
God’s Law (the whole TaNaKh) is eternal and unbreaking. It never changes. It will not shift or realign itself to the opinions of men. We are wrong if we think that we can go up against God’s laws and win. We will lose. God is not mocked.
Luke continues with his download of Messiah’s teachings:
Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.” Luke 17:1-2 NASB
See also commentary on Matthew 18:1-7 @ Help Me in My Unbelief – Renewal Blog.
Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:3-4 NKJV
See also commentary on Matthew 18:15-20 @ What Love Looks Like – Renewal Blog
And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17:5-6 NKJV
The apostles thought it was more faith that they needed but Yeshua responded that they didn’t need much, the smallest amount of faith can overcome any obstacle.
“And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?
But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?
Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.
So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” Luke 17:7-10 NKJV
The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”
He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.” Matthew 19:3-12 NKJV
And some Pharisees came up to Jesus, testing Him, and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife.
And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
And they said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote for you this commandment. But 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; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
And in the house the disciples began questioning Him about this again.
And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if she herself divorces her husband and marries another man, she is committing adultery.” Mark 10:2-12 LSB
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.” Luke 16:18 LSB
His teaching had been clear on this (see Fulfilling Torah – Renewal Blog). But here in Peræa Judea, beyond the Jordan, in the territory of Herod Antipas and close to where he had imprisoned and beheaded Yohannan the immerser for calling him out on divorced the daughter of Aretas and marrying his brother’s wife, these pharisees asked him: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” He was more lenient than they with regards to all the added ceremony of the Oral Torah but demanded a much higher standard with regard to living out the love of God.
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
And He laid His hands on them and departed from there. Matthew 19:13-15 NKJV
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. Mark 10:13-16 LSB
People were also bringing babies to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them.
When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.
But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:15-17 NIV
Little children were brought to Yeshua, as to a man of extraordinary sanctity, whose prayer was supposed to have peculiar efficacy (John 9:31); as, in a similar way, children were also brought to the presidents of the synagogues in order that they might pray over them. The laying on of the hands (Genesis 48:14) was desired as a means of communicating the blessing prayed for (Acts 6:6). Yeshua honoured those who brought the children to Him and spent the time to meet their request, at the same time teaching His followers the need to be as a little child to enter His kingdom.
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4. —. New American Standard Bible. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, 2020.
5. Bible Commentaries. Luke 14:1. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 1st, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/14-1.htm.
6. Saunders, Maryanne. The Torah – Judaism, Sacred texts. British Library. [Online] September 23rd, 2019. https://www.bl.uk/sacred-texts/articles/the-torah#:~:text=Torah%20(%D7%AA%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%94)%20in%20Hebrew%20can,have%20been%20composed%20by%20Moses..
7. Freeman, Tzvi. What is Torah? A Comprehensive Overview. Chabad. [Online] [Cited: October 4th, 2023.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1426382/jewish/Torah.htm.
8. My Jewish Learning Editors. What Does ‘Torah’ Mean? My Jewish Learning. [Online] [Cited: October 4th, 2023.] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/what-does-the-word-torah-mean/.
9. Rabinowitz, Louis. Judaism: The Written Law – Torah. Jewish Virtual Library. [Online] [Cited: October 4th, 2023.] https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-written-law-torah.
10. Rich, Tracey R. Torah. Judaism 101. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://www.jewfaq.org/torah.
11. Commentaries. Matthew 19:13. Bible Hub. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/19-13.htm.
12. The Bible Says. Luke 16:16-17 meaning. The Bible Says. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://thebiblesays.com/commentary/luke/luke-16/luke-1616-17/#:~:text=The%20point%20Jesus%20seems%20to,You%20will%20lose..
13. Luke 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass,. Christ’s Words. [Online] [Cited: October 5th, 2023.] https://christswords.com/main/content/%C2%A0luke-1617%C2%A0and-it-easier-heaven-and-earth-pass.
In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…
* What does it mean that God’s law will not fail or become void?
* Why would Jesus give the same teachings at different times during His ministry?
* What is your understanding of Jesus’ teaching on divorce and how do you apply that in your church and community?
* How are children viewed and treated in your community?