English Standard Version, David Cochran Audio Bible
1 Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2 And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there.
3 And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?" 4 He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." 7 They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?" 8 He said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery." [Some manuscripts add and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery; other manuscripts except for sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.]
10 The disciples said to him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."
Last Supper, painted by Jappo Bassano (b. 1515, Italian, d. 1592)
11 But he said to them, "Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it."13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Latin traditor, from tradere to hand over, deliver, betray. The Roman Emperor Valerian (his photo on the his coin below, c. 253–260 A.D.) did the best he could to destroy all New Testament Scripture. The early traditions of the Church say the word traitor originated with the clergy and lay people tortured to hand over any Scripture to the Emperor and worship him. It became one of the first heresies of the Church saying the traitors were not to be forgiven, the clergy and Church worked on forgiveness during a time of death for worshiping Jesus Christ.
Still... isn't it interesting how the disciples weren't meek Sunday School lambs accepting all of Jesus' words with halos and earnest expressions. And add more interesting to it, the next words from Jesus are Him spending time with loving children. Perhaps Jesus felt a need for fresh air when He went to the Children. It is a fascinating combination of parables.
Consider - Jesus is indeed preaching to the Choir. If the DISCIPLES are not thrilled with hearing divorce isn't Las Vegas style, then who today will cheer about the commitment of marriage. In Europe and in the United States, there are many, many marriages never made because children are increasingly born out of wedlock.
What Jesus is saying is something we should practice as Children of God. When we say to our spouse, we are saying to our children and our family - you matter to me in more ways than my moment to moment happiness. When I ask myself, "How am I?" I have a very satisfying answer - I am building the futures of my children that will effect my grandchildren and, very possibly, my great-grandchildren. I am building up my spouse. And the good news goes further to say - I am building up myself.
I know this from living it - my dad chose to be happy and left us. And I mean left us. We did not know where he lived as the divorce proceedings took place. We knew where he worked and his attorney had contact, but we were not supposed to contact him. It has effected the way my mother values my children and my brother's children. It has effected the way we value my mom and she values us. One of the consequences of being a divorced family, the married families' traditions are much more important than the split family divorced one's from the past. My mom went to the funeral of an old, old friend yesterday to find the married families still remain close. Not the single spouse.
But the old friend had many job losses. Many failed business adventures. People joked about the old friend and said he had some ways that were foolish and feeble almost all his life. But the old friend had many, many old friends arrive - not to applaud his worldly success. But people cried. For their friend and the loss of his kindness. For the husband. For their dad. For their father-in-law. He was a man who built others up. I am today comparing this funeral to the one I went to where the man was a 90 year old business success without one tear for him.
So... again.... it is very interesting Jesus chose to go to the Children next.
Our minister Clark Lowenfield says in his sermons - that people come up to him to say - but you don't know my spouse. The troubled marriages who agree they are to remain together for life - find in 5 years they report - it is a good marriage again. Stick with it. God knows.