Having come from Capernaum in Mark chapter nine all the way to the ‘region of Judea beyond Jordan’ is a long trip but the first verse of chapter ten of Mark brings us there in short order. We are also told in that verse “crowds gathered to him again. And again, as was his custom, he taught them.” I am so grateful that Jesus was always about the business of bringing the word of God to people. “Again” v.1 tells us “he taught them.” Again and again Jesus brought the message that he had come to bring to those who needed to hear it. Are we not called to the same task?
This is just a side note that I feel like I have to include here by way of illustration. While children, I have found, have short attention spans, Adults are worse. Not only that, but they are much more likely to try to submarine what you are saying in your lesson if you’re hitting to close to home. They will rationalize their actions and activities. What I mean is that they will interrupt with a question custom made to deviate, derail, or otherwise cause you change the subject. Jesus was continually interupted with questions. Vital questions the answers to which we are still not understanding.
“Is it lawful,” the Pharisees ask Jesus in v2 “For a man to divorce his wife?” He knows their game. They’ve been trying to catch him in some contrived denial or abrogation of the law so that they could trap him in his own words. But he knows their game and asks them what Moses “commanded.” Good Pharisees that they were they answered with their Sunday School answer—rather, what one would expect of a line-toeing Pharisee. “Moses” they said—probably standing up straighter so they could properly quote him—allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” (v.4) Paper, we see, trumps the word of God in the world for the world is always looking for a new out, a new way to slide around the precepts of God’s word. “Is it true God said…” comes the devil’s reply to our sighing under the ‘restrictions’ of the Bible. Looking for a way to get around those things we read there we often answer when we should flee.
“Moses did it” Jesus tells them “because of your hardness of heart.” Matthew 19:10, describing the same scene, says “The disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.'” I know it was a long trip from Capernaum but surely they haven’t forgotten that thing about the ‘salt’ from chapter nine verse fifty. You know, “Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
But we see that they have and Jesus has to explain himself—again.