Jesus’ view of marriage is incomprehensible to the Western mind. But incomprehensible or not, it is better than your understanding of marriage, better than mine and better than any human being who ever lived or will live. Better and right. It is the only way of marriage that maximally supports human flourishing. And yet, its number one purpose is aimed at the glory of God. Astounding!
Everything Jesus teaches is good news. Our problem is that we don’t recognize it as such. I was reminded of that today when I was rereading a book in preparation for some premarital counseling I am doing with a couple I really love. One of the great things about this particular book is that it draws together some great quotes from Bonhoeffer that bears on marriage. The quote below comes from page 20.
“When Jesus gave a glimpse of the magnificent view of marriage that God willed for his people, the disciples said to him ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry’ (Matt. 19:10). In other words, Christ’s vision of the meaning of marriage was so enormously different from the disciples’, they could not even imagine it to be a good thing. That such a vision could be good news was simply outside their categories.
If that was the case then—in the sober, Jewish world in which they lived—how much more will the magnificence of marriage in the mind of God seem unintelligible in a modern Western culture, where the main idol is self; and its main doctrine is autonomy; and its central act of worship is being entertained; and its three main shrines are the television, the Internet, and the cinema; ant its most sacred genuflection is the uninhibited act of sexual intercourse. Such a culture will find the glory of marriage in the mind of Jesus virtually incomprehensible.”
Incomprehensible, maybe, but glorious and wonderful in experience. Jesus always has the best idea on any subject.