In the Beginning Was No Divorce
Readers Theater, Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-11

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

Part of a study on the Sermon on the Mount

READER 1 Some Pharisees came to Jesus to test him.
READER 3 Trick
READER 4 Get him into trouble.
READER 1 They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
READER 2 Get him to take a position.
READER 3 Get him to stick his neck out on a controversial subject.
READER 4 Then turn the people against him.
READER 2 Test him.
READER 3 Trick him.
READER 1 "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'
READER 2 Male and female
READER 3 Woman and man.
READER 4 At the beginning.
READER 3 In the beginning.
READER 1 And God said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?
READER 2 One flesh.
READER 3 The two shall be come one.
READER 4 The two shall become one flesh.
READER 2 United.
READER 3 The man united to his wife.
READER 4 The wife united to her husband.
READER 2 The two become one.
READER 3 One flesh.
READER 1 So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
READER 2 Let not man divide.
READER 3 Put asunder.
READER 4 Split up.
READER 1 "Why then," asked the Pharisees, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
READER 2 Command? What's this command?
READER 3 Well, then, "allow," "permit."
READER 4 Allow, permit.
READER 2 With a certificate.
READER 3 A legal paper
READER 4 Legally ending the marriage
READER 2 And allowing both parties to remarry.
READER 1 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
READER 3 In the beginning it was not so.
READER 4 No, in the beginning God desired the two to become one.
READER 2 One flesh.
READER 3 In the beginning it was not so.
READER 4 But because of your hardness of heart.
READER 2 Because of your sinfulness and selfishness.
READER 3 Because of you always had to be right
READER 4 Right, if not truly righteous
READER 2 Moses permitted divorce
READER 3 Permitted
READER 4 For your hardness of heart.
READER 1 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
READER 2 That's hard.
READER 3 Difficult.
READER 4 Hard for us, that is.
READER 2 Hard for us hard-hearted people.
READER 1 The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
READER 2 It's too hard.
READER 3 It's too rigid.
READER 4 It's better not to marry.
READER 1 Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given."
READER 2 We can't accept it.
READER 3 Few can.
READER 4 Our hearts are hard.
READER 2 But in the beginning it was not so.
READER 3 In the beginning God made them one flesh
READER 4 And intended them to remain together.
READER 2 Love is the key to marriage.
READER 3 Not just the ooshy-gooshy love
READER 4 Not just romantic love
READER 2 Or erotic love.
READER 3 But agape love
READER 4 Self-giving love
READER 2 Love inspired by the Spirit of God
READER 3 Love inspired by the presence of Jesus
READER 1 Not everyone can accept this word
READER 2 Not everyone can receive it
READER 3 But love is the antidote to divorce
READER 4 Love is the fulfilling of the Law.
READER 2 That loves a neighbor as one's self
READER 3 That loves a husband
ALL As one's self
READER 4 That loves a wife
ALL As one's self
READER 2 Love can do it.
READER 3 Love can bring us back full circle.
READER 4 Back to the beginning
READER 1 Where the two shall become one
READER 2 Shall remain one
ALL In the presence of their God.

All lessons now compiled as a 220-page book available as an e-book or printed book.

Part of a study on the Sermon on the Mount found at

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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