Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 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’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 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
Have you ever had a conversation like this one where someone adamantly points to Old Testament law saying that God has spoken and has settled a matter? Such is the place that Jesus finds himself in this passage. The religious leaders, of all people, are defending a man's (interesting to note that a woman did not have this right) right to divorce his wife. Jesus points them back to the garden and the way that marriage is meant to be.
Does this passage cause you to wonder if other things were allowed because of the hardness of people's hearts? Jesus describes this idea in more detail in the sermon on the mount when he speaks of hard hearts that hate, lust and covet. In that sermon, and here, Jesus appeals to the heart of issues. He speaks to us about hard hearts that run to the letter of the law instead of the heart of it. And maybe the heart is the real issue when it comes to divorce and like matters?
Help me Lord to keep my heart soft and tender.