Once again, the Pharisees seem to think that man began with multiple wives and harems, and that Moses’ law moved him towards a more perfect knowledge of the complexities and impossibilities of marriage and divorce and adultery. But Jesus says, “Actually, no. Marriage was possible, and perfect, and perfectly understood between God and man and woman at the beginning. Moses’ law only came at the end of mankind’s long crepitant movement away from perfection; from what God had made possible and you made impossible. Your hardened hearts required complex etchings of symbols on stone for laws that, in ages long past, had been easily stitched on softer hearts.”
It is like Jesus is saying, “You know... you don’t have to get married.“
Or, “You know...you could castrate yourselves.“
And strangely I can not really imagine saying the former anymore than I can the latter to either my children or anyone upon whom that was not already forced. It disturbs my sensibilities. And just as much as a man in 36 AD would have found it, we today find it disturbing to the point of not comprehending it.
It’s like man has this deep sense of a covenant relationship with the other; of a blood bond that’s somehow both one time and eternal with another. A sense that a bridegroom is not merely a bridegroom of brains or brawn, but a bridegroom of blood. And then society, which almost by definition is mankind’s deep sense of things in aggregate and brought to the surface, brings them so much to the surface that they become superficial, and the deep sense of things is lost. And then over time, what’s on the surface has growth, but it is a stagnant kind of growth. And what occurs is a kind of curdling, which man can enjoy but it is a necessarily spoilt enjoyment because of the effort required and because it is an acquired taste. But the exact point is that all of this has lost the freshness of milk, which is one thing made of many parts but it is one thing, and it is most clearly one thing at the beginning.
So as society develops into something thought and talked about, it corrupts marriage because it corrupts everything it touches; corrupts it in direct proportion to how long it has handled it; which is not far from saying: in direct proportion to its legality. But Jesus says marriage is, and always has been, either one time and one life—or it’s adultery, which is a sawing and a bloody hacking and a self-mutilation of one body. And so, if you are unable to commit to the oneness that is not merely required by marriage but is marriage itself, then it IS possible to sever the sense and choose voluntarily, in the sense of castration, separation from this idea from the beginning for the sake of oneness with God.
There’s a difference between a hopeless hurting and a hopeful hurting. One’s darkness is complete. The other has a star or a moon or a distant glow on the horizon. A birth.
Jesus’ particular humanness changed religion from an impossible thing that man knows is impossible; to a thing that is possible that man knows is possible.
If you’re going to find a thing then you better know exactly what you’re looking for or, one: you’ll miss it; or two: you’ll think you’ve found it and stop looking.
But what if you don’t exactly know what you are looking for? Then you must be open to the possibility that it is you who will be found by it. And so your searching must be one of readiness and humility. Life is a seeking and a finding.
To be engulfed in the unknown is to have just as much of an improper or no relationship with it or to it, as to be completely separated from it by staying only inside what is known. To be engulfed in the unknown is to be completely submerged, crushed and dissipated in it, which is to be completely controlled by it. It is essentially to be nothing in relation to it. Rather to face it in love and make contact with it and sail it or walk on it is to calm it, even to control the uncontrollable. To turn toward the tidal wave of the unknown is to shrink it and discover something: you were made for this.
It is one of the great oddities of New Testament scripture that Jesus already knows what the Pharisees are thinking, but is amazed and surprised by what a Canaanite woman or a Roman soldier thinks. One is “ye of little faith!” and the other “ye of great faith!”
Often Jesus is disappointed or angry at man’s unfaithfulness; but he never seems truly surprised, in the sense of being amazed. But God himself will stop in his tracks in utter amazement at a faithful heart.
The biggest risk to a person of faith and religion is to walk into the trap of the rationalist. One with the same walls and bars as his peers. Walls made of rationalism and materialism; high, unreachable windows barred with adamantine determinism. Caught in the complex gears of a machine rather than strolling in the simple daylight of a miracle.
The biggest risk to a law abiding person is to no longer abide in the law, but die in it.
The biggest risk for the Christian is to no longer bear his cross but buck against it.
It’s one of those things that's easy to say in your heart but harder in your living room and certainly more so in your lunchroom. Loving your enemy is not a peaceful thing to do. Or rather, it’s a peaceful thing to do to your enemy, but watch out what it does to your friends and family. Watch what it does to your church.
“Do you suppose I bring peace? “
“If you had known what ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’ meant, you would not have condemned the innocent (for desecrating the sabbath).
For the son of man is the lord of the sabbath.”
If my body is the temple in which God rests, then I, as a humble conscious mind and spirit, am also a priest whose dining among the consecration are acts of innocence—I am a walking sabbath. In a sense, I am always on sabbatical.
Saul didn’t know what “I desire mercy, not sacrifice meant” as he happily watched Stephen get stoned.
The Pharisees didn’t know either with the adulterer, the grain pickers, the tax collectors and sinners—those who Christ called the “sick” and the “hungry” and the “unrighteous.” He says the sinners are innocent—what?—and not to be judged or condemned, but rather healed and fed.
As Christ roamed the Palestinian countryside, the ones he consistently condemned were healthy, wealthy and wise; the full and the righteous.
Judgment and innocence.
Christ sees the case against man one way. Man sees the case against man the opposite. Christ sees man as a defendant for whom he is the defense attorney. Man sees man as a guilty criminal in need of condemnation. When Christ turns to look at the Pharisee (the elite, righteous, intelligent, mature, the enlightened) he sees a prosecuting attorney pointing his finger at the innocent. He sees the devil, the adversary of existence, the great prosecutor making the case for Hell.