The main theme of this section of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, comprised of the second half of Matthew chapter 5, is that of righteousness. Jesus introduces this theme in verses 17-20 where He proclaims that He has fulfilled the Law of Moses so that only a righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees will qualify one for the kingdom of heaven. Jesus continues by illustrating what this righteousness looks like by following the general formula of: (1) Stating the Old Testament commandment; (2) Declaring His authoritative intensification of the commandment; and (3) Giving applicatory steps to obey the commandment. This week we will examine the third of these six commands where Jesus deals quite forcefully with divorce.
The Bible refers to human marriage as a mystery which God uses to illustrate the most magnificent eternal truths. And here in our text, Jesus protects the sanctity of marriage by authoritatively intensifying the commandment against adultery and divorce.