Small Group Questions Week 48
The Gospel of Matthew
Week 48 – The Test of Marriage
In the passage that we covered last week, Peter asked Jesus a question about forgiveness. Namely,
did he (Peter) need to forgive his fellow Jew up to seven times? In that day, this would have been a generous
and magnanimous gesture. No one felt compelled to forgive a person that many times. Jesus’ response, of
course, set that notion on its ear. Essentially, Jesus let Peter know (and everyone else within earshot) that when
someone asks for forgiveness, he/she is to grant it as many times as asked.
Context: This week Jesus is confronted with a test by an elite religious sect. The Pharisees’ reputation was
holiness, righteousness, and obeying the Scriptures (as interpreted by the rabbis that preceded them). In short,
they ask Him a loaded question about divorce. Assumedly, they believe it will trip Him up and hurt His ministry.
Jesus sees through their charade, however, and reveals that it is their beliefs that are on shaky ground, not His.
• Have you personally been affected by divorce? If you are comfortable talking about it, share how it affected
• What is your experience with how divorce has been treated in the churches that you’ve been a part of? What
are your thoughts about why churches have such differing perspectives and practices about divorce?
• Why do you think the Pharisees are testing Jesus (v3)? What makes their question (“Is it lawful to divorce
one’s wife for any cause?”) a test?
• Jesus does not directly answer the Pharisees’ question. Why do you think He gives them the answer that He
does (v4-6)? In what ways is Jesus’ teaching on marriage still important for us today?
• Jesus quotes from the OT, “he who created them...made them male and female.” How would you respond
to someone today who claims that there are multiple genders and/or sexes?
• The Pharisees appear to double down on their testing of Jesus. Rather than agree with Him, they ask another
question, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” (v7).
Obviously, they believe they’ve one-upped Jesus’ response. Where did they go wrong?
• How does Jesus dismantle their second question (v8-9)? Why do you think Christians miss/disregard God’s
“one flesh” view of marriage today?
• What can we do to make sure that we are merciful to those who have divorced or are struggling with a
difficult marriage while at the same time remaining firm in the sanctity of the covenant of marriage?
• The disciples appear to jump to a wrong conclusion about Jesus’ teaching on divorce and marriage (they say
that it’s better not to marry). What is your understanding of Jesus’ response to them and how does it fit into
this topic of divorce and marriage?
Pray that we will honor the covenant of marriage and treat singleness with respect as is fitting in