The Family Relation
Mark 10:2-12
And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.…

One of the most pathetic incidents found in the narrative of one of the arctic explorations, is that of the attempt made to induce a native of that terribly inhospitable region to journey away with the returning navigators to a more sunny clime. Won by the enthusiastic descriptions of a land of orchards and meadows, of purling brooks and singing birds, he did indeed surrender himself to go. But hardly were they on the way out from among those mountain bergs of ice and dismal fields of snow, directing their course towards the latitudes where the blue tops of distant hills told of freshening verdure, before they missed their simple-hearted comrade. He had gone back clandestinely to the cheerless scenes of his former life. Cold and uninviting to a stranger, those northern solitudes were welcome to him because they had been his home ever since he was born. We smile at his simplicity, but how quickly, after all, do we give him our sympathy in the feeling! We love our homes unaffectedly and almost illogically at times; not because they in every case are better than others, but because they are ours.

I. The family is a DIVINE INSTITUTION. We are not left to look upon it as a chance arrangement of individuals of the human species; it is a definitely fixed form of association.

1. It was ordained by the Creator himself when the race began (see Mark 10:6; Genesis 2:18-25). This order therefore cannot be changed irreverently, nor disturbed without peril.

2. It has been recognized all along the ages by the providence of God. When David (Psalm 68:6) says: "God setteth the solitary in families," a more literal and more pertinent translation would give us this: "God maketh the lonely to dwell in a home." The all-wise Creator has provided in the wide adaptations of nature for an abode of its own sort for every creature of His hand. He has set the coney in the rock, the ant in the sand, the fish in the river, and the whale in the sea; but to no one of them all has He given a home but to man.

3. It has been sanctioned by God in His Word (see Mark 10:7-9).

4. It has been symbolized and spiritualized in the Church (see Ephesians 3:15). And the relation between Christ and His people is like that between a husband and wife (see Ephesians 5:22-32). John saw the Church, "the bride, the Lamb's wife," descending out of heaven, "having the glory of God" (Revelation 21:9, 10).

II. The family is A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION. That is to say, it has a distinct and valuable purpose to serve in aiding men to glorify God and enjoy Him forever as their chief end.

1. It is designed to perfect Christian character. The relations of a believer to his Saviour are essentially filial. The saints are the children of God. The Almighty Father, taking upon Himself the three obligations of a parent — government, education, and support — calls upon each Christian for the three duties of a son — subordination, studiousness, and grateful love. Hence, all our celestial connections with God are most perfectly and easily taught through our earthly connections with each other in a well-ordered home.

2. Again: the family relation is designed to concentrate Christian power. For it is the earliest outflow into practical use of the principle that in union there is strength.

3. In the third place, the family relation is designed to cultivate the Christian spirit. There ought to be in all organizations which are worth anything what the French people call esprit de corps; a peculiar, pervading tone of public sentiment and opinion, full of a generous confidence and pride, running through all its members. Each soldier feels his connection with the company to which he owes allegiance, thence with the regiment, and so with the entire corps. He is jealous of its honour, he is zealous for its name.

4. Once more: the family relation is designed to increase the Christian census. Children belong to the kingdom of God (see Mark 10:14).

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.

WEB: Pharisees came to him testing him, and asked him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

Top of Page
Top of Page