Monday, July 4, 2016

Marriage or celibacy: know your Calling and walk accordingly

A reflection on Matthew, Chapter 19

Before we even start reflecting on the beginning of Matthew, chapter 19, I'd like to remind everybody about the importance of knowing WHO Yeshua is. A lot of people might object : « we already know, He is our Lord and Savior, and this is all we need to know. » 
Many people do have a very vague and distorted knowledge of Scriptures.
Does it matter that Yeshua was born of a Jewish lady, in the town of Bethlehem (Beth Lehem) , in Israel ? 
In these times, a lot people think that, Yeshua being raised a Jew and in obedience of Torah are details of little importance... Let me tell you: yes, these elements DO matter-and even more than you could think.

Yeshua's whole sentences are the way of reasoning of a rabbi. Yeshua has nothing to do with Christianity, Greek thinking and Western philosophy. He is a Jewish man explaining the Torah. Once you fully accept this mere evidence, it will be easy to do away with the craziest theories circulating all over the internet about the specific verse regarding eunuchs in Matthew 19:12.
Another point that one needs to consider is that Yeshua our Messiah encourages people to think pure thoughts and to keep purity in their bodies. He is not complacent with sexual relations out of marriage. His compassion is often mistaken for complacence towards fornication and other sins.

Most people have in mind that Yeshua is a teacher, because it says, in most translations, « rabbi, which means teacher ».
The translation is not wrong, it is very incomplete and taken out of context, it can lead people to the greatest misunderstandings.

Not only is Yeshua our Messiah a practicing Jew, He is a rabbi.
What is a rabbi ? A maths or languages teacher ? Not at all. A rabbi is a teacher of Torah. Yeshua's very field of specialization is the Torah and one must understand that each statement that He made is made in total adhesion and coherence with the Torah. None of Yeshua's statements will ever nullify the Torah.

So now we have a starting point to reflect on Matthew 19 in a proper manner.

The committment of marriage : a reminder of Sefer Bereshit, the Book of Genesis.

The discussion we are witnessing in Matthew 19 is, once again ( unlike many opinions), a rabbinic discussion between Yeshua and the P'rushim ( the Pharisees).
Starting from Matthew 19:3 and ending on Matthew 19:12, Yeshua is giving His disciples ( talmidim) very precise directions to follow. These precisions are not based on new principles. Yeshua is making clear references to the Torah
( Anybody arguing that Yeshua started a new religion called « Christianity » based on new, revolutionary principles is fooling himself. This is untrue. Stay away from such statements, because they are based on lies from ignorant people.)

During this discussion, marriage and celibacy will be opposed as two different ways of serving the Kingdom of Heaven. Both require committment from the disciple.

In verse 4, Yeshua responds to the Pharisees : « Haven't you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female, and that He said, « for this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two are to become one flesh ? » (Genesis 2:24)

Yeshua quotes Sefer Bereshit (Genesis), chapter 2, verse 24, then adds : « Thus they are no longer two, but one. So no one should split apart what God has joined together. »

This statement shows how much Yeshua takes the bond of marriage between a man and a woman very seriously.

The Pharisees are trying to trap our rabbi with the act of divorce instituted by Moshe, but Yeshua proves them that it is only because of their heardened hearts that the act of divorce actually exists.

Our Lord is making a logical exception for prostitution cases.

Yeshua's statements are not always making His disciples feeling comfortable. Actually, this is not their purpose.

Once two people are getting married, their engagement is permanent. The talmidim are reacting to Yeshua's words : « If that is how things are between husband and wife, it would be better not to marry. »

Therefore, people should know exactly about their calling. This is also why people should ask Yeshua to show them about His plan for their lives and the mission they should be involved in : some people are meant to work for the Lord with a partner, while some others are kept in a purity and committed to celibacy.

Eunuchs for the Kingdom of God : walking in purity

In front of His disciples reaction, Yeshua symbolically speaks about eunuchs. One has to understand that even when spoken literally of them eunuchs (סָרִיס ) are castrate males, not homosexuals. In no way, Yeshua's argumentation is an advocacy of homosexual relationships or homosexual marriage.

Let us examine Yeshua's statements at the light of the Complete Jewish Bible which renders Yeshua's argumentation in the following words :

"For there are different reasons why men do not marry — some because they were born without the desire, some because they have been castrated, and some because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever can grasp this, let him do so."

The first category of men were born without the desire ( in no way they are homosexuals, they are defined as deprived of desire). The second category refers to the persons who had become castrates, often to serve kings at foreign courts. The Bible makes frequent mentions of castrates.
The third category is a clear allusion to people who made themselves ( some person had the nerve to write an article in order to prove that Yeshua wanted people to emasculate themselves, totally missing out the very meaning of this verse.) genderless for the superiority of the Kingdom.
If Yeshua's calling is very strong, one will understand that his/her degree of committment to the affairs of the kingdom of Heaven are much higher than married life.
I do believe that some females also belong into this category. Some people have been chosen since their mother's womb to walk in purity.
Yeshua walked the earth as a rabbi. However, unlike most rabbis, He did not marry. He was consecrated to our Father and led a whole life of purity. Nowadays, people are so much corrupt into sin that they barely picture a person living without having intercourse with another person. Our Messiah has kept pure, all His life. He is our model by excellence on how we should behave if we are called to a life of celibacy.

May Yeshua our Messiah guide us all according our specific calling. May He enlighten our paths and help us to walk righteousness, no matter if we are married or single. Amen.

Copyright© by Isabelle Esling

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