Jesus

The Sermon on the Mount -Adultery and Divorce

What did Jesus say about adultery and divorce?

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Discussing relationship breakdown can be very emotive especially when unfaithfulness is involved. When Jesus tackled the issue of being unfaithful in marriage and marriage breakdown it’s important to have some understanding of the culture to which he was speaking.

In the Old Testament if a man chose to divorce his wife Moses allowed him to issue divorce papers and send her away. A woman could not seek a divorce from her husband. Read more in Matthew 19:8. In fact women were in a difficult position as they had no real power in society. Women needed to be in a family for their own social security, if they were outside the protection of a family they were vulnerable and could easily become destitute.

The options for destitute women were begging, prostitution or death. This was the stark reality facing a woman who was separated from her husband and husbands could seek to divorce their wives for any reason so making her position precarious. In the original Hebrew text, it says that God hates “putting away” or kicking the wife into the streets, in English this gets interpreted as divorce.

Adultery means a married person having sexual intercourse with someone who is not their husband or wife but Jesus goes beyond this and says that unfaithfulness begins in what a person is thinking or feeling inside.

Jesus says that sin (doing wrong) isn’t just an action but also the wrong thoughts and desires that we have. The wrong thoughts can lead to the wrong actions but Jesus is suggesting that unfaithfulness starts in the heart and mind. When Jesus uses the example of “if your eye causes you to sin take it out” he isn’t meaning this literally, he’s trying to make a point that we need to avoid developing the thoughts and feelings that are going to lead to unfaithfulness. Lust has a selfish motive as it is about using someone for self gratification, therefore it is different from love. Jesus may also have been speaking tongue -in- cheek to his audience as many may have cast a lustful look at someone before.

Christians believe that marriage is a covenant relationship, that means one that is based on trust and it reflects the relationship God offers to people with himself. God is faithful and he wants people to be faithful to him and that extends to human relationships too. Therefore marriage mirrors the covenant relationship with God and unfaithfulness in a relationship breaks trust.

Find out more:

In John 8:1-11 Jesus shows compassion to a woman who is brought to him who has been caught committing adultery. For a woman the sentence for committing adultery was death by stoning. It is only the woman who is brought to Jesus not the man involved. Jesus tells the men assembled that “those without sin should cast the first stone” but of course no-one can throw the first stone because none of them are perfect. Jesus doesn’t condone the woman’s adultery in fact he tells the woman to “go and sin no more” but he does challenge those assembled as to how they are choosing to live. Read more here. In Matthew 19 Jesus expands on this as he talks with his disciples. He says that God created a man and woman to live together in a faithful and trusting relationship.

You can read more about a Christian response to divorce here or watch an interview with a Christian couple who had to go through previous divorces

It’s important to remember that Jesus both challenged people in his teachings while showing compassion for people’s circumstances.

 

 

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Jesus taught people using stories called ‘Parables’. The Unforgiving Servant is a parable about forgiveness. Watch the film here and think for yourself: Are there things that you would forgive and things that you wouldn’t forgive? Should we forgive other people? When you do things […]

Jesus is baptised

What happened at Jesus' baptism?

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LIFE-ROP-Jesus Baptism

Jesus is baptised

What happened at Jesus' baptism?

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Baptism was already popular in the time of Jesus. It demonstrated a person’s commitment to living God’s way rather than their own. Jesus had a cousin called John who baptised people. He was known as John the Baptist. John was a preacher. He told people […]

Jesus’ Teaching: Prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

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Jesus’ Teaching: Prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

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Prayer is important for Christians, as they believe it is one of the main ways through which our relationship with God can grow deeper. Just as we grow closer to our friends when we spend time with them, so Christians believe that in spending time […]

Jesus’ Teaching: Faith

What did Jesus teach about having faith?

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JESUS-TEACHING-FAITH

Jesus’ Teaching: Faith

What did Jesus teach about having faith?

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The dictionary states that the definition of faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Jesus had absolute faith in God the Father and encourages people to have the same faith. One day Jesus’ disciples asked him to increase their faith but he […]

LIFE-WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN

What is a Christian?

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Perhaps the clue to what a Christian is can be found in the name. The word ‘Christian’ is actually a nickname – it literally means ‘little Christ’. It was a nickname given to men and women in the first century who went about talking about […]

Timeline of Jesus’ Life

What do the Gospels tell us?

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  • Timeline
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Timeline of Jesus’ Life

What do the Gospels tell us?

  • Jesus
  • Timeline

What do we know about Jesus? How do we know about his life and work? What are the key features of Jesus’ life?

Jesus and the Christian faith

Why do Christians worship him?

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JESUS-IMPORTANT-WAYTRUTHLIFE

Jesus and the Christian faith

Why do Christians worship him?

  • Jesus
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Jesus spent 3 years meeting and teaching people. When he died he left a devoted group of a few hundred followers. Today, 2 billion people worldwide call themselves Christians. What makes Jesus so central to Christians’ lives today? For many, he is seen in the […]

Jesus today

Why do people choose to follow Jesus in the 21st century?

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Jesus today

Why do people choose to follow Jesus in the 21st century?

  • Jesus
  • Video gallery

It’s easy to think of Jesus as somebody who lives in history books. But Jesus is really important to Christians– not just as somebody who said and did amazing things 2000 years ago but as somebody who is a friend to them today. Most Christians […]

The Resurrection

What do Christians believe happened on Easter Sunday?

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The Resurrection

What do Christians believe happened on Easter Sunday?

  • Festivals
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What happened on Good Friday is important to Christians. But Jesus’ death on Good Friday isn’t the end of the story. Christians believe that Jesus did not stay dead, but came back to life three days later on Easter Sunday. This is known as the […]

Sin – what is it?

What do Christians mean by the word 'sin'?

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Sin – what is it?

What do Christians mean by the word 'sin'?

  • Jesus
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Christians often talk about Jesus’ death as a way of bringing forgiveness for sin. But what is sin? Play the game and then read the explanation below. To play the game: The aim of the game is to fire a cannon ball from one side […]

Jesus’ death

What do Christians believe about why Jesus died?

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Jesus’ death

What do Christians believe about why Jesus died?

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Jesus died by being crucified. ‘Crucifixion’ means nailed to a cross. The cross was then lifted up outside the city walls (in Jesus’ case, Jerusalem) so everybody could see it. The people on the cross were then left to die in the hot sun. It […]

The Easter Story: Doubtless

Is the idea that Jesus came back to life too much to believe?

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The Easter Story: Doubtless

Is the idea that Jesus came back to life too much to believe?

  • Festivals
  • Video

Would you believe that a dead person could come back to life? It would be understandable to doubt it. One of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas, has gone down in history as the one who doubted the reports of Jesus’ resurrection. This film is based on that […]

The Easter Story: Talk of the morning

What happened on the first Easter Sunday?

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The Easter Story: Talk of the morning

What happened on the first Easter Sunday?

  • Festivals
  • Video

The gospels say that Jesus didn’t stay dead. Lots of witnesses saw Jesus die on a cross on Friday – but by the Sunday there were rumours that the tomb was empty and that he had appeared to some of his followers – Mary Magdalene […]

The Easter Story: The Centurion’s story

What happened when Jesus was on the cross?

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The Easter Story: The Centurion’s story

What happened when Jesus was on the cross?

  • Festivals
  • Video

The Bible says that Jesus died by being crucified by the Romans – that is, being nailed to a cross and left to die. The gospels quote a Roman soldier who watched Jesus die as saying ‘Surely this man was the Son of God.’ This […]

The Easter Story: Undeniable

What happened to Jesus' disciples after he was arrested?

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The Easter Story: Undeniable

What happened to Jesus' disciples after he was arrested?

  • Festivals
  • Video

On the night before Jesus died – the night of his arrest – Jesus’ disciples ran away, scared for their lives. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends, but even he let Jesus down. During the Last Supper, which happened only hours before his arrest, […]

Jesus’ miracles: Turning water into wine

How did Jesus liven up a wedding party?

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Jesus’ miracles: Turning water into wine

How did Jesus liven up a wedding party?

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According to the Gospel of John, this was the very first miracle – or ‘sign’ as John calls them – which Jesus did. Jesus, his mother and his disciples were all guests at a wedding in Cana, in Galilee. At the reception, the wine runs […]

Jesus’ miracles: Power over nature

What did Jesus do in the middle of a raging storm?

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Jesus’ miracles: Power over nature

What did Jesus do in the middle of a raging storm?

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The Gospel writers were keen to show that Jesus had power over nature. One time Jesus and the disciples were in a boat on the Lake of Galilee late one night. A storm began. It was so strong that the boat they were in was […]

Jesus’ miracles: Raising the dead

What did Jesus do in the face of death?

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Jesus’ miracles: Raising the dead

What did Jesus do in the face of death?

  • Jesus
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The gospels include stories of Jesus bringing people back to life.  Two of these are the raising of Jairus’ daughter and of his friend Lazarus. The story of Jairus’ daughter begins when Jesus is met by a large crowd on the side of Lake Galilee. […]

Jesus’ miracles: Healings

What happened when Jesus met people who were unwell?

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Jesus’ miracles: Healings

What happened when Jesus met people who were unwell?

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The stories about Jesus tell us that he healed many different people with all kinds of problems. The blind, the deaf, those who could not speak and those with diseases all found healing by Jesus’ touch or his command. But Jesus is also seen to […]

Jesus’ miracles: the feeding of the 5,000

How did Jesus treat people who were hungry?

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Jesus’ miracles: the feeding of the 5,000

How did Jesus treat people who were hungry?

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Miracles are often seen as signs by the Gospel writers to explain what sort of God Christians believe in and how Jesus his Son shows that. This story shows that Jesus can supply the basic needs we have – in John’s version of the story, […]

Jesus’ miracles: Jairus’ daughter

Jesus brings a girl back to life

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Jesus’ miracles: Jairus’ daughter

Jesus brings a girl back to life

  • Jesus
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There are several stories in the gospels of Jesus bringing people back to life. In one story, Jesus heals a 12-year-old girl who has died. You can read about it Mark 5: 21-43 or watch a version of the story here.

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What is a miracle?

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When Christians talk about a miracle, they mean an event that is not ‘normal’ – that is, one that should not be able to happen according to the laws of nature. The Gospels describe 35 miracles that Jesus performed. Over half of these 35 stories […]

The Unforgiving Servant

What does it mean?

  • Jesus
  • Text
Benny the Boss Unforgiving

The Unforgiving Servant

What does it mean?

  • Jesus
  • Text

The parables were stories Jesus used which enabled him to explain his teachings in a way he knew that the people would remember. They were also a means in which he could teach tough principles that were central to the Christian faith. One of these […]

The Lost Son

What does it mean?

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The Lost Son

What does it mean?

  • Jesus
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‘The Lost Son’ is the third of a group of Jesus’ parables about the idea of losing and finding. In the first one, a shepherd has a hundred sheep and then goes looking for one who wanders off. In the second one, a woman who […]

Prodigal Lost Son

Parables: The Lost Son

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‘The Lost (or Prodigal) Son’ is a very famous parable. It is the last of three parables Jesus tells about ‘lost’ things – first a sheep, then a coin, then finally a child. In the parable, the father represents God. The son represents the people […]

The Good Samaritan

What does it mean?

  • Jesus
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JESUS-PARABLES-SAMARITAN

The Good Samaritan

What does it mean?

  • Jesus
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We all have people that we find difficult to love, those we would rather not know or cannot ever say anything good about. Jesus is asked a question “Who is my neighbour?” – that is, whom am I responsible for? He does not give a […]

Parables: The Good Samaritian

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One of the most famous parables of Jesus is known as ‘The Good Samaritan’. Samaritans were a group of people living next door to the Jews. (The Jews were the first people to hear Jesus’ story.) The Jews and the Samaritans were enemies and avoided […]

Jesus’ parables

What is a parable?

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  • Video gallery

Jesus’ parables

What is a parable?

  • Jesus
  • Video gallery

A parable is an imaginary story used to teach people a moral lesson (for example, how to treat people in need) or a spiritual lesson (for example, what God is like). In some ways, stories help people to understand things better. But Jesus also said […]

Jesus’ teaching: Money

What did Jesus teach about money and giving?

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Jesus’ teaching: Money

What did Jesus teach about money and giving?

  • Jesus
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Money. It can do wonderful things and change lives for the better. Equally, it can be a cause of stress, arguments and leave our lives in a mess. Having too much can make you greedy for more, having too little can make you desperate. The […]

Jesus’ life and ministry

What do Christians believe about Jesus' life and ministry?

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Jesus’ life and ministry

What do Christians believe about Jesus' life and ministry?

  • Jesus
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Jesus’ family Perhaps one of the most famous stories about Jesus is his birth: God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was […]

Questions about Jesus

What do we know about Jesus?

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Questions about Jesus

What do we know about Jesus?

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Did Jesus really exist? Yes. The New Testament part of the Bible tells us about who Jesus was, what he did, and why. But other writings by people who weren’t Christians also talk about a man named Jesus. Roman and Jewish historians such as Josephus […]

Christian Festivals

What are the big events that happen during the year?

  • Festivals
  • Timeline
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Christian Festivals

What are the big events that happen during the year?

  • Festivals
  • Timeline

Our calendar year is divided into four seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each season has its special characteristics, colours and associations. For example Autumn is often associated with harvest, and the orange and yellow leaves that blow around in the blustery wind. It […]