Jesus Poster BulletinThe movie “Fifty Shades of Grey,” has caused such an uproar in our society that as a result it seems like everyone now either is dying to see the movie or is swearing never to see it no matter what. No shades of grey there.

As one who has not read the book nor has watched the movie, I will refrain from commenting on the specifics of either (for now). However, as one who has worked directly with people who were victims of physical and sexual abuse, I abhor the thought that something good can come out of this evil. The only good about sexual exploitation is the day you are freed from it. No shades of grey there.

It occurred to me that Jesus was often put in a situation where he had to address a hot button issue of the day. For example, in Mark 10 he was asked about divorce. Not an innocent question asked on the way to the men’s room. They wanted to trap Jesus.

There were two leading Rabbis in Jesus’s day. One was more conservative; the other more liberal. The people’s allegiances were divided among those two. The religious leaders asked Jesus a question about divorce. Wringing their hands, they were thinking, “That will force him to take sides.”

The two Rabbis espoused radically different views on the subject. The first said that divorce was not permitted according to the law of Moses under any circumstances. The second thought not only thought it was permissible but that a man (only a man) could send his wife away for whatever reason.

Jesus takes them right back to Scriptures. He re-framed the question by essentially saying, “I don’t care about what Rabbi so-and-so and Rabbi so-and-so say; I care about what God says in His Word.”

And the answer to the question of divorce is that it was never God’s idea. Moses made a concession as a way to protect the rights of women who were being dumped left and right by their immature husbands (my interpretation; Jesus said it was because of the “hardness of your heart”).

Jesus made it clear that God’s model for the family from the beginning was man and woman united through the unbroken vows of marriage. No shades of grey there.

As an aside, though, to say that those who have divorced are living in a state of perpetual sin is to extrapolate the limits of the text here. Divorce is clearly not God’s idea and it is not part of God’s ideal plan for the family; but divorce is not the “unpardonable sin.”

Jesus confronts other situations in this chapter where it would be easy to capitulate to the majority view but He didn’t. Children were brought for Him to bless. The disciples acted the part in the culture of the day — children were at the bottom of the totem pole, almost next to women and foreigners. But Jesus rebuked them and blessed the children. No shades of grey there.

A rich man wanted to follow Jesus. It would be easy to be tempted by the advantages this man could bring to a fledgling ministry. Instead, Jesus told Him (maybe through tears) that you can’t love your money more than your Master. No shades of grey there.

Finally, some of the disciples were arguing about power and position. That was a culture that practically worshiped the men with the flowing robes and those who sat next to people in authority. Instead, Jesus said that the greatest show of strength is to serve “the least of these.” No shades of grey there.

You get the idea: Jesus didn’t peddle to the latest fads in the culture; He stood squarely on the foundation of His Father’s authority. But He did it with such poise, kindness and love. And maybe that’s what distinguishes Him from many of His followers today. We are on the side of truth but love may not be on our side. No shades of grey there.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA