Focus on the Family

The Foundation of Marriage

During His earthly ministry, Jesus was constantly asked questions, including ones about marriage and sexuality. How did He respond? What can we learn from Him about marriage?

by Jeff Johnston

What Jesus Said About Marriage

10 13 08Because He had earned the reputation of being a wise teacher, people asked Jesus questions all the time, including ones about marriage. When asked about divorce and remarriage, for example, He pointed back to the foundation of marriage, in the very beginning. Jesus quotes the book of Genesis and describes God's design for human sexuality at creation, the way things were supposed to be before man disobeyed Him.  

Here's what Jesus said, and below we'll draw out some of the important points He is making about marriage and sexuality:  

"Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." Matthew 19:4-6  

Male and Female

Jesus first reminded His followers that in the very beginning, God made humanity in His own image, male and female. Men and women are different, yet complementary; specifically designed by God to complete each other. Both are intrinsically valuable. The male body and the female body show us we are physically complementary, but being a man or a woman isn’t only about biology; a husband and wife fit together body, soul and spirit.  

Union

Jesus also pointed His followers to God's plan for marriage. Marriage uniquely brings together a man and a woman so the two may become one. God established marriage to be a life-long, faithful relationship between a husband and a wife — full of joy, love and intimacy. Marriage is a relationship where two people, joined to each other and to God: listen and talk to each other; pray and worship together; share work and ministry in the world; and create and raise a family together. 

Sexual Intimacy

Sex is a good thing, as it was created by God. Sexual desire moves us toward intimacy with another, and marriage is the one place God established for sexual love to occur. Such intimacy is powerful, uniting two people physically, emotionally and spiritually. God's desire was for a married couple to enjoy each other without fear, hiding or shame.  

New Life

The marriage relationship was also intended to be fruitful. After all, one of the more obvious results of a sexual relationship is children. A husband and wife typically bring new life into the world. God designed marriage to join them to each other to be mother and father to any children their union creates. Mom and dad are the two best people to provide for and educate their children. Because marriage creates, nurtures and equips the next generation, it rests at the foundation of society — before government, religion, schools or other man-made institutions.  

Reflecting His Image

Being created in God's image means men and women reflect different aspects of God's character: Justice and Mercy; Strength and Beauty; Initiation and Response. These complementary masculine and feminine qualities show us something about who God is. 

A Spiritual Picture

While every person reflects aspects of the image of God, a husband and wife union is the most important picture in the Bible of how intimate our relationship with God can be. God is portrayed as the "husband" who loves us, and we are like the "wife," who responds back to Him. In the New Testament, Christ is pictured as the groom; the Church is His bride. Marriage shows us how deep and intimate our relationship with God can be!