As Lord of the Kingdom and Rabbi of God, Jesus not only highlighted the Old Testament truth but broadened and intensified it to reflect the holiness his Kingdom required. While the audience had heard the standards of behavior set by the Law, Christ revealed the heart of what God desires in the commands. The Kingdom of God and its righteousness intensifies the Law and reveals a high standard that none can keep – without Christ’s forgiveness and the Holy Spirit, God’s gift to those who believe.
Most of what the Bible says about divorce has one scenario in mind, a husband sending his wife away. The OT law about giving a certificate of divorce actually protected women from destitution by allowing them to marry someone else. God was never trying to encourage divorce, only to protect those involved. Christ is clear; it would be better not to divorce at all, but to remain one flesh before God. Let me add, though, that this should never be used to keep people in abusive or dangerous situations. That is exactly what the law was trying to prevent.
Lord God, thank you that you protect the weak and vulnerable; help us to know your heart and imitate you.
From one point of view, worship in the Old Testament is an attitude of homage or adoration to God as a great king. It could be expressed in silence or by a simple gesture. It could be indicated by that gesture in association with praise or the offering of sacrifices. In the final analysis, it is the attitude of the heart that really matters. Such responses were made spontaneously, in recognition of some new disclosure of God’s character and will, or in the course of some regular pattern of ritual activity.
~ David G. Peterson, Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1992. pp. 72-73.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
Jesus Fulfills the Law, Matthew 5.13-20
Peterson, Engaging with God