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You may have guessed by now, but in case you haven’t, BibleGateway have not lost the plot and the previous link may or may not have something to do with today’s date. The genuine link to the Bible passage is here.
Luke wrote two books of the New Testament; Luke and Acts (when we have completed Luke we plan to go on to Acts). In Acts, Luke describes an incident twenty-five years after the events in this passage, the Apostle Paul’s appearance before the Sanhedrin Council. In order to explain the deep divisions withing Judaism he wrote;
“The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.” (Acts 23:8)
The Sadducees had most of the power and wealth but there were more of the Pharisees. Yesterday’s question had been asked by the Pharisees and the Herodians, a party only mentioned three times in the gospels – they are thought to be supporters of Herod’s dynasty (Mark 12:13). Now it is the turn of the Sadducees and it’s a question about the resurrection.
Their question concerned a woman, who after the death of her husband, married his younger brother as was the custom. When the brother died, she married another brother who subsequently died etc. She had married seven brothers, all of whom had died so the question is; whose wife will she be at the resurrection? I would be thinking about her going to jail rather than heaven but it was probably a stock question to make fun of the whole idea of a resurrection.
Luke does not record the first part of Jesus’ answer; “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29). These were some of the greatest experts in Israel, they knew the Torah thoroughly, it was a stinging criticism. There are people today who know any number of facts about the Bible but we need the power of God, the Holy Spirit, to enable us to take it in.
The resurrection will be different from the world we know. We can’t take the things of this life and assume that the life to come will be the same. Jesus said that there would be no marriage since his people would be like the angels. This does not mean that in the age to come people will not know of their former relationships; In Jesus’ account of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man knew Lazarus and was concerned for his brothers (Luke 16:24, 27-28). It means there will be no more death and they will be God’s children.
Having answered the question, Jesus refuted the Sadducee’s teaching by taking a passage from Exodus. The Sadducees only accepted the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) as authoritative so Jesus was moving right into their area of expertise. Put simply, Jesus’ reasoning is that if God described himself as; “the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6), Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must be still alive in some way since God would not identify himself with dead people. There are implications for us here too; those who were in Christ remain in Christ – in this world or the next – in Christ. When a believer dies we don’t lose them, we know where they are.
“While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.” (Rock of Ages – Augustus Toplady)