Do you realize that you are eternal in your soul? Do you realize that your physical life is short and your eternal life is long? Jesus taught that God is the God of the living and not the dead. Our souls are alive now and they will be alive after our physical bodies die…
18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
Again we see today that people were trying to trick Jesus. The Sadducees were a group which did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They thought that this life was it. When you die, you cease. Interesting… There are a lot of people today who might be called Sadducees for their belief about the afterlife. They just don’t believe there is an afterlife… Which is sad, you see… (couldn’t resist the biblical dad joke).
So these Sadducees came to Jesus to ask him a question which was framed to trick him into admitting that there really is not a resurrection from the dead. Their story was about this woman who keeps losing her husbands – after seven husbands, the widow died herself. Who, pray tell, will be her husband in this afterlife you teach, Jesus?
There are a couple of interesting components to Jesus’ answer. First, he shares that the institution of marriage, as important as it is on earth, stays on earth. There is no marriage in heaven. We will be like angels in heaven, not married couples.
There is good reason for marriage on earth: God said it is not good for us to be alone. We are made for relationship. We are also sexual beings. Marriage is the context for our expression of desire and achievement of sexual fulfillment. Marriage provides a great metaphor for God to teach us about relationship between God and the church. We are called the bride of Christ. I could go on. All good reasons for marriage. All God’s reasons for marriage. All good. For now.
It is profound, speaking of modern-day Sadducees, that if there is no God, the reasons and trappings and restrictions relating to marriage go away, don’t they? We can do what we want it there is no afterlife. Perhaps there isn’t even a God if there isn’t an afterlife. See the extension of the logic?
Jesus then shared, using the example of Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush, that God is the God of the living and not the dead. Our souls are alive. They are alive now in our physically alive bodies, and they will be alive after our physical bodies die. Our souls are alive.
We don’t see the Sadducees answer because another question comes. Maybe that’s good. We can turn it around and ask ourselves instead, “What do you believe?” Do you realize that you are eternal in your soul? Do you realize that your physical life is short and your eternal life is long?
Our choices in this life have long-lasting effects in the next…