The Invitation - Day 19

Luke 20:27-40

20 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “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 have children for his brother. 29 Now, there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way, the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”

39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Yet again, Jesus faces questions designed to dent His credibility with the people. This time, it comes from a group of Sadducees whose theology didn’t include the hope of resurrection. It bears noting that bitter ideological enemies, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, had become allies in their attempt to damage Jesus. It is incredible how often hatred unites. 

The Sadducees hope to humiliate the countryside preacher with an over-the-top case study of an unfortunate, childless woman who wed and buried seven husbands. They frame their question through the vehicle of marriage and remarriage. But the thrust of their interest surrounds their disbelief in the resurrection and the hereafter. They build the case study to insinuate the impracticality of such notions. This hypothetical has probably befuddled their Pharisee opponents in conversations of the past. But today, they have severely miscalculated. They stand before the one who is the resurrection. 

In Matthew’s telling of this interaction, Jesus begins His response by saying, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). Ouch… strong opener for sure. He briefly addresses marriage in heaven (we’ll have to save that for another time) and faces their primary concern head-on. Jesus reminds the listeners of the voice of the Almighty in the Exodus story with Moses at the burning bush, saying,  “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). Jesus’ brilliance is to point out the voice of I Am speaking in the continually active tense, which implies Abraham will exist in the future and not just the past. Yahweh has power over our inception, our redemption, and our resurrection. Luke says, “Some law teachers responded, ‘Well said, teacher.’” (20:39). I’m guessing they were Pharisees. And with this, the questions cease. The opponents slink away.

The core of the Sadducee’s question continues reverberating in many ways. It resurfaces in our doubtful moments. We wonder, “Is this all there is? Will we be rescued? Is it safe to hope there is more than this life and death?” 

Hear this clearly: God’s rescue is no short-term, momentary grace. The voice of God thunders His power at a burning bush, a fiery furnace, and a lion’s den. He shouts through Jeremiah’s prophecies, at Nehemiah’s wall, and even the whispers of Elijah’s cave. He proclaims a once-and-for-all, start-to-finish, eternal resurrection. And Jesus caps it with an exclamation point. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…” (John 11:25).

This is a game-changer. We will live!
  1. Consider 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. What stands out about Paul’s argument for the resurrection?
  2. Is there a way in which you feel dead or dying right now? What is it?
  3. Who are you praying will experience the resurrecting power of Jesus’ presence? 

By Pastor Dave Ferguson

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