Do you really believe you will rise from the dead one day?
Luke 20:27 – 40
The resurrection and marriage
27 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 raise up offspring 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 who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come 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 burning 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.
How much do you genuinely believe in life after death – the resurrection? Do you really believe that everything in this lifetime – even ‘permanent’ things like marriage – will one day come to an end?
I’m 24 years old: young, healthy and in my prime. It’s easy for me to feel like death is far away, and that life in this world is all there is.
So when I read this passage about the Sadducees who don’t believe in life after death, I am challenged to consider how genuinely I believe in a resurrection myself. Of course, as a Christian, I know that there will come a day when everyone will face either eternal paradise or eternal judgement. But the way I actually live most days might contradict what I say I believe.
It’s interesting that in their hypothetical trick question, the Sadducees use marriage as an example of something they think lasts ‘forever’ to prove how silly a resurrection sounds. It seems to me that even in 2020, marriage and ‘true love’ are still seen as being the most permanent experiences life has to offer. All around me, Christians and non-Christians alike are searching for stability and meaning in the form of a partner, to enter a relationship of love “until death do us part.” As someone who is single by choice because of my sexual orientation, I often feel like I’m missing out as I face the prospect of remaining single for the rest of my life.
But Jesus points out here that there is, in fact, a life after death: a new world where even the most permanent experiences of this lifetime will fade away. Even beautiful things like marriage will be overshadowed by the far greater glory of our intimate reunion with Jesus. And knowing that God promises a better, new creation gives me hope as I endure things like singleness in this life. In fact, God even uses things like my singleness to remind me every day that there is a new life to live for. For those who follow Jesus, the best is yet to come, and it will be better than anything this world can offer – even marriage.
Head: What does this passage teach you about the nature of God’s kingdom?
Heart: How does the promise of new life with God give you hope and contentment in your current singleness/marriage?
Hands: Look at your schedule for this week. Are you spending your time as though this life is all there is? How might you live differently in light of the world to come?
Dear God, thank you for saving me into new life with you and offering me the joy of an eternity spent in your company. I forget so quickly that you have made these promises, and I often live selfishly as though pleasure in this life is all that matters. Please help me to live for your kingdom. Please fill me with hope as I look forward to the day you return and I can see you face to face. Amen.
A song to listen to: We Belong to the Day (Emu Music)
Living Church City South