ETERNALLY WITH GOD
Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died without children. Then the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them, and still there were no children. Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. “But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—haven’t you ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said to Moses, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead. You have made a serious error.”
Mark 12:18-27 NLT
In our passage today we have the only mention in the gospel of Mark of the Sadducees. They were the priests and were usually very wealthy. They considered themselves the “religious aristocrats” of Judaism and tended to look down on everybody else. They only accepted the Law of Moses as their religious authority, so they built their theology on the first five books of the Old Testament. They rejected the existence of the soul, life after death, resurrection, final judgment, angels, or demons. (I always remember they rejected the resurrection and that made them “sad-you-see.”) Trying to trip Jesus up they bring a hypothetical question that deals with the issue of marriage. In the teachings from Deuteronomy 25, if a married man died without having a child his brother was to marry his wife and have a child that would be considered his heir to carry on the family name and inheritance. Their question was of a woman whose husband dies. To fulfill the law, she marries her brother-in-law. They have no children, and he dies. This continues through seven brothers. In the resurrection, whose wife would she be. Jesus points out two problems with their question. They did not understand the power of God and the truth of Scripture. Jesus lets them know that resurrection is not a restoration of life as we know it—it is an entrance in a new and different form of existence. Marriage would not exist in eternity. We should note that Jesus does not say we will be just like the angels because humans have been created by God higher than the angels. We would have some similarities with angels because we will have new bodies. Jesus takes the Sadducees to the burning bush exchange between God and Moses (Exodus 3). In this exchange God tells Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” You will note that God did not say, “I was the God of…..” It was a past tense experience. He was at that moment the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were not dead; they just no longer had an earthly residence. They were very much alive, and God was very much their God in eternity. Moses was teaching in this one passage that we do not cease to exist when we simply move out of our earthly suit of clay. We are eternal beings made in the image of God. This should cause us to rejoice in that we are eternal. Every problem we face today is temporary—we are eternal.
Holy Spirit help me to remember that I am an eternal being made in Your image. I will live eternally with You.
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