The Temple Courts: Slapping Down the SadduceesTuesday, April 3, 2012
“He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for to him all are alive” (Luke 20:38).
Ever met a Sadducee? Me neither.
That’s not surprising considering that the last one died 2000 years ago. And even back then, there were never very many of them. It was always a very select group, like a club for the very wealthy. If you lived in Jericho, you were much more likely to run into a Pharisee than a Sadducee. They were a very small group with some very strange views.
The Sadducees came to Jesus with a trick question involving a woman whose husband died, whereupon she proceeded to marry the other brothers one at a time, following the death of the previous brother. Finally she was a widow seven times over. The question was, “In the resurrection whose wife will she be?”
It’s a silly question designed to make you laugh.
Jesus’ fundamental answer goes back to the character of God himself. The question is not, ‘Can we still believe in life after death?” but “Can we still believe in God?” If he is our God and we are his people, death is not the end of the story. A better day, a brighter day, a glorious day of resurrection awaits all the people of God. In the meantime, between now and then, we go to be with the Lord. This is what Paul meant when he said, “To die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Not even death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
When death comes to us, we can know this much for certain. The Lord who has been with us throughout our earthly journey will not abandon us when we need him most.
All that we believe about life after death rests on the faithfulness of God. We do not trust in what our eyes can see because all that we see testifies to the overwhelming power of death. But thanks be to God, a day is coming-and is not far off-when death will be no more. Those who know Jesus have entered into a relationship that even death cannot sever. Our hope for the future is as secure as the promises of God. For the Christian, death is not the end but the beginning of life forever with the Lord.
Living Lord, we rest all our hope in you for you alone have conquered the grave. Make us strong today and bold in our faith, knowing that when the time comes to leave this earth, we will be with you forever. Amen.