Luke 20:27-40 Ascension/ Good Shepherd/ Redeemer10/11/19
There came to Jesus some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him. ”Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well”. For they no longer dared to ask him any question.(Luke20:27-40ESV)
How many marriages does a person have to have before the ‘eeww’ factor comes in? … When we think something just isn’t right? We accept death and divorce happen and so someone having more than one marriage is not unusual. My guess is that 2 doesn’t raise an eyebrow but 3 gets us curious and when it comes to 4 then things are entering the salacious zone and minds are becoming prurient as one thinks through the details of what living intimately with multiple people might entail–whether in marriage, co-habitation, or one-night stands. I think the numbers don’t have to go too high before the ‘eeww’ factor kicks in.
I could be wrong but I think that the emotional reaction / response we might have is part of the intended effect of the Sadducees trying to mock and show up Jesus for his foolish belief in the resurrection. The Sadducees are the priestly class –followers of Zadok (from Solomon’s time) who were known for having an emphasis on the first five books of the Bible, pragmatism in dealing with foreign powers while maintaining their control and oversight of the temple, controversy with the Pharisees (a laymen’s group focusing on righteousness) over such things as a belief in the resurrection or living after death, controversy with the Essenes (another priestly group) who decried the Sadducees’ pragmatism and sought to follow the Law as God intended. Why they target Jesus isn’t really clear. My guess is that as a layman, Jesus looks at first glance too much like a Pharisee and he’s getting too much attention from Jerusalem, so it’s time to ‘knock him down a peg or two’ and they wade into the fray using the only tools they have –not insubstantial at all –the Law of Moses –about the levirate marriage of brother marrying sister-in-law (when her husband has died without having any children) so that she can have children in the dead husband’s name. Yes, it’s practical, it preserves the tribal lineage and property, but there’s also an ‘eeww’ factor I think –in all the practical aspects that must occur in such a situation.
We’ve no idea whether the story the Sadducees tell is true or a ‘what if’ –a hypothetical application of the law which remains legal but, of course, troublesome if there’s a resurrection. And that’s the point! Their target is the resurrection –the marriage is just the foil –to skewer both the concept of the resurrection and Jesus himself.7 husbands … 1 wife … eeww … whose wife is she in the resurrection?
Consider carefully what has happened. The Sadducees have thought of the resurrection as life extended –our life here extended –the same life here but no ending. They’ve taken this world and just removed the end –stretched this life so to speak. They have taken this world and pushed it into the next one –and sneered and said ‘it doesn’t work’ –look, your resurrected world produces wacko things like 7 husbands for 1 wife –eeww. And of course the Sadducees are right! If the resurrected world is just this life extended then let me die!
- Luke 20:27 - 40