Marriage and Resurrection
(The Message Translation)
27-33 Some Sadducees came up. This is the Jewish party that denies any possibility of resurrection. They asked, “Teacher, Moses wrote us that if a man dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother is obligated to marry her and give her children. Well, there once were seven brothers. The first took a wife. He died childless. The second married her and died, then the third, and eventually all seven had their turn, but no child. After all that, the wife died. That wife, now—in the resurrection whose wife is she? All seven married her.”
34-38 Jesus said, “Marriage is a major preoccupation here, but not there. Those who are included in the resurrection of the dead will no longer be concerned with marriage nor, of course, with death. They will have better things to think about, if you can believe it. All ecstasies and intimacies then will be with God. Even Moses exclaimed about resurrection at the burning bush, saying, ‘God: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob!’ God isn’t the God of dead men, but of the living. To him all are alive.”
The people of Jesus' day were obsessed with dualities: good vs. evil, Jews vs. non-Jews, clean vs. unclean, life vs. death, etc. They assumed these categories fit in with the nature of God too.
In this story, Jesus seems to be nudging his audience to wonder if their assumptions might be wrong. Specifically, Jesus challenges the idea that God understands death the same way we do.
What might it mean for us now and today, if the God of the universe understands everything (even what we experience as death) only in terms of life? What good news might there be for the folks we intend to serve? And what would it take to begin to see the world the way this version of God sees it?
Outward Mindset Application Has anyone been waiting on you to accomplish a task? Do that thing this week.
Pathways Toward Centeredness Asceticism (loving the world in solitude and simplicity): What is one item you own that you should really throw out? Can you bring yourself to finally let go of it this week?
Questions for Reflection Who is one person you turn to in the midst of difficulty, when you need to be reminded that there is still good in the world? What is the best halloween costume you've ever encountered?