November 25 - Luke 20:27-40

Monday, November 25, 2013

Luke 20:27-40 – Resurrection and Marriage

This is the only place in Luke that the Sadducees are mentioned by name, though they are part of the Sanhedrin, the group that has been harassing Jesus throughout his ministry. They claimed descent from the Zadok, the high priest under David (1 Kings 1:26). By this point, they were wealthy priests and aristocrats, who were quite worldly. They despised the Pharisees, who were made up of the laity of the Jews. They disappeared after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

The Sadducees’ doctrine was different than that of the Pharisees – they flatly denied resurrection or the possibility of life after death. The refused to accept the existence of angels or demons and any connection with the spiritual dimension.

They were quite learned in the text of the Old Testament and were deeply committed to the Torah – the first five books of Scripture – the words of Moses, but had failed to dig into the truths behind the words that were there.

They thought to present Jesus with a conundrum based on his teaching eternal life with God. According to the Law, a widow might remarry the brother of her husband if there were no children to carry for her. The point was that there be children to carry on the dead husband’s name (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).

The mistake that the Sadducees made was that they applied earthly conditions to heavenly resurrection. They assumed that resurrection would involve sex in heaven.

Jesus corrected their thinking regarding resurrection. Earthly believers are beginning to participate in the life to come … ‘in that age’ (Luke 20:35), but when it finally happens that they die and are resurrected into heaven, they are God’s children. They are not angels (as many have interpreted his words in Luke 20:36 to mean), but take on characteristics of angels. There is no need for individual pairings, each person belongs to God, not to himself.

Jesus’ reference to Moses’ words regarding resurrection, point out that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will rise. They not only lived in the past, but live again. God is their God. He was clearly pointing out that the Sadducees’ attempt to use Moses as the basis for not believing in the resurrection was false. Resurrection has been taught since the beginning of Scripture.