Monday, November 7, 2016

Let Perpetual Light Shine

Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone's brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless. Then the second and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless.  Finally the woman also died.  Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.  That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out ‘Lord,’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Lk 20:27-38)
The Sadducees don’t believe in life after death, because they believed only what was revealed in the written Torah. They think they have given Jesus an impossible question and hope to embarrass him. That number seven is to stress the detail that she had many husbands. They also cite the Law of Levirate marriage (see Deuteronomy 25: 5-10) that was established to ensure a man who married but died childless was not left without heirs; they set out to trap Jesus with a story of a woman who marries many times. The Sadducees think the crowd will be curious and amused by their trap. But Jesus doesn’t react as they predicted. He ignores their simplistic logic and explains to the delight of the crowd that while marriage is the way of life that “this age” understands, those worthy of resurrection will not be bound by “this age’s” definitions. Immortal beings don’t need to reproduce; only humans do to ensure the continuity of the family. Life in heaven will transcend categories and death will be no more. We won’t be married. “We will be children of God.”

Then Jesus cites their own Law (Deuteronomy 3:6). How could Moses refer to God as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob if those patriarchs are no longer living? This declaration shows that the Lord is “not God of the dead, but of the living”. The Sadducees must have winced at Jesus quoting the Torah to the Sadducees, themselves. But some of them, (probably Pharisees) publicly honored Jesus for winning yet another argument against the Sadducees. “Teacher, you have put it, well!”
Verses 39-40 states that some of the Scribes said “Master, you have put it, well!” But this success will contribute to His death. Jesus knows this and does not alter His Father’s Will. He continues teaching. Mentioning the names of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses, shows us that those who are judged worthy will have eternal life. Eternal life depends on our life on earth. We should prove ourselves as worthy as the patriarchs and we will live forever.
Father, we know our deaths are just a beginning. Our lives are just changed, not ended. Call us by name, Father, and we will work towards reaching You, through the help of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Amen.
Father, give me the strength to follow Your light towards perpetual brilliance.

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