THE LAMB AND HIS BRIDE
Lord, I believe in the resurrection.
Read LUKE 20:27–40
The Resurrection and Marriage
27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’[a] 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
a Luke 20:37 Exodus 3:6
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (Revelation 21:2)
Today, many believe that death is the absolute end of life. This is not a new idea. The Sadducees rejected the idea of a resurrection – partly because their canon was limited to the Pentateuch and resurrection hope is found mostly in the later Old Testament writings and Judaism. They also denied messianic expectations and so, until Jesus came to the temple – their private domain – they were not interested in him (hence, their infrequent mention in the Gospels). They also held to levirate marriage, whereby a brother of a deceased husband should marry his widow to preserve the inheritance, male descent, and support for the widow. This leads to the question they pose to Jesus.
Their query seeks to expose the supposed stupidity of resurrection hope, assuming that marriage continues into the resurrected state. While Jesus’ response confirms the importance of marriage as in his other teachings (eg., Mark 10:1–12), he effectively rules out marriage after the end of this age. It will not be needed for the continuation of the human line. The resurrected become eternal beings, like angels, but even more – eternal children of God. Arguing from their canon, he affirms the resurrection since the God of the living is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the time of Moses –still living and well after their earthly deaths (Exodus 3:6; Genesis 25:8).
This passage is both exciting and perplexing. While we are assured that believers will be raised to be with God forever, it presents a real dilemma for those like me who live in a love-based marriage. The thought of not doing so saddens me. Yet, whether we are happily married, single, long to marry but cannot, or have found marriage a real challenge, we are comforted that something exceeding even the greatest of marriages awaits us – the union of the Lamb and his bride, the church. For this great wedding feast, we press on (Matthew 22:1–14).
Pray for the married, the single, divorced and widowed. Pray that those who are now rejecting resurrection hope will find that hope and be saved.
Truly, Lord, You are the God of the living and have given eternal life to those of us who believe it.
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