The Gospel of Luke

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs. Matt is one of the leaders at St Mary's and is married to Pip.

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.' 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.

Reflection

All of chapter 20 is about Jesus' authority being challenged, either by the chief priests, teachers of the law, the elders (20:2), or Sadducees (20:27). So the last few day's readings really go together. In today's reading, the Sadducees question him about the resurrection (they didn't believe in the resurrection after death which made them sad-you-see). Sorry!

Everyone here is trying to trap Jesus; either to get him arrested or to reveal a flawed theology. If Jesus answered yes or no to the question about paying tax to Caesar that would be tantamount to rebellion or revolution depending on whose side you stood. The Sadducees ask a ludicrous question that is barely worth a response. Both times, Jesus refuses to play their game.

Attacks and challenges were always part of Jesus' ministry, but in Luke's gospel, they intensify as he journeys towards the cross. His life and ministry clearly threaten some of their vested interests.

When our life reflects that of Jesus' it can feel threatening to those around us. Like Jesus, the closer we come to the cross, the more intense our personal attacks become. As Jesus said: "... If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own... you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you." (John 15:18-20)

SELF-EXAMINATION

Are things a little comfortable at the moment?
Or are things feeling opposed?

Is this a time to wake up?
Or is this a time to take perspective of what is really going on?

What does it mean to come close to the cross for you?

RESOLVE

To die to comfort and conformity.
To acknowledge your present suffering, and to see it for what it is.

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