Tuesday after the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Matthew 22:23-33 (NKJV)
23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, 24 saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. 25 “Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. 27 Last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. 31 But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.
In today’s text Jesus is doing battle with the Sadducees. The Sadducees, though small in number, were wealthy and sophisticated, having great influence in the Jerusalem temple, as well as the Sanhedrin. They accepted only the first five books of the Old Testament, and as the text says at the outset, they didn’t believe in the Resurrection. They make up a story that’s so ridiculous and hypothetical that it’s obvious their motive is simply to cast doubt on Jesus’ ministry.
It is significant that Jesus answers them from one of their few accepted books, that of Genesis: “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?” God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.'”
Jesus essentially says they know nothing of God, and to ask such a ridiculous question reveals their lack of knowledge. God instituted marriage to serve man’s need for companionship and to populate the Earth. Its purpose ceases in Heaven, where there is neither birth nor death. Heaven is all about eternal life, as Jesus emphasizes in the last verse.
Prayer: Dear Father in Heaven, we thank You for the gift of marriage that serves us well in this earthly life. Help us to not lose sight of Your ultimate gift of life eternal. Amen.