Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
To hear your voice
To listen deeply to what you say,
To see what you do.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear your voice,
To follow you in all of life,
In the way of God’s gracious reality.
Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
The lectionary guide leads us into the temple again, where various groups of leaders are intentionally seeking to trap Jesus in what he says, so as to have him arrested and brought to trial. The Pharisees and scribes make several attempts, but Jesus sees through their pretences and responds to their questions with such wisdom that they are “amazed by his answer, (and) become silent.” (Luke 20:26)
Now some Sadducees, another religious and political sect within the Jewish nation, bring a question. Although their long-standing belief holds that there is no resurrection, they present a complex marital situation which leads to their asking Jesus, “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will be woman be? For seven (brothers) had married her.” (Luke 20:33).
The question grows out of their observation of Moses’ teaching noted in Deuteronomy 25:5, which holds a brother accountable to marry the widow of his brother—if the deceased has no son to carry on the family name. It is in this way that the Jews embrace a sense of eternity, by the name and family of the father being perpetuated through birth of a son. The Sadducees who now stand around Jesus, waiting for his response, are seeking to work out a human dilemma through the use of the Mosaic law, and through their speculation regarding the hereafter (even if they do not truly believe in life beyond the death of the body).
We, like these Sadducees, can tend to try to construct answers by bringing together teaching in the scriptures and our human reason and speculation. What can be lacking in our attempts is a receptivity to God’s Great Reality—which transcends our limited human thinking.
Jesus is aware of how “those who belong to this age” (Luke 20:34) are unable to see and recognize the transformative sphere of God’s kingdom. But he responds to his questioners with grace and respect as he opens a window on to the great and eternal realities of God. Jesus speaks of those who “are considered worthy of a place in ‘that age’ and ‘in the resurrection of the dead,’” where—to the surprise of these Sadducees—‘persons neither marry nor are give in marriage.’(Luke 20:35) In “that age”—within the realm of God—persons are beyond the clutches of death, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.” Once the seven brothers had been children, who, in adulthood, had been unable to beget children, but in “that age” persons are children begotten by God, and so belong to the resurrection family. Their name is never forgotten or lost, for they live forever.
Now Jesus reveals how the sphere of ‘that age’ is already present, penetrating the constricted and warped space in which we live this side of Eden. He opens the window even wider, to show us that the dead are raised. Even Moses knew this when he spoke of Jahweh being ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ God is God of the living, and in the great realm of God all who listen and respond to God are alive, forever.
An invitation here is for us to be hospitable to God’s Great Reality as it breaks in to our limited human spaces and our constricted ways of knowing and understanding, transforming how we see and live. This is a work of God through the Spirit of Jesus who is present within and among us.
Prayer before reading:
Lord Jesus Christ,
In this season of Pentecost
You come to us by your Holy Spirit.
Help me to welcome you,
To be with you as you indwell my life and being.
Help me to hear you,
To see as you see,
To turn to you in trust and faith,
And to learn to love you above all. Amen
Read slowly. Listen deeply. Indwell the scripture.
TWENTY-FOURTH WEEK AFTER PENTECOST
- 11/1 Monday: Luke 20:27-38
- 11/2 Tuesday: Luke 20:27-38
- 11/3 Wednesday: Psalm 17:1-9
- 11/4 Thursday: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17
- 11/5 Friday: Job 19:23-27a
- 11/6 Saturday: Luke 20:27-38
- 11/7 Sunday: Luke 20:27-38