The Question about the Resurrection

Article excerpt

Luke 20:27-40

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 '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." Some of the scribes said in reply, "Teacher, you have answered well." And they no longer dared to ask him anything.

One of the many new testament affirmations of one aspect of life after death is the dialogue between Jesus and the Sadducees in today's Gospel passage. The only immortality they would accept was for the community of Israel; they didn't believe in individual resurrection. They posed to Jesus a trick question, so phrased that Jesus might either be caught in the quagmire of rabbinical casuistry or be forced to deny the reality of the resurrection of the dead. …