Going Deeper 11-8-19

The Gospel reading for Pentecost 22….

Luke 20:27-38   Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.  Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless.  Finally the woman also died.  In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?  For the seven had married her."  Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.  Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.  And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."


A lesson from church history: Religious leaders can become so arrogant and stubborn!  The Pharisees and Sadducees were two groups among the leadership of the Jewish faith.  They almost always stood in opposition to one another, each with different understandings and practices.  However, in the Gospels we hear of a time in their histories when then stood together… in opposition to Jesus.


The Sadducees accepted only the Pentateuch, the first five books of the books of the Bible, as their sacred scriptures.  If something is not stated there, they did not accept it.  And one of the things they could not see in the Pentateuch was any reference to a resurrection or afterlife.  And since they knew their “Bible” better than anyone else, they loved to ‘strut their stuff.’  But then they ran into Jesus.


Actually, they thought they could trap Jesus.  They came with a silly story about a woman who ended up marrying seven men (for no fault of her own) and asked Jesus—likely with a gleam in their eyes and a smirk on their faces—who she would be married to in this supposed afterlife.  Don’t mess with Jesus!  From their own scriptures Jesus taught them that there really is an afterlife, pointing to how God revealed Himself to Moses “as (present tense) the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."


Lesson for us?  As we seek—continually—to grow in our understanding of the truths of the Scriptures, it is very important for us to stay humble and to seek the help of the Spirit of God.  Our late friend Dennis Klinker liked to quote a seminary professor who once told him, “We are all going to bring some heresy with us to heaven.”  Given the infinite nature of our Creator/God, the complexity of God’s written word, and our own limitations, there will always be truths that we do not yet understand, and corrections to be made to what we think we already know.


Be humble.  Be open.  Open your heart and your mind and your spirit as you open the word, and always do so seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus still has a lot to teach us!!


With You in His Grace,


Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."