Jesus and the resurrection
Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.”
Mark 12:24-27 (NKJV)
During his earthly ministry Jesus debated with some of the religious groups of his day including the Sadducees. This group did not believe in life after death or the resurrection because they believed these doctrines were not taught in the Pentateuch (or Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible). They attempted to prove their beliefs by applying a philosophical riddle to scripture, based on the marriage law given in the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 25:5). In the riddle a woman had a succession of monogamous marriages with husbands who all died. The Sadducees then asked Jesus: ‘… in the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be?’ (Mark 12:23). The riddle is supposed to expose the absurdity of belief in life after death and hence the resurrection.
However, in his reply, given above, Jesus quotes from the Pentateuch to refute the riddle. He makes two fundamental points: the Sadducees are greatly mistaken because they don’t know the scriptures and they don’t know the power of God. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for centuries when God revealed to Moses that he is (present tense), not was, their God (Exodus 3:6). Jesus’ point is that the Pentateuch proves that God’s relationship with the patriarchs continues after death since he is still their God, the God of the living.
In both the Old and New Testaments everlasting life is defined in terms of a relationship with God. For humanity today, Jesus stated: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3).
From the very beginning God planned a glorious future for all who would accept Jesus as their saviour: “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life…” (John 3:36). Through Jesus the resurrection is the gateway into eternal life with God – to a life with a spiritual body that is not subject to the same problems and limitations as the physical body.
Father, we thank you, that by your grace, through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, those in Christ will be resurrected to eternal life with you. In His name, Amen.
Study by Eddie Marsh
About the writer:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of Grace Communion International.
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