27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” 34 Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” 39 Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” 40 And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
The Sadducees were a group of Jews who did not believe in a resurrection. They come to Jesus in order to make a point, that the resurrection does not make sense. I have come to God with these kinds of questions before and I think it is reasonable to ask these questions… but I need to be ready for the answer. Jesus provides us not only with an answer but with truths that can revolutionise the way I view my identity.
- God sees all of humanity, past and present, as alive. Physical death does not change the fact that humans are made in God’s image and have life beyond the physical. There is a life after my death.
- There is a physical resurrection. God does not intend for ‘dead’ humanity to remain physically dead. There will be a resurrection that brings my physical life back from the dead.
- There is an age to come (an after life) that is ‘invite only’. Jesus says it is for those considered worthy. I see later in the gospels that the only way I will be deemed worthy is if I follow Jesus ‘into the party’. Jesus makes me worthy of this ‘age to come’ by dying for the sins of the world. Jesus carries my burden of guilt and sin into his own death, and rises from the dead free from that burden. My guilt died with Jesus, now my life is defined by Jesus’ own resurrection from the dead.
- This future age will not be threatened by death anymore, nor will marriage and family be the dominant identity that I have, instead, my primary identity is that of ‘child of God’!
These facts call me to align my thinking even now to this greater identity. As important as family identity is, it is superseded by our identity in God’s family.
Lord, my identity is shaped by being your son. Teach me the values of your family and empower me to live out these values and to entrust them to others; for now and into eternity.
Written by Andrew Mellor