Sunday 17 September 2023

Matthew 22:23-33

23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

It’s interesting isn’t it – that these people decided to ask Jesus a tricky question to see if they could catch him out. What a strange idea to come up with – that there would be a family of 7 brothers who all married the same woman, one after another because the men died early. They wanted to prove their way of thinking was right and so they set a scenario that was unwinnable – one that Jesus couldn’t answer – or so they thought. Instead, Jesus had an answer. He made clear the scenario they were asking about didn’t matter – that God had plans that covered all situations. He also made clear that their fundamental belief in a lack of a living God was incorrect. He dealt with their trickiness so clearly that the people listening were amazed.

It is easy for us to fall into the same situation as these leaders. We want God to fit into the picture we have developed rather than seeing God for who He is – the richness of the picture that is painted through the Bible. We want what we think to be right, we don’t want to have to change in response to us growing in our understanding of God. So we can tie ourselves in knots as we talk with God trying to get Him to fit our picture. We need to be willing to learn and grow in our picture of God, to be willing to hear how we might have a picture that is not quite correct and to be focused on seeing God for who He is – the creator of all – and that this picture grows in richness as we grow in our relationship with Him.

Dear Lord, thank you for the picture of how well Jesus knew you. He could respond easily to queries about you – even strange ones. The picture painted here of a relationship between the father and the son that is strong, clear, well understood, filled with love and understanding is wonderful. Help each of us to work to build such a relationship with you. Help us to be willing to learn and grow every day. Amen

Written by Therese Manning

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