Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Gospels do not explain the Resurrection; the Resurrection explains the Gospels.

“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”

Gospel text: (LK 20:27-38)
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 out '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."

The Gospels are filled with accounts of how Jesus’ enemies tried to trap him instead of believing in him. Today’s reading, which tells how some Sadducees tried to ensnare Jesus in a trap of their own devising. They tell a story about a woman who has been married and widowed seven times. But they’re not really interested in Jesus’ views on marriage. They just want to get him to admit that there is no resurrection after death. But Jesus elevates the conversation by making a distinction between “this age” and “the coming age” (Luke 20:34, 35).

The gospel teaches us that Jesus has set us free from the shadows of “this age,” but our freedom is closely linked to the choices we make. The devil is always on the prowl, trying to trap us. But God wants to protect us from these traps and teach us how to resist them so that Satan will flee (James 4:7). Jesus taught that there is indeed a resurrection after death. He taught that those who “are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age” will rise at the end.

Let’s not be duped like Jesus’ enemies, who were always trying to tell him what was right and wrong. Instead, let’s be open to his word and his work in our lives. That’s the best way to live in this present age—with our eyes on the age to come.

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