Saturday, June 9: He is not the God of the dead but of the living
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 22:23-33
That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. "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. 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. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"
Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, '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."
When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
Here we go with another tricky question about mysterious things: marriage and the resurrection. Jesus knows the Sadducees don't believe in the resurrection, so this question is fairly ridiculous to him. But he answers it anyway, though not before castigating them roundly. Many use Jesus' answer to "prove" that somehow in eternity, marriage will be null and void, but that's not Jesus' main point here. His focus is on the truth that at the resurrection, God will be the God of the living, not the dead. Put that truth in your pipe and smoke it!
When you think of heaven, do you think of it as a place where already-dead people go, or as a place of the living? What might change in your fear of death or your anticipation of heaven if you change the way you think of them?