S-1391 25SAP/C 11/10/2013 Hymns: (O) #465; (S) #461; L.S. #487; #628; (C) #477
Texts: Exodus 3:1-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8, 13-17; Luke 20:27-40
Theme: “What’s the Question Behind the Qusetion” (Luke 20:27-31)
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson: “There came to Him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked Him a question, saying, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife’” (Luke 20:27-31).
INTRODUCTION: In Nomine Iesu.
Beloved in the Lord, while I was at the seminary, our professor of Systematic Theology, the Rev. Dr. Jack Preus the 3rd would always say in class: “What’s the question behind the question?” Why are you raising such a question? What is the hidden agenda behind the question?
That is really what is going on here in the Gospel lesson before us. There is more than meets the eye. It behooves us to dig deeper into this inquiry that has been posed to Jesus by the Sadducees.
The Sadducees pose a question to Jesus about which, if any, of the woman’s seven earthly husbands would be her husband after death. Please notice how Luke describes the encounter between Jesus and this group of leaders. They don’t believe in the Resurrection from the dead. Therefore, there is more to their question than what is on the surface. And what is the question they ask? They want to know to whom this woman will belong, since she has had 7 husbands.
What you behold here, is that these Sadducees are attempting to mock Jesus and His teaching. The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. They attempt to ridicule this belief by using a far-fetched example to make nonsense of it. The question is really not about to whom will she belong, but do you really believe there is life after death? Do you really believe in the Resurrection? If so, Jesus, You are out of Your mind.
Jesus takes the opportunity in teaching these mistaken leaders about the truth that frees and fills the heart with peace and joy; He instructs them about the Resurrection. He tells them in the books of Matthew (22:29ff) and Mark (12:24ff) on the same subject these words: “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I Am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living’”. Jesus affirms with certainty there is Resurrection from the dead. PAUSE.
After all, is this not why He came to earth, was born like us in the flesh, lived the perfect life and died our death so that we may have life and have it abundantly? Is this not why He endured God’s wrath, tasted hell, suffered the punishment we deserve was crucified on the gallows of the cross? Absolutely! Positively! He came to do away with the power of the grave. To free us from the slavery of satan and wipe our hearts clean from sin. His death on the cross and His rising from the dead is both the promise of and the guarantee of our resurrection!
While the lies of our world might lead you to see and believe that there is only an end in death, Jesus gives us so much more! Jesus taught that when someone dies, there’s still more to come. And He wasn’t talking about just going to be with Him on death, wonderful as that may be. No, He was talking about the end of time, the Last Day, the day the dead, our bodies, will rise out of the graves, whatever that grave may be—a casket, an urn, the deep sea, or simply bones turned to dust in a desert. There’s still more.
Think of it this way. There’s life—the life we live right now, day by day. Then we die, and there’s life after death— when the souls of those who believe in Jesus go to be with Him, while their bodies are left behind. Then there’s “life after life after death.” (Note: The phrase "life after life after death" comes from an interview with N. T. Wright conducted by Preaching Today at the 2008 National Pastors Conference.) That’s the Last Day resurrection of the body when it’s reunited with the soul. That’s what Jesus was talking about: There’s still more. There’s a final day resurrection of the body. And that Final Day will know that there is no end.
The Sadducees said they didn’t believe in the Resurrection, but Jesus said, ‘THERE CERTAINLY IS!” In the Gospel of John we even hear Him say these words: “I Am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will NEVER (emphases mine) die (11:25-26).
The Sadducees didn’t get it, because they were “Sad you see.” But the sons and daughters of God believe in this wonderful gift of love and life, hope and heaven. We believe that because Jesus suffered on the cursed tree we don’t have too. Because He was put in a cold grave, we will too some day; but because He rose victoriously on the Third day, we SHALL ALSO. We shall live and be happy, not like the Sadducees who were Sad you see because they have no hope or joy or peace.
To be sure there is more to life than just what we live day by day. Now, we may not be those who deny the resurrection or are so spiritually apathetic, but the Sadducees’ spirit still lives on, even in our own hearts, our own minds. Have you ever felt that way, that there’s no more, that this life is all there is? Sometimes, the doubts are so real. You look at a body in a casket. You see it doesn’t move. The grave looks so final. You wonder, “Is this all there is? Could this be it? There’s no more than what our eyes behold.”
Or perhaps you’re so caught up in everyday life that you’re more like many who have apathy towards Christ and His Word that you care to admit it. Too busy to think about the Last Day of the Resurrection. Too connected to TV, movies, cell phones, Facebook the Internet to give much thought to what more there may be. Too worried about the bills or a family member or your retirement to get excited about. If you are like this, then the spirit an attitude of the Sadducees lives in you.
But we know better. We have studied the Words of Christ. We have heard His promises. We have been baptized into His name. We have dined at His table. We have been fed, nourished and cherished. We have been blessed and by the power of the Holy Spirit, our hearts are filled with pure joy in knowing for certain that there is more than meets the eye. That the God we have is the God of the LIVING and not the Dead.
This truth is also highlighted in our O.T. reading. “God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:15). Did you hear it, did you get it, though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have been dead, the Lord spoke of them as living.
Therefore, I speak to you today the same message of love and life, hope and salvation given to people of old and people of today, we are the sons of the Resurrection. So what’s the question behind the question? It is this: We believe, teach and confess that Jesus Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross and His rising from the dead guarantees my Resurrection and yours. That there is an eternal, physical, redeemed and resurrected life awaiting us! We have our Lord Jesus’ promise on that! Amen
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA