Life in the Future World
(Mark 12.18-27; Luke 20.27-40)
23 The Sadducees did not believe people would rise to life after death. So that same day some of the Sadducees came to Jesus and said:
24 Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother.
25Once there were seven brothers who lived here. The first one married, but died without having any children. So his wife was left to his brother. 26The same thing happened to the second and third brothers and finally to all seven of them. 27At last the woman died. 28When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? She had been married to all seven brothers.
You are completely wrong! You don't know what the Scriptures teach. And you don't know anything about the power of God. 30 When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 31And as for people being raised to life, God was speaking to you when he said, 32 “I am the God worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” He isn't the God of the dead, but of the living.
33The crowds were surprised to hear what Jesus was teaching.
How easy it is to misinterpret God’s word, especially when we read it through the lens of unbelief or limited understanding.
The Sadducees believed that there was no life after death. Seeking to prove their stance correct, they tried to engage Jesus in debate. They referred to Moses’ teaching about widows marrying their husband’s brothers, and then they applied that law to a Jewish folktale about a widow who married seven brothers. “When God raises people from death, whose wife will she be?” they asked.
Jesus answered, “You are completely wrong. You don’t know what the Scriptures teach.” Then he reminded them of other biblical teachings that, when studied as a whole rather than as isolated tidbits, proved the reality of life after death.
Care must be exercised when studying the Scriptures. They contain instruction for our lives. They provide guidance to help us flourish. They teach us God’s thoughts about important matters such as forgiveness, sex, marriage and divorce, and financial stewardship. We need to seek the Holy Spirit’s understanding to help us interpret and apply their truths correctly.
Biblical illiteracy, or our stubborn sinful nature, can sometimes cause us to pull Scripture from its context to defend our wrong attitudes or behavior. “An eye for an eye means I can take revenge on the person who hurt me,” we reason. Picking and choosing Scripture to support our misguided perspectives only leads to trouble.
Let’s learn to study God’s word accurately. We do well to view life through the lens of its truth rather than its truth through the lens of our unbelief or limited understanding.
Dear Lord, thank you for giving us the holy Scriptures. Please give me an unquenchable desire for them. Teach me how to apply them to my life. Never let me take them out of context to defend sin or selfishness lest I go astray or lead someone likewise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.