Summary: 2nd of 5 on Life after Life. This messages looks at the issue of marriage in heaven. It also deals with the purposes of marriage and sex.
There Are Many Curious Questions About Heaven
In 1973 a movie came out called “The Sting.” Maybe you have seen it. It’s really quite enjoyable because we get to watch a grafter in action as he “con’s” his mark out of half a million dollars – and getting away with it scot-free!
The whole plot is built around a scam. The whole thing is designed to trick and trap the mark. Solomon said that, “there is nothing new under the sun.” and he was right.
This morning we are going look at a scam – a trap – an effort by the ruling class to back this upstart from Nazareth into a corner from which he cannot escape. No matter what he says – his credibility will be ruined and his following dispersed.
So in the tradition of “The Sting” let’s review the setup. Before we begin I’ll let you in on a little secret – the sting didn’t work for a couple of reasons which we’ll look at in a minute.
But the really good news is that we gain some real insight into the future life after life that we look forward to – in Jesus. But I digress – back to the story.
Luke 20:27 Some Sadducees, who believed people would not rise from the dead, came to Jesus
The Sadducees were a secular group of leaders. The were the political left wing of the Jewish culture and they didn’t believe in an after life. (That’s why they were sad – u – see. Sadducee. Get it?)
They, like the Pharisees – the right wing fundamental political party based on religious beliefs – were very concerned about Jesus. His sizeable following and his radical teaching was threatening their power and their position.
They set a trap to take Jesus down.
28 They asked, “Teacher, Moses wrote that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, then that man must marry the widow and have children for his brother.
Here the Sadducees refer to part of the Mosaic Law. While it may sound strange to us the purpose of the law was the preservation of the family and it’s wealth. The possessions of each man were to be passed on to the first-born child. If there are no children then there must be a way to preserve the legacy and wealth of the family line.
The Mosaic Law said that a man’s brother HAD to marry the widow and their children would be considered as the children of the dead brother. They would receive the inheritance and the legacy of the family.
So now the stage is set for the trap.
29 Once there were seven brothers. The first brother married and died, but had no children. 30 Then the second brother married the widow, and he died. 31 And the third brother married the widow, and he died. The same thing happened with all seven brothers; they died and had no children. 32 Finally, the woman died also.
33 Since all seven brothers had married her, whose wife will she be when people rise from the dead?”
The trap has been set. The bait is in place. Jesus answer would be controversial and confusing to the audience. It was designed to undermine Jesus’ popularity and drive a wedge between his supporters. No matter what he said – some would think him foolish – at the very minimum. At worst he would be regarded as a crackpot and a religious extremist that could be easily marginalized.
What we see here is good old American-style politics in action.
Let’s look at the trap carefully before we examine Jesus’ answer. There was a flaw in this carefully designed question.
The Curious Question of the Sadducees
Oh, the Sadducees had an ingenuous little snare – with just one problem. Their question was based on a total ignorance on the eternal realm to come.
They didn’t understand what they were talking about! The Sadducees had made an erroneous assumption, an assumption based on what the Pharisees taught about the resurrected life, namely, that life in the age to come would be just like life in this age – only much better.
They were interpreting heaven from the viewpoint of earth. Jesus, on the other hand, was teaching that we must interpret earth from the viewpoint of heaven.
They had their perspective backwards. That major error still exists today, even among Christians. Sadducees, Pharisees and many people today erroneously think that this life is the model for life in eternity. While it is true that life-in-time is the precursor for life-in-eternity, it is not the model.
The only way to get into eternity is to be born in time, into time and onto earth. Last week we talked about Hades as the place of the dead and how there was a waiting room there with a great chasm between two regions – one of comfort and one of torment. We also looked at Eph 4:8-9 which showed how that Jesus entered into that place of death and freed those held captive and took them to heaven.