Summary: Sermon for the 23 Sunday after Pentecost About Heaven
23rd Sunday after Pentecost
"Life After Death"
23 ¶ “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were graven in the rock for ever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth;
26 and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. RSV
27* ¶ There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection,
28* 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 wife and raise up children for his brother.
29* Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children;
30 and the second
31* and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.
32 Afterward the woman also died.
33* In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”
34* And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage;
35* but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
36* for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
37* But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.”RSV
Job asks a question that has been asked from the beginning of time and still is being asked today. In Job. 14:14 he asks, "If a man die, shall he live again?" "If a man dies, if you die, if I die will we life again’? That question has been part of the human predicament of sin since the fall of Adam and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis. It is a question the even in our modern scientific world begs to be answered. If a man dies, will he life again? Is there anything after death? If there life after death?
These questions, the discussion concerning death is a difficult subject for us in this country to deal with. We have so shut ourselves off from death by having people die in hospitals, by having funeral homes be in charge of the dead body, by having the dead person look like they are alive by the modern means of burial, that death no longer seems real, nor part of the human experience of life. Death is a subject we reserve for funerals, but not for every day living.
But in Jesus day, death and the questions concerning life after death were very much part of their every day experience. The Sadducees believed that there was no life after death. They could not find in the books of the law any reference to life after death. But the Pharisees, the highly religious people, believed that there was life after death. These two groups were in constant struggle over this subject. Almost where ever these two groups met, this subject of death and life came up. Each group trying to persuade the listeners their side was right
So a group of Sadducees came to Jesus trying to see how he would react to their questions concerning life after death. The had been able to use this argument many times to defeat the Pharisees, so they decided to test this country preacher, to see if they could trick him. Now in the laws of the Penteuch, or the first 5 books of the Bible it is stated that if a woman’s husband dies and they have no children, the husband’s brother would marry the woman so the family line would go on. The Sadducees take this problem to the absurd by saying this woman outlived 7 husbands and had no children with any of them. Then they ask their trick question, if heaven or after life is like this one, whose wife will she be, since all of these 7 men were her husband? The Sadducees came from the perspective that heaven or the after life is going to be like this one, so which husband would this lady live with for the rest of eternity