Summary: The application that believing in the Resurrection has to lives while we still live here on earth.
Living and Serving God with Resurrection Eyes
2nd Last Sun. in Church year - 11/18/01
vs. 38 Jesus said, "He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive."
What does the future hold for you? For any of us? That’s the million-dollar question that everyone is seeking the answer to, isn’t it? Can we really know anything at all about our future? Some would say absolutely not. No way! Others will tell you all kinds of things, probably more than you want to know about your supposed future if you pay them a few bucks. But what is the truth? What about my future life here on earth? There are certain things that we do know, because God has revealed them to us in His word. But before we can understand our earthly future, we first have to ask, "What will happen to me when I die?" Job asked, "If a man dies, will he live again?" (Job 14:14). You see our eternal future directly affects our earthly future. So we start with Job.
I. The God of the Living
A. The Sadducees were living for death.
The first part of his question asks, "If a man dies…" Doesn’t that sound kind of strange? Everyone dies don’t they? Of course they do. That’s the one thing that is certain - all people die. So why do we in America work so hard to deny its reality? We have people die in hospitals, we have funeral homes deal with bodies for us, we pay money to make our dead look like they are alive, many people shield their children from funerals and for some the subject of death is a forbidden conversation. Is it because we don’t want to face the reality of our own death? In the end that attitude will show itself to be silly won’t it? Because all people die.
In Jesus’ day, death and questions about it where right out in the open. And in particular within the Jewish faith there was a great debate over Job’s question. The Sadducees believed that there was no life after death. The entire Spiritual realm of angels and heaven, hell and Satan were non-existent to them and irrelevant because of they rejected the resurrection. They Pharisees however believed in all those spiritual things including a resurrection to eternal life. Yet both claimed to believe in Scripture as God’s word. You see, it’s not only today that people can read the very same words and come to all kinds of different conclusions about what is true.
The Sadducees heard Jesus teaching about the resurrection and they wanted to try and prove Him wrong. They even used Scripture, actually they misused it. They set up a ludicrous scenario about a women, her husband who dies and six brother-in-laws who die as well. Jesus begins with that subject of marriage but He quickly uses God’s Word correctly and shows them how far off base they really are. Because the Sadducees didn’t have "resurrection eyes" they couldn’t see the real meaning of life here on earth. They were all about death. But the true God is all about life.
Paul gets it in the proper perspective in Romans 6:23. He acknowledges that we all must die because we all are sinful to the core. But he looks at it through "resurrection eyes" when he says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
B. Jesus is the God of the Living.
Jesus proves this gift of God to the Sadducees before Him by taking them into Scripture - to Moses at the burning bush. He said, "Even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ’the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’" (v. 37). When Moses was speaking with God, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been "dead" for many, many years. And yet God uses the present tense for each one of them - "I am the God" of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ex. 3:5).
God makes it even clearer by telling Moses that His name is "I AM" (Ex 3:14). From the perspective of Moses (and us) this name is recorded through out the Old Testament as "Yahweh" which means "He is". With God, every generation is present tense and once He is your God He is your God forever more. Yahweh told Moses, "This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation" (Ex. 3:15). Those words prove the resurrection because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, though they no longer lived on earth, they still were very much alive with Yahweh as their God. He is their God forever, just as He is yours and mine.