Summary: As we wrestle with the question of resurrection and after life, we come to the point that life can be lived with a certain amount of hope, adventure,daring and confidence. See this world and this life through our Lord's eyes. Through resurrection eyes.
If you are not familiar with an Anglican Service there are four passages of Scripture that are read prior to the Message. Today's assigned readings are: Haggai 1:15 - 2:9; Psalm 14:1-22; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 and Luke 20:27-38.
A Church Elder came by to visit the new pastor ... one Sunday afternoon.
He was a highly respected member of this congregation for over ... 25 years.
While they were sitting on the back porch of the parsonage ... the man said, ...."Pastor, I've got something to tell you.
I've never told this to a soul, ... it's extremely difficult to tell you this now, ... my wife and I ... have argued ... or had a fight almost every day ... for the past 30 years ... of our marriage."
The pastor was taken back.
He nervously took a sip of his coffee.
He wasn't sure what to say.
After a brief pause, ... the young Pastor said, "Everyday?"
"Yes, ... just about ... every day."
"Did you fight today ... before you came to church?"
"Yes." .... "Well, how did it end up?"
"She came crawling to me on her hands and knees."
"My Goodness ... what did she say?"
"Come out from under that bed you coward ... and fight like a man!" (Pause)
Well, our Gospel lesson today ... recalls the friction ... the arguing ... and the fighting ... that was going on between the Pharisees and the Sadducees almost every day during this biblical period.
I'm sure you wondered how I was going to pull that one together.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees were in a constant struggle .... over the subject of ... life after death.
Almost every time these two groups met, ... the subject of life and death ... would arise.
Each group trying to persuade any listeners in the crowd ...that their side was right.
The Sadducees, ... who were generally more wealthy and aristocratic ... than the Pharisees.
The Sadducees ... put their stock ... only in ... the first five books of the Old Testament.
If it was not clearly stated in the Pentateuch, ... then they put no belief in it.
And, as far as they were concerned, ... there was no mention of the resurrection of the dead ... anywhere in what they called ... "The Books of Moses."
If it did not state it in the Pentateuch, ... the first five books of their Scripture, ... they just did not follow it ... or ... believe it.
In fact, ... the first five books of the Old Testament were the only Scriptures ... that they followed.
The Pharisees, ... on the other hand, ... depended not only on the Pentateuch ... but also gave credence to the writings of the prophets.
They also believed in the oral tradition ... that had circulated for many years ... in regard to Moses.
And within that oral tradition ... was the belief ... in the resurrection of the dead.
Not the Sadducees.
That is the backdrop to this confrontation between the Sadducees and Jesus.
And since Jesus was the new prophet in town ... and up to this time ... was primarily skirmishing with the Pharisees and/or the scribes ... it was now the Sadducees' turn ... to take him on.
They were determined to see what this upstart Galilean is made of.
So, they have come to him ... with their clever little riddle.
However Beloved, ... this tricky riddle was not about the law ... or to whom she would be married.
You see, ... the Sadducees, ... when they ask this question of Jesus, ... are not trying to learn anything new.
They do not really have any interest in the resurrection ... or the life to come.
For ... They do not believe in it, ... and no one is going to change their minds.
They are trying to toy with Jesus, ... perhaps to get him riled up, ... and to take a stab at the Pharisees in the process.
They are attempting... to prove their theological and biblical superiority over those who disagree with them.
Well, ... the Sadducees have stuck a riddle before this Nazarene rabbi, .... and they think they have him.
It involved seven weddings ... and a funeral, ... and true to form, ... they are using their beloved Deuteronomy ... straight out of the Books of Moses ... as their proof-text.
When it came to governing the early life of Israel, ... the leading fathers tried to think of every contingency, ... any every eventuality ... that might arise.
One of the solutions they came up with was known as the levirate (Lev--e-ret) law of marriage.
In the book of Deuteronomy, a provision is made for the perpetuation of the family. (Deuteronomy 25)