23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
The above words were some of the choice words Jesus used during his last days or even hours of freedom while he walked this earth. Soon he would be arrested, killed, and suffer for our sins. At such a time, each word Christ spoke become more important -- they seem to be geniusly chosen as only the Holy Spirit can do to perfectly illustrate the primary messages of Jesus.
Matthew 22:31b-32 " ... have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
Jesus is quoting from Exodus 3:6, and he is stating the reality that we have a living and eternal hope. The word Jesus used for living or life comes from the Greek word "ζάω (zaō): live, be alive, live again, resurrection life." I followed this word through its use and forms in the Bible and elsewhere. I kept coming back to one simple reality, "With God we have life."
This statement regarding life is interesting for several reasons. One, the Sadducees, who were present, did not believe in an "after-life" and that is why it is claimed they were so "Sad-U-See." Jesus' claim of life in God may have insulted their beliefs. Perhaps, they felt the Scripture was being used against them when Jesus quoted Exodus 3:6. It was a portion of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament), which they accepted as truth. Maybe to some it provided a fresh chance to consider the possibility of life in God. More importantly, "What does it mean to us?"
No matter how the original listeners responded, Jesus was in reality alluding to so much more than the Saduceees were hearing or were willing to consider. Jesus knew that in a few days He would die and three days later would rise from the dead so that God's promise of being the "God of the living" would be reality. Jesus was about to make it possible that each of us could have eternal life!
I think I am perhaps most excited about the word "life" or "God of the living" for two reasons.
1. If a living organism stops developing, it becomes sick, decrepit and dies. With God, we never stop developing because our lives are eternal. This means we serve a God who is still building us, making us better, wiser, more experienced. We serve a God of the living; our bodies may be aging, but we have not even touched our real potential compared to eternity.
2. God not only says we are living, but He is "our God." That means that we are not only "alive," but we have a God of amazing power, strength, character, creativity and love, who chooses to call us His own. That means we have someone in charge of us who can and does do amazing things in us and through us; best of all, He has not even really started with us, considering how long eternity is.
Tomorrow's Scripture is from Matthew 23.
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