There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 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 widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. 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. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.
Comment: We need to know a couple of things about the Sadducees.
- They were not orthodox in their beliefs. They didn’t believe in life after death, which the Pharisees did.
- They were very much into politics, and certainly didn’t want Jesus bringing trouble with the Romans.
- It was the Jewish law that if a man died without an heir to whom he could pass his property, the man’s next brother was to marry his wife and produce a child in his name.
They concocted this fantastic story of a woman being passed serially onto a further six brothers in an attempt to get progeny. Then, they ask, in the afterlife, whose wife will she be. It’s a nasty attempt to get Jesus to say something which as far as their belief is ridiculous as there is no after life in their theology and his answer would probably stir up the Pharisees to hate Jesus more and thus spur on their common desire to have Jesus done away with. So Jesus gives them a glimpse into marriage in heaven (it doesn’t happen) – and attempts to straighten out their theology, taking them back into the history of Moses, Abraham and the beginning of the Jewish nation. He graciously shut them up. The scribes who believed in afterlife congratulated Him!
Prayer: In all my dealings with you Jesus, help me to maintain my integrity.