Stories Jesus told with women in them
Parable of the women with 7 husbands (Luke 20:27-40)
Jesus decided to take the Sadducee’s question seriously. He talked about marriage, and the life to come, with His usual calm authority. After agreeing that people marry, and, in this woman’s case, are given in marriage, He went on to say—and I think He looked pointedly at the Sadducees when He said it, (I am going to break it down into bullet points, plus add emphases of my own:
- Those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage
- They can no longer die; for they are like the angels.
- They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.
The Sadduccees may have been familiar with God’s word, but they had not come to experience His word as active in their own lives. They did not take God at His word, put their faith in Him, and live out what He said was right and true.
This is different than following rules perfectly, or being able to recite scriptures from memory. When you and I are willing to apply God’s word to our real life circumstances, amazing things begin to happen – first inside you, and next inside the people around you, and that spreads out into every life situation you are involved in.
When you live out what God is saying to you in scripture, by intentionally internalizing God’s words and wisdom and ways, and live by them, you will experience the power of God.
Jesus described what immortality was really going to be like:
- We will be like the angels, never dying, always with God, full of His riches and glory, full of His joy and exuberance.
- As His children we will enjoy every privilege of a royal heir.
- As the collective Bride of the Lamb of God, the whole concept of marriage, unity with God and with each other, the fellowship of love, will be transformed.
Think what we have to look forward to!
The Lord quoted from Exodus 3:6, straight out of the Pentateuch “But in the account of the burning bush, 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.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Jesus validated scripture as God's spoken word, and as literally true. The use of the present tense for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was the Lord's assertion that there is an afterlife. Since these men all died, they had to come to life. To live after death presupposes a resurrection.
That was a major, major coups de grace. The Sadducees were being taught about life after death from the only scriptures they would accept as authoritative. They didn’t believe in the resurrection, but they could not refute Jesus’ flawless exegesis.
What do you believe about Jesus’ physical resurrection? If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the whole structure of Christianity collapses.
- If He isn't risen, we won't rise from the dead either, we stay dead
- All the apostles are liars, and the whole religion is a big farce
- We will die in our sins – there's nothing that can save us from hell
Jesus' words are validated and proved to be literally true through His own bodily resurrection, recorded in all four Gospels, referred to often in the epistles and described in Acts 1.
Some have asked, over the centuries, was Jesus' resurrection actually more of a resuscitation, only to die for real at some point later on?
The answer: Of all the people who would recognize death, it would be a Roman centurion, trained in killing. The centurion in charge of Jesus' crucifixion made very sure that Jesus was all the way dead. Jesus passed from existence in a purely human body, the mortal kind that we live in, to existence in an immortal body which by definition, and like the angels, lives forever.
Was the body abducted somehow?
The answer: The record of Jesus being buried by Joseph of Arimathea, protected by a heavy, sealed stone door, and guarded by armed and trained Roman soldiers is fundamentally reliable, and not disputed.
Was Jesus' resurrection only spiritual, not physical?
The answer: The New Testament authors carefully listed eye witnesses to the bodily resurrection of Messiah. In total, Jesus appeared to all eleven of the remaining disciples, to some individually, to members of His family, to all of the women who had gathered with the disciples, individually to some other followers, to groups of up to 500 people at a time, and finally to Paul.
These earliest Christians didn't just endorse Jesus' teachings, they were convinced they had, themselves, been with a fully alive Jesus after His crucifixion. They saw Him with their own eyes, walked with Him, touched Him, heard His voice, felt His breath and ate with Him; that's what transfixed their hearts and minds, that's what changed their lives and started the church.
- Every single disciple was willing to be martyred for his belief.
- James, Jesus' brother; and Saul of Tarsus were both hardened skeptics who became believers after Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them – they, too, were willing to be martyred for their belief
- Pentecost happened. Why else would believers wait in that upper room except that the resurrected and glorified Jesus had told them to, to receive the Holy Spirit
- Of the volumes of written material still around from that time period, no one, not even Josephus, tried to refute the eye witness accounts of Jesus' resurrection. The best they could come up with was to call it magic
The solid fact of the resurrection acts as proof of most other Christian doctrines. It proves Jesus' deity, and that His sacrifice for sin was complete and accepted. It proves there is more to life for us, now that we are God's own adopted children.
Because Jesus lives, we also will live.
All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.