(The third of a series of posts from a message on November 6 based on Luke 20:27-40. I encourage you to read the passage first.)
Jesus’ response to the Sadducees’ question about the seven-time widowed woman is blunt. “You don’t know scripture and you don’t know the power of God.” (The first sentence isn’t in Luke’s version of the story, but it’s very clear when Matthew tells this story.)
Jesus isn’t going to answer their question based on their understanding of God. They were creating an example which they hoped would show that the idea of a resurrection was crazy. But inaccurate underlying beliefs never lead to good answers. Knowing only a third-grade version of the Bible doesn’t give us adult answers to our difficult questions. Jesus wants to give them an adult understanding.
So Jesus gives a very elegant answer in the style of their debate. But I need to unpack it into our style of understanding.
ONE: There is a resurrection. They had started by referring to Moses, and Jesus ends with a story of Moses, at the burning bush. When Moses first comes into contact with the power and presence and reality of God, it’s when he’s eighty. In the wilderness. Taking care of sheep for his father-in-law. And he sees a bush, aflame but not being consumed. And a voice says “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
For those who believed in the resurrection, this is a different statement than “I was their God. They lived and died and are gone. But I’m still around.”
It says, “Abraham is here. Isaac is here. Jacob is here. Noah is here. Others are here. Angels are here. There is a whole existence here.”
And because Jesus was speaking as the son of God, one with God, his followers heard this and thought, “If anyone should know, Jesus should.” Some of them had seen Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah.
Jesus implies, “If you are going to teach from Moses, you have to accept where his authority comes from, not just his words.” And it comes from a living God with living people.