Meditation: Is your life earth-bound or heaven-bound? The Sadducees had one big problem – they could not conceive of heaven beyond what they could see with their naked eyes! Aren’t we often like them? We don’t recognize spiritual realities because we try to make heaven into an earthly image. The Sadducees came to Jesus with a test question to make the resurrection look ridiculous. The Sadducees, unlike the Pharisees, did not believe in immortality, nor in angels or evil spirits. Their religion was literally grounded in an earthly image of heaven.
The Scriptures give witness – we will rise again to immortal life
Jesus retorts by dealing with the fact of the resurrection. The scriptures give proof of it. In Exodus 3:6, when God manifests his presence to Moses in the burning bush, the Lord tells him that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He shows that the patriarchs who died hundreds of years previously were still alive in God. Jesus defeats their arguments by showing that God is a living God of a living people. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when they lived. That friendship could not cease with death. As Psalm 73:23-24 states: “I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”
The ultimate proof of the resurrection is the Lord Jesus and his victory over death when he rose from the tomb. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he exclaimed: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25). Jesus asks us the same question. Do you believe in the resurrection and in the promise of eternal life with God?
Jesus came to restore Paradise and everlasting life for us
The Holy Spirit reveals to us the eternal truths of God’s unending love and the life he desires to share with us for all eternity. Paul the Apostle, quoting from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17) states: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” God has revealed to us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). The promise of paradise – heavenly bliss and unending life with an all-loving God – is beyond human reckoning. We have only begun to taste the first-fruits! Do you live now in the joy and hope of the life of the age to come?
May the Lord Jesus put his hands on our eyes also, for then we too shall begin to look not at what is seen but at what is not seen. May he open the eyes that are concerned not with the present but with what is yet to come, may he unseal the heart’s vision, that we may gaze on God in the Spirit, through the same Lord, Jesus Christ, whose glory and power will endure throughout the unending succession of ages. (Prayer of Origen, 185-254 AD)
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you, I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before you.
4 For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment.
5 You have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
6 The enemies have vanished in everlasting ruins; their cities you have rooted out; the very memory of them has perished.
15 The nations have sunk in the pit which they made; in the net which they hid has their own foot been caught.
18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish for ever.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Jesus cites Moses to affirm the resurrection, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
“The Saviour also demonstrated the great ignorance of the Sadducees by bringing forward their own leader Moses, who was clearly acquainted with the resurrection of the dead. He set God before us saying in the bush, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’ (Exodus 3:6). Of whom is he God, if, according to their argument, these have ceased to live? He is the God of the living. They certainly will rise when his almighty right hand brings them and all that are on the earth there. For people not to believe that this will happen is worthy perhaps of the ignorance of the Sadducees, but it is altogether unworthy of those who love Christ. We believe in him who says, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’ (John 11:25). He will raise the dead suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, and at the last trumpet. It shall sound, the dead in Christ shall rise incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52). For Christ our common Saviour will transfer us into in corruption, glory and to an incorruptible life.”(excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 136)