7 November 2010

Luke 20:27-38

"The fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush..." (v.37)


In today's passage the Sadducees - a priestly group who denied the existence of an afterlife and the coming of the Messiah - are trying to trip Jesus up. Their ridicule is based upon what is known as Levirate Law, which is found in Deuteronomy 25:5. According to the law, if a man died childless his brother must marry the widow so she can have children to carry on the family line.

It is probable that this law was no longer in use at the time of Jesus, so in one sense it appears like a trick question. But Jesus, as usual, takes the question seriously. By using a quotation from Exodus 3:6, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," he argues that the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) does imply a belief in the afterlife.

In talking about the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6) Jesus is saying that all life, here and hereafter, consists of friendship with God and nothing less is worthy of the name of life. Abraham was the friend of God, and it is incredible that such friendship should be severed by death. Death may put an end to physical existence, but not to a relationship that is by nature, eternal.

To Ponder

What does 'friendship' with God mean to you?

Is an eternal relationship with God important to you? Why?

Bible notes author

The Revd Richard Teal

Richard Teal is a Methodist minister currently serving as chair of the Cumbria Methodist District. He has a deep interest in ecumenical relationships, Church growth and liturgy.