Dec. 3 Luke 20:27-40 Heather Macarthur
So this is the time that the Sadducees (who don’t believe in the Resurrection) try to trap Jesus with their question about the woman who marries the seven brothers, all of who die, leaving her alone and with no children. This interaction that Jesus has with the Sadducees comes hot on the heels of his tussling with the Scribes and Pharisees about where his authority comes from, and if the occupied Jewish people should pay taxes to Caesar. It seems that the church leaders of the day are trying very hard to trap Jesus and show him up in front of the people for being a fraud. But, as usual, Jesus has more in mind than just answering an obvious set-up question.
This story disturbs me because it reveals so much about what women had to endure in Jesus’ time. There is so much that is wrong with humanity illustrated here for us. A woman has no rights of her own, she is merely property. She is married to one brother (likely through no choice of her own) and then when he dies, is passed on to the next and then the next, and so on down the line. Her sole purpose and worth are based on providing an heir for the family.
In his answer Jesus provides a sharp contrast between the ingrained (some might say systemic) injustices of the societies we’ve created by describing the elevated state of true humanity after death as “children of the resurrection” (I love that term), “neither marrying nor being given in marriage”. Real equality for all at last. Don’t get me wrong, I love being married, but I don’t think that’s the point here . What Jesus is describing is so much more than the practice of marriage. It’s a completely different way of living and being in relationship with one another and God, than what we settle for now. In this advent season it is worth remembering that all the injustices we see running through our world will one day all be overturned. As we wait this Advent let us remember that we wait as future “children of the resurrection”. I believe living into that promise of resurrection life means we should commit ourselves to dismantling the many systems of injustice we participate in every day.
Dear Lord, as we wait for “all things to be made new”, remind us daily to live into the promise of resurrection. Amen.