Luke 20 v 38. “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
When the Sadducees tried to express what they thought was the fallacy of the resurrection by presenting Jesus with a fanciful illustration of a woman who outlived seven husbands, they made two mistakes.
The first mistake was to assume that conditions in the world to which the resurrection admits us are simply a continuation of this life. Therefore marriage relationships contracted here in this life, will continue there. This is the kind of false logic that issues from falsely held beliefs. Often opponents of Christians think they know what Christians believe when in fact they do not. Their assumption was utterly wrong.
Jesus taught that in the resurrection the redeemed will be like the angels in two respects. Firstly, they will never die, and secondly, they will not marry.
Who of us can even begin to imagine what the next world will be like? Its glory is far beyond our understanding and these relationships which God ordained for our help and comfort here will not be required there, although they do offer a glimpse of something greater awaiting us.
The second mistake was the assumption that whatever relationship formed between God and man in this life was only temporary. It would be severed at death and then there would be nothing. But that is also not true. Because God is eternal, the relationships he forms with us are also eternal. That is why Jesus referred to Moses in verse 37. At the event of the burning bush (Exodus 3 v 6) God refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been dead for centuries. But the eternal God could not be characterised by something or someone who no longer exists. Therefore Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must still be alive somewhere awaiting resurrection. So what Jesus was saying is that the truth of the resurrection to life is not a fantasy, but rather the very nature of the eternal God requires it.
Although we cannot see those who have gone before, nevertheless “to him all are alive” (v 38). Our hope of a world to come is not a dream or a myth. The very nature of God requires it to be true.
This is a great comfort to us. But what about this strange piece of Old Testament legislation quoted by the Sadducees? We will look at that tomorrow.