27Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him 28and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30then the second 31and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. 32Finally the woman also died. 33In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.” 34Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; 35but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”
This is a bit confusing, and seemingly pointless... but once we discover a few things, it really opens up!
- Sadducees rely only on the Torah (1st 5 books of the Old Testament) they take it literally.
- Marriage in the Torah was the way to live on past death. It was about keeping your name going rather than romance or love like it is today. It was also about property as men would trade some property for their wives. The father owned the daughter until some dude would buy her from him, basically.
- If a guy dies, his brother marries his wife so that the name will live on. This is the Sadducees idea of "eternal life."
- This was a polygamous society so a brother could marry the wife even if he was already married.
- They are arguing about "life after death" not physical resurrection.
- The Torah doesn't talk specifically or directly about life after death, so the Sadducees reject the idea.
- reframing the idea of marriage, saying that his idea of eternal life has nothing to do with this institution of marriage which is ultimately self-serving and oppressive at that time.
- Using their own scripture to show them how silly their little story is.
- Many "Christians" still read Scripture just like the Sadducees and molest it in a way that proves what they want to prove.
- Jesus speaks to them in their own language to show that their own scripture talks about resurrection.
- The idea of "heaven" isn't as simplistic as we like to make it... it may have a much deeper meaning.
- Many people, Christians and other people like to make these kind of ideas literal so they can try to "prove" or "disprove" something. If it is not meant to be so literal and the beauty comes out in symbolism, metaphor and poetry... we don't get into these arguments and we find truth in beautiful ways.
- This is a shift from "modern" logic and reason based thinking to "post-modern" creative and intuitive kind of thinking. Maybe Jesus was "post-modern" and that's why nobody gets him a lot of the time. (just a joke, kind of...)