Monday Reverb – 07November2022


MINISTRY FOCUS (brought forward from last week)




This week’s theme is the God who restores.

The call to worship Psalm (Psalm 145:1-5, 17-21) extols God’s splendor and greatness while proclaiming him as faithful and righteous in all his ways, as he hears and responds to the cries of his worshipers.

The Old Testament reading from Haggai 1:15-2:9 has God encouraging his people with the promise that he will restore the former temple to an even greater glory, filling it with his presence.

The Gospel reading from Luke 20:27-38 recounts Jesus’ correction of the Sadducees’ faulty belief that there is no resurrection to life after death.

The epistolary text comes from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17, which also deals with some misunderstandings about the resurrection and concludes with encouragement that the Lord will bring salvation life for the believers to full fruition.




A Final Word on Death

Luke 20:27-38

As we (in the U.S.) enter the season of Thanksgiving and approach Advent and Christmas, it may seem an odd choice of scriptures for the Lectionary this week to focus on the resurrection.  But as we stare in the face of another contentious and unpredictable election cycle, at least in the U.S., perhaps the theme of resurrection is exactly the reminder we need to hear.  It’s in the resurrection that we see the risen and ascended Jesus being crowned the Elect, the King, and Savior of all creation.  As we are reminded that Jesus is the true King and Savior of all the world, we can hold lightly to any results that come from the authorities in this present evil age, no matter what country you find yourself in.

Jesus is still in charge and it’s his Father’s purposes for us that will have the last word, no matter who is elected to whatever position of authority in our day.  In this truth, we can hold lightly to the politics and power struggles we see around us.  We can even participate by voting or not voting, engaging in our world in ways we discern the true King is leading us.  And we don’t have to fear or fret over the outcomesJesus doesn’t allow anything he can’t redeem, and he is working in everything to bear witness to his kingdom where his creation will ultimately come under the Father’s loving rule and righteous reign.

In addition, a focus on the resurrection can prepare us for the upcoming season of Advent, when we celebrate the first and second coming of Christ, along with his continual coming to us in the present by the Holy Spirit.  Maybe we need to hear today that the Spirit comes to enliven usHe also comes with the good news that death does not have the final word.  No matter how often death seems to push itself into our experience of life, we can live in the hope that death is a defeated enemy.  It does not have to set the agenda for our lives.  Jesus is the life given to us today that will never run out in the future.  On these grounds, we will explore further what Jesus says to us from our lectionary passage from Luke 20.

Some context may be helpful.  The story we will be looking at in Luke is grounded in a politically charged environment.  We can often relate to such an environment in our world today.  Jesus has just “cleansed the temple,” which created no small stir with the religious authorities.  He had just messed with their power base, especially for the Sadducees who were in charge of the temple.  Our passage is about the Sadducees trying to discredit Jesus’ authority in reaction to having their control threatened.  This particular challenge is the third in a series of challenges to Jesus’ authority.

  • Luke 20 begins with the chief priests and scribes along with the elders directly questioning Jesus’ authority. He silences them by asking a question of his own regarding the authority of John the Baptist’s ministry. His challengers were in a no-win spot with that question, so Jesus got the last word in that argument.
  • That was followed up by Jewish authorities sending some spies who tried to trap Jesus with a question regarding paying taxes. Jesus again uses their tactic against them resulting in silencing their challenge – once again, getting the last word.
  • And that brings us to the third story, which we will cover today, another challenge to Jesus’ authority.

Let’s see who gets the final word this time around!   Let’s begin the story in Luke 20:


Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and 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.” (Luke 20:27-28 NRSVUE)

We are introduced to “some Sadducees” who are going to try their hand at questioning Jesus.  We are told that the Sadducees say that “there is no resurrection.”  Not only do the Sadducees not believe in the resurrection from the dead, but they also do not believe in the existence of angels.  In addition, they did not accept the additional writings of the Old Testament outside of the Torah – the first five books of Moses.

More about the beliefs of the Sadducees (according to William Barclay) . . .

(a) The Pharisees were entirely a religious body. They had no political ambitions and were content with any government which allowed them to carry out the ceremonial law.   

The Sadducees were few but very wealthy. The priests and the aristocrats were nearly all Sadducees. They were the governing class; and they were largely collaborationist with Rome, being unwilling to risk losing their wealth, their comfort and their place.  

(b) The Pharisees accepted the scriptures plus all the thousand detailed regulations and rules of the oral and ceremonial law, such as the Sabbath law and the laws about hand washing.  

The Sadducees accepted only the written law of the Old Testament; and in the Old Testament they stressed only the law of Moses and set no store on the prophetic books.  

(c) The Pharisees believed in the resurrection from the dead and in angels and spirits.  

The Sadducees held that there was no resurrection from the dead and that there were no angels or spirits.  

(d) The Pharisees believed in fate; and that a man’s life was planned and ordered by God.  

The Sadducees believed in unrestricted free-will.  

(e) The Pharisees believed in and hoped for the coming of the Messiah.    

The Sadducees did not (hope for the coming of the Messiah). For them the coming of the Messiah would have been a disturbance of their carefully ordered lives.  

Watch how Jesus will address some of these other erroneous beliefs in how he answers their question regarding the resurrection.

Before they ask their question, they quote from the Book of Deuteronomy that deals with levirate marriage, which was intended to “raise up offspring” in order to keep the family line going in the event of a husband’s death.

          • Deuteronomy 25:5-10   “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel. But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’ then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’

They believed that life continued through a person’s name, without a need for resurrection.  So, they began from a false conclusion (assumption) to create a question they believed would mock and discredit JesusThey are not genuinely trying to seek answers.

“Now there were seven brothers; the first married and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless.  Finally, the woman also died.  In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?  For the seven had married her.” (Luke 20:29-33 NRSVUE)

Hypothetic scenarios are like science fiction stories.  You get to make up your own rules to operate by.  The Sadducees with their hypothetical story are operating from a set of conclusions (assumptions) that are false.  Jesus enters their thought-world to disprove them from their own starting point.  He corrects their faulty thinking with the reality of resurrection.  And it is a needed correction because the Sadducees’ conclusion running through their made-up scenario has a running themedeath!   When the hope of resurrection is excluded from our thinking, death will control all our stories.  In their attempt to expose how the belief in resurrection is ridiculous, they have exposed that they believe death gets the final word.  They have exposed that their hope is grounded in this present life only.  And like the old joke goes, that is what makes them “Sad-you-see”!

Consequently, you can probably also see why keeping control in the present would be of supreme importance for them.  Considering that the Sadducees were part of the wealthy aristocracy who oversaw the temple, their lives were pretty comfortable.  It could be argued that they were content with life in the present and had little concern for any life after death concepts.

  • In their world, a theology of hope that would articulate belief in a resurrection was not much of a priority.
  • Life was good in the present.
  • And, if there is life after death, then that would mean that how they live in the present could have repercussion for the future.
  • They were used to being in charge.  Being accountable to an authority over them would crimp their style.
  • So, let’s just keep the status quo, shall we?  Why mess up a good thing?

Jesus’ answer is going to challenge their assumptions, as well as their fragile authority built upon them.

Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage, but 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. Indeed, they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:34-36 NRSVUE)

Jesus responds by showing them the fallacy of their reasoningTheir argument is built on the assumption that the way things are in this life will just continue for eternity if there is a resurrection.

Jesus corrects this assumption by …

  • telling them that those in the age to come will not marry or die but be like “the angels.”  Remember, the Sadducees did not believe in angels.  Jesus shows their lack of understanding is due to their lack of belief.  And what a comfort it is to know that the way things are now is not the way of Jesus’ kingdom.   Let’s face it, if life were to just continue for all eternity just the way it is now, that would be more like a hell than heaven.  Praise God that resurrected life is not fully comparable to our present lives.  This doesn’t mean that we will be entering an alien world.  Rather, it means that we will finally be at home as God’s children where all the hypothetical worlds melt away.  Reality will finally be real!

Jesus also corrects the Sadducees by …

  • comparing their faulty understanding to a picture of the life to come.  In this coming resurrected life, there is no more death.  In this resurrected life we have the Son of God as theraised-up offspring” that ensures our eternal provision as children of God.  This is the life Jesus brings us into.  It’s only in Jesus that we truly have our hope, in this life and the next.  As we place our hope in Jesus, we do not have to fear, fighting for control in the present.  We trust all things to the reign and rule of the King.

Now, Jesus has one more thing to say to the Sadducees:

“And 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. Now he is God not of the dead but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” (Luke 20:37-38 NRSVUE)

Jesus doesn’t just leave the Sadducees in their ignorance.  He takes them where they are to bring them further in knowing whose they are.

  • Since the Sadducees only regarded the five books of Moses as authoritative, Jesus quotes Moses to establish that God is a God of resurrection.
  • He wants them to know that God is a God of lifeDeath does not rule or get the final word.
  • In whatever we see going on around us today, we can trust the God who has revealed himself to us in Jesus.

This is important for us today, but it still raises questions, doesn’t it.

  • What does it mean to “be like angels”?
  • What happens to the relationships we have now?
  • Why is there no marriage in heaven?
  • Does that mean there is no intimacy?

For many, that makes heaven sound a little less than desirable. We don’t have all the answers to all the specific questions but here’s are a few things we do know:

  • God created us in his image, to be in relationship with him and with others.
  • God created marriage (and sex) as a blessing to be enjoyed in healthy relationship.
  • God created all things for our benefit and enjoyment.
  • God wants us to enjoy the eternal relationship he offers through Jesus.
  • The greatest relationship we’ve been invited to is the relationship shared by Father, Son and Spirit.

I believe it is safe to conclude that the One who loves us enough to send his son to die for us so that we might be with him for eternity, has a life so good we can’t even imagine it.   The resurrection isn’t our hope just so we don’t fear death as much, it is our hope because it leads to a life we can’t even imagine.

The resurrection promises us a life of no more pain, no sorrow, no tearsJesus came so that we can have that resurrection life.  We don’t know the details, but we can look at how much the Father loves us, and we can trust that resurrection life is better than anything we can imagine.

The Father is the one who brings us into resurrected life even if that means bringing us through death.   We see he is true to his Word as he raised his Son in the Resurrection and anointed him King in the Ascension.  We have just a taste of his goodness nowIn our resurrected life, we will see the fullness of God’s love and goodness for us.







REFLECTION … Thoughts/Comments







  1. Join us tomorrow evening, at 7:30 p.m. (JM time) for our Zoom Bible Study.
  2. Join us next Sunday, at 10:00 a.m. … for our Zoom LinkUp (Sunday service).
  3. Join us next Monday, at 7:30 p.m. … for our next Monday Reverb, when we hope to start developing our DISCIPLESHIP PROGRAM.  We want your help in putting the program together, so come prepared to comment and make suggestions.

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