Reflection for the Second Sunday of the Kingdom
‘Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “……..In the resurrection, whose wife will the woman be?”
Jesus said to them, “They cannot die anymore….being children of the resurrection… He is God not of the dead, but of the living.” Then some of the scribes replied, “Teacher, you have spoken well.”Jesus, in today’s Gospel Luke 20:27-38.
”What I love…..is not knowing until half an hour before we record it what the questions will be. I love the risk and the jeopardy.” Fiona Bruce, Chair of BBC’s Question Time.
What an astonishing week Jesus has had. His lengthy journey has nearly reached its end and he has wept over Jerusalem before entering it and being welcomed by crowds of people. He has then overturned the tables of those profiteering from worshippers in the Temple and stayed in the Temple teaching whilst his enemies seek an opportunity to have him killed. His authority is under question (20:1-8) and so Jesus has told the provocative parable of the wicked tenants (20:9-19), has avoided a trap about taxes (20:20-26) and has now been approached with a tricky question from the Sadducees. He faces great controversy and conflict – many are plotting against him to try and bring him down, a situation that former PM Liz Truss and some current politicians might also recognise!
The Sadducees were some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in Jerusalem but also amongst the most conservative in their thinking which meant that they and the more liberal Pharisees often disagreed. Jesus now faces their hypothetical question of remarriage after divorce, as was the custom to provide care for the widowed and orphaned. The Sadducees dream up a situation where seven brothers married the same woman when each of them died and they ask whose wife she would be at the resurrection. As the Sadducees don’t believe in resurrection, Jesus is able to avoid their trickery and tells them that what applies in this world will not be the case in the next. He reinterprets what Moses wrote about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in particular, and, as they disagree with him and are reluctant to change their thinking, the Sadducees melt away. His response even earns him the praise of the scribes, who tell Jesus he has answered well – whilst plans continue to try to trap him.
Tricky questions are often used to confuse as well as to clarify but Jesus continues to speak honestly and openly of new life and heaven even in the face of the plotting and duplicity he is experiencing. Eventually, even the crowd will turn against him and death will try but fail to claim him. Resurrection will prevail because Jesus is willing to risk everything for the sake of all humanity and so jeopardy is overcome. As the dilemmas and challenges of our situations are faced in these changing times, perhaps there is a need to reinterpret and extend some of our beliefs to enable us to look beyond the immediate. In so doing, we may find the new life and hope of resurrection of which Jesus then spoke as we seek answers to our questions today.
With my prayers; pob bendith,