18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 "Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?"
24 Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' ? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!"
Thoughts: Many today envision marriage when it is going well- lasting into eternity and beyond. But when marriage is going bad, they hope it will not last another day. Marriage is a gift from God given to us in this life. It is a commitment to live together and love each other "til death do us part." It is true that human love may last forever, but it changes when we get to heaven for we are not the same creatures then that we are now. A good marriage, like a good life, I believe, will be rewarded in heaven. When in heaven we see the person we shared so many memories with we will be able to rejoice together and the bond between the two will be truly great (less forgiveness needed and more wonderful memories shared). This contrasts with the Islamic view of heaven which appears to be unlimited sexual pleasure for the male (72 virgins for the martyrs- I've wondered if the virgins thought they were in heaven). Marriage is one of God's greatest gifts- and it is to be treasured and honored- by all. Yet even this great human love pales in the face of God's eternal love, and the gift of the love and bond we will have in heaven with Him and with each other.
Prayer: Lord, help me to honor marriage today. But also give me a longing for heaven.
John Calvin abridged: The Saducees, who did not believe in the resurrection or immortality of the soul (so that we do not differ from beasts), were trying to trick Jesus. They still maintained that God was the Judge of the world and that He controlled life through providence, but the reward of God was found only in this life. They were appealing to Moses (Deut. 25:5) who allowed a widow to be re-married by a near relative if no children were granted by the previous marriage. "You err not knowing the Scriptures"- Christ appeals to the scriptures. When we err, this is the usual source of our error- ignorance of the scripture. "Like the angels"- Not that we will be angels in every respect, but that we will be free from the frailties and desires of this life. Luke expresses that they will no longer die- thus not needing the propogation of their species, as on earth.