Luke: Who’s Wife Dilemma and the Sadducees

Read Luke 20:27-40

Enter the Sadducees. Luke inserts the memory of a conversation that includes the Sadducees, along with others. They don’t believe in the resurrection, life after death, spiritual battles, or anything not explicitly written in the first five books of the Old Testament. Their impact on Jewish culture was significant during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but they ceased to exist as a group when the Romans destroyed the Temple in A.D. 70., about the same time Luke was writing his gospel.

I don’t want to get side-tracked in discussing the Sadducees, but it’s important to dwell on them a bit to appreciate the question and answer to their “who’s wife” dilemma they pose to Jesus.

Consider this modern example. If someone from a highly politically motivated group came to a debate at a church and asked a question that was meant to support their radical beliefs, how would you respond? To make the example a bit more poignant, let’s say the group is a Pro-Life, abortion advocate, trying to secure more funding for Planned Parenthood. Is your blood pressure rising a bit now? In my mind, this is what the Sadducees represent. At this point in history, they had significant political clout. It’s an interesting study, but I’ll hold off for the moment and simply provide a link below if you’re interested.

The Resurrection

The fundamental question in this discussion is that of the resurrection. Is there life after death? Jesus answers the Sadducees question with an argument that undermines their basic belief system. By pointing to Exodus 3:2-6, the burning bush, where Moses hears the voice of God proclaim,

I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Exodus 3:6

Jesus soundly proclaims there is an afterlife.

He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. Luke 20:38

This has to put them on their heals, scratching their heads, as they wander off, dismissed by the Son of God.

Is there marriage in heaven? Was that really the question? For those who are with Jesus, He provides some insight, even though it is hard to understand beyond some practical reasoning.

But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels
Luke 20:35-36

Since we can no longer die, it makes sense that we don’t need marriage in heaven, nor do we need to continue procreation. Sorry. It’s different in eternity!

But don’t miss the beginning of that quote, “those who are considered worthy…” That had to sting a bit for all to hear.  At first, I suspect the Sadducees were glad to hear that heaven was for a select few until Jesus explained the resurrection in terms of Moses as mentioned above.

There will come a day of judgment, a time we don’t like to dwell on when there will be a separation between those who believe in Jesus and those who do not.

Lord, help us to be a people who are not dissuaded by powerful political people inside or outside of the church. Help us to be a people that are drawn to You, who hear Your message of salvation and the hope You taught in the resurrection for all.




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