10th July 2023
Read - Mark 12:18-27
Message Alan Burke
We look at a passage this week that will fill some of you with delight and others it will fill your eyes with tears. The reason why is that it deals with marriage in at the resurrection and for some of you it will be a relief from what feels like a life sentence but for others who couldn’t imagine a day without your other half or marriage will be no more. What we often miss when we think about marriage is that its purpose is to point us to something else. That something else is Christ and is Church, that is what Paul in Ephesians reminds us as he quotes from Genesis 2:24 in Ephesians 5:32 saying; “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”saying ”This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church' (Eph 5:32). This passage reminds us of the wonderful hope that we have as believers, a hope that is based on what God has done from beginning to end, on his power.
Since arriving at the temple Jesus had been challenged about his authority, had a political hot potato thrown at him and now it moves to theology. For the first time in Mark’s gospel we are introduced to the Sadducees. They were one of a a number of Jewish groups in the first century, there were a few things that marked out the Sadducees, they believed that only the Torah, that’s the first five books of the bible were the word of God. To them anything beyond Deuteronomy was as good as reading the News Letter to direct us how to glorify and enjoy God. The Sadducees give Jesus a senecio, now there are a few things that jump out of us from the page, firstly they preface it with ‘Moses wrote for us’. What they are referring to is known as the levirate law found in Deuteronomy 25:5-6.
The Levirate law provided a way for allowing the family name to continue, to keep property intact, to allow a woman and her children a level of protection that otherwise wouldn’t have been there. Although you might be thinking, thank goodness that this law as it falls under the civic requirement for God’s people no longer applies. This levirate law was given and now the Sadducees give a scenario to Jesus in v19f. The Scenario may sound far fetched, absurd, improbable but the situation they give is not impossible. Given what has just been said we might expect the Sadducees to ask a question on an aspect of the law relating to marriage but instead they ask a question while it is to do with marriage it is on the resurrection, while this doesn’t surprise us after all we were introduced to the Sadducees who didn’t believe in the resurrection in v19 ultimately their question is just another attempt to trap Jesus by his words, by another group who didn’t really like him.
I want to jump ahead for today, look what Jesus then says, v25, how when the dead rise they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. To Jesus the resurrection here is a certainty, the question of the Sadducees and the scenario would have made if the resurrection was a continuation on of this life possibly all of the bothers guilty of adultery, (Lev 18:16, 20:21). Their question in presuming like many people that the afterlife is a continuation of this life does reveal an issue.
Now I know that for some of you who are married the idea of spending eternity with your better half might sound like the stuff made of dreams, for others it might be the stuff made of nightmares. But Jesus here says we will be like the angels in heaven. Jesus again is challenging these sadducees for they did not believe in the resurrection or in angels and both exist. On the final day, when God recreates the heavens and the earth, when God gives us new, glorified, perfected, resurrected bodies, then will we finally and perfectly experience that which we were created to do. Then we will finally know what it means to glorify and enjoy God perfectly, without the burden of sin laid upon our backs, forever! There will be no more tears, death, mourning pain, there will be no more dodgy backs, no more falling out with our shadows, no more disappointments, no more of any of that (Rev 21:4). Instead we will live as Adam was always intended to live, in a covenant relationship with fullness and depth with our God (Rev 21:2), where we will enjoy God’s presence, where we will be his people (Rev 21:3).
Q 94 What is baptism?
Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, (Matt. 28:19) doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’ s. (Rom. 6:4, Gal. 3:27)