Luke 20:27-40 (ESV)
There came to Jesus some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, and they asked Him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died. Afterward the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”
And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to Him.”
Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask Him any question.
Gasoline is more expensive than it was a year ago. It costs more now to fill up your car with gas. But have we really let that slow us down? Have we stopped from going places and doing things? For many, if not most, the answer is ‘NO’. We just keep on driving. We need that fuel, and so we keep buying it, even if it is more expensive than last year.
Our souls need fuel also. As believers in Christ, we have souls that needs to be filled up on a regular basis. What is the fuel that God has provided for our souls? It is the Word of God which reminds us of all the promises He keeps. The good news is that the cost of filling up our souls with the promises of God has not changed all these years. God’s Word is still free, and always will be free. What we receive from God’s Word for our souls will take us much farther than a tank of gas.
One of the promises that Christians have been filling up on over the years is the promise of the new life that is to come. The Bible is very clear that for us as Christians there is a whole new life that is waiting for us after we die to this life. But many say, “I don’t want to think about that right now. I’m too busy living the life I have right now.”
What we need to understand is our future. It helps us deal better with our life right now. An illustration of this is like when we know that we are going to receive a big bonus check from work tomorrow, we are not as worried about that unexpected bill we received this weekend. If we are flying to warmer area tomorrow, we are not as bothered by the cold weather we are having here today. As Christians, when we know there is a brand new, much more wonderful and beautiful life waiting for us in the future, it helps us now as we go through the ups and downs of our lives today.
But what will that new life be like? In the Gospel passage for today Jesus describes what we have to look forward to in our future. He told us about this so we will find encouragement and comfort that we can use in our life today.
Jesus was answering questions from a group of people called Saducees who did not believe in a life after death. They felt that once you die, that’s it. Those people tried to trick Jesus with a question about marriage and how that relates to the resurrection. Part of Jesus’ answer says: “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.” That is what happens in this life. But look what happens in your future life – “but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Jesus said that there will be no marriage in heaven. If you are married now, you will be able to recognize your spouse in Heaven. But you will not be married in Heaven.
Why not? Jesus gave us some light on this when He went on to say, “they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels.” In the life to come, there will not be any death. One of the main purposes of marriage was to provide a way to populate the earth, because people keep dying. But you will not die in the life to come. You will be like the angels that way. You will be an eternal creature that does not age and does not die. That is one reason there will not be any marriage in Heaven.
Another reason there will be no marriage in Heaven is that in the life to come you will have a perfect relationship with God: “they are … sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” You will be a child of God in the full sense of the word. Our relationship with God will be perfect – so satisfying, so joyful – that the earthly relationship of marriage will not be necessary. In a sense, God will be your companion – you will never feel a sense of loneliness, because you will be in the presence of God, and that will never end.
Imagine being surprised by something, because it was better than you expected it might be? Like when you go on a vacation and the weather there was more beautiful than you expected. Or like when you get to the top of a mountain and look around at the view and smell the clean air, you might say this is more beautiful than you had ever imagined. You will say the same thing in the life to come. Being with God in eternal life is better than we could ever imagine it would be.
As we live our lives here, our bodies get older and will wear out. Eventually our bodies will temporarily shut down. But from God’s point of view, we will not really die. Our bodies will shut down, but we will continue to live on as a spirit, and be alive in Heaven. Then, on Judgment Day, Christ will raise up our worn out bodies from the dead, and change them into something much better than the bodies we are living in right now. Then we will be alive again, body and soul. That is how we will be forever, enjoying the presence of God like we never experienced here in this life. Everything will be much better than what we had expected.
Will that happen to you? Jesus said: “those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead.” Are you worthy enough to be a part of that new life? Are you worthy enough to have God bless you this way? Our consciences should say: NO, we are too sinful. There is no way that someone who has sinned could ever enjoy eternal life in Heaven.” The Devil agrees with that way of thinking. This person is not worthy enough to be a part of that new life.
But that is not what Jesus would say. So how does a person become worthy? The passage from Revelation last week pointed out that they are the ones who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. That is what makes people worthy. The blood that Jesus shed on the Cross as the sacrifice for all the sins of the world is what makes a person worthy.
The robe of your life is washed clean in the blood of Jesus Christ when all the things we have said or done is confessed as sinful before God. By God’s grace through faith in Jesus all sin is taken away, our robes are washed clean. Because of Jesus then, you are worthy enough to have eternal life. Revelation describes a great multitude worshiping before the throne from every nation, tribe, people, and language.
The phrase ‘all good things must come to an end’ will not apply to the celebration of eternal life. We will not get tired of worshiping God. That is our future as Christians. We do not have to say “I hope this happens” or “Maybe it will happen” or “Wouldn’t it be nice if that happened”. We can say confidently This will happen. This is our future.
So when good things happen to you in this life, rejoice, and thank God for those good things. But remember that better things are coming. And when bad things happen to you in this life, it is natural to feel disappointed, even depressed. But remember that there is a new life that is coming. You have something wonderful waiting for you in your future. May that give you peace and joy as you live your life right now, in Jesus’ name.