Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Resurrection and Everlasting Life

I don’t think the Sadducees really cared about Jesus’ opinion on resurrection (Luke 20:27-38). Not unlike news reporters who ask leading questions to which they already know the answer, the Sadducees tried to embarrass Jesus by having him say something that “contradicts” the law. Yet, motive aside, was their question really unreasonable?  The Sadducees saw the whole person as mortal and did not believe in "resurrection.” They attempted to use the Jewish law on women, marriage and procreation to trap him. Of course in all cultures marriage and procreation are crucial to maintaining stability and preserving survival and Jesus is really not rejecting or taking a stand on the importance of marriage. However, he is telling the Sadducees that marriage is irrelevant and procreation is unnecessary in life eternal.

 Much of our belief on Christ’s resurrection on the “third day” comes from the way in which the Church interpreted the Creed throughout the centuries. David Steindl-Rast writes that “Jesus’ resurrection has nothing to do with coming back to life (like Lazarus in John’s Gospel). The Creed does not talk about any coming back; resurrection is a sacred movement of completion. It’s a new beginning into a new level of life in which the power of love breaks the bonds of death. The followers of Jesus experienced the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a life-changing conviction.”

The Sadducees used the laws of Moses to trap Jesus on resurrection. However, Moses was dealing in a time and place during which a man was responsible for the preservation of his lineage and his family by marrying his deceased brother's wife (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Jesus stance on earthly convention had nothing to do with the earthly laws of Moses which do not apply in heaven. We are confined to understanding that which we are capable based on our human intellect. God s not bound to our human understanding or to our dimension. God is about something more.

For many of us mystery became an adversary; unknowing became a weakness. The contemplative spiritual life is an ongoing reversal of this adjustment. It is a slow and sometimes painful process of becoming ‘little children’ again in which we first make friends with mystery and finally fall in love again with it again.”  (Gerald May, Dark Night of the Soul).


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