Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 3, 2006
- Chi Rho Reflection for the Week of September 3, 2006
As one of the on-going ministries of Chi Rho
Press, here is a selection from our book of daily
devotions, "Living as the Beloved: One Day at a
Time," by the Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok.
Please read the Scripture passage and Dr. Bochonok's
meditation. We hope you will be blessed.
Thank you for forwarding this to your friends.
Heaven and marriage
"The same day some Sadducees came to him, saying
there is no resurrection; and they asked him a
question, saying, 'Teacher, Moses said, "If a man
dies childless, his brother shall marry the widow,
and raise up children for his brother." Now there
were seven brothers among us; the first married,
and died childless, leaving the widow to his brother.
The second did the same, so also the third, down to
the seventh. Last of all, the woman herself died.
In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven
will she be? For all of them had married her.'
Jesus answered them, 'You are wrong, because you
know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are
given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you
not read what was said to you by God, "I am the
God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob?" He is God not of the dead, but of the
living.' And when the crowd heard it, they were
astounded at his teaching."
The Sadducees challenge Jesus by telling a
hypothetical story of a bereaved woman who
survived seven husbands. They wanted to know
if there was a resurrection of the dead, like
Jesus taught, whose wife would the woman be who
had been passed on to so many brothers? As odd
as their custom might seem to us, they did not
have a social security system to assist widows
and provide bereavement benefits. When husbands
died, widows were handed down to the next
surviving brother of the deceased in marriage.
The brother was mandated by the law of Moses
to marry his brother's widow and procreate
children if the widow was childless. The
purpose of this law was to continue the family
line and protect the vulnerable widow in a
patriarchal society. If the widows were not
protected in this way, they would either starve
or be forced to survive through prostitution.
As the children grew, they would be able to
care for their aged mother.
However, Jesus understood the Sadducees had a
hidden agenda in their questioning. This was
a test. With a few words, Jesus thoughtfully
reinterpreted Levitical law (Deuteronomy 25:5-6)
and offered a revolutionary new understanding of
life after death. Traditional marriage was for
this world only.
Marriage and traditional family values are often
in public debate these days as growing numbers of
same-sex couples around the world seek public
recognition and legal protections equivalent to
those of heterosexual couples. But back in the
time of Jesus, there was no such public dialogue
about what makes a family. Whatever our sexual
orientation and however we define marriage, we
would do well to remember that in the next world,
the institution of marriage will not exist as we
know it. According to Jesus, we will be like
angels in heaven. There is life after death.
The ancient crowd was astonished by his answer.
Even today, this is impossible to fully understand.
But what I understand is this there is hope of a
resurrection for all of us. It is a living hope
through a living God. The grave is not the end
but the beginning of something beyond our human
comprehension. Someday we will find ourselves
singing with the angels. So as death approaches,
have no fear. We will dwell in the presence of
God forever and it will be glorious.
God, this teaching of Jesus is difficult to
understand. Bless our comprehension and comfort
those who live in hope of resurrection. Amen.
Grace and peace,
Chi Rho Press
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