Since the day Jesus arrived back in Jerusalem, riding on a colt and receiving the praise of the crowd (Lk.19:28-40), He taught daily in the temple (19:47). And like any good teacher, He provided opportunity for Q&A. But those who took advantage of the air time from the crowds, instead of being honest and open seekers, were corrupt and self-serving subverters. In hopes of tripping Him up with His own answers, they peppered Him with their own crafty questions.
They questioned Him concerning the source of His authority–though they weren’t really interested in dealing honestly with His answer (Lk. 20:1-8). And they questioned His allegiance to Caesar, hoping that, perhaps, He’d say something that would, if not turning the crowd against Him, might provoke Rome against Him (20:19-26). And then, hoping to at least discredit Him as a Teacher of Moses, those who denied the resurrection questioned Him on His theology (20:27-33). And this they did with what they thought was a brilliant riddle sure to poke holes in the idea of a bodily resurrection.
According to Moses, they said, imagine a scenario where each of seven brothers ends up legally marrying the same woman, and then dying, over the course of her lifetime. And so, they asked, “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.” (20:33).
(To be honest, I might be asking a different set of questions. Like, “Is there something seriously wrong with this lady’s food-safe skills?” Or, “Were each of these dudes carrying a pretty hefty life insurance policy?” But I digress).
And it’s something in Jesus’ answer that has me thinking this morning.
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.”
(Luke 20:34-36 ESV)
This age vs. that age. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning.
The confusion of these riddle-makers was that they lived in the here and now with no regard for the there and then. They refused to recognize, or maybe just failed to remember, that there was more to life than just one’s “threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength fourscore years” here on earth(Ps. 90:10 KJV). That the implications of an eternal God who is the God of the living (20:39) is that there will be those who live eternally. That while this age is temporary, that age is not. And that what governs and is valued in that age is likely very different than the dynamics of this age.
And I’m thinking that those of us who have been “considered worthy to attain to that age”–not through any works or merit of our own, but through the finished work of the spotless Lamb of God on the cross and His worthiness credited to our account–would do well to ask ourselves, “Are we living for that age or are we overly caught up in the confusing riddles of this age?”
For example, as has recently been pointed out to me through a number of sources, in the church we may have so over-emphasized the marriage relationship that we’ve forgotten that the enduring, eternal relationship will not be that of man and wife in wedlock, but of brother and sister in Christ. That while romance may be glamorized in this age, it will be the family relationship–those bound together through adoption as sons and daughters of God–which will forever glorify God in that age (Eph. 1:5-6).
To be sure, we are children of the day. But we must never forget that we will soon be children of the resurrection. That while there are many good things to be enjoyed in this age, they should not distract from, or cloud the glorious things of that age.
By His grace. For His glory.