For others, they debated Him simply to try and trip Him up (Mark 12:13). But for a group of Sadducees, they had a theological bone to pick with Jesus. For them, the resurrection was problematic. It didn’t make sense. For them, it didn’t mesh with some of Moses’ teaching. Case in point? A hypothetical scenario where a woman who, over the course of her life, ends up married to seven different men, all who die prematurely. Thus, their question; if there really is a resurrection, “when they rise, whose wife will she be?”
And something in Jesus’ answer to those skeptics 2,000 years ago brings tremendous assurance and comfort to this believer concerning the loss of a friend less than a week ago.
Jesus spoke to them, “Isn’t this the reason why you’re mistaken: you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised — haven’t you read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God said to him: I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.
(Mark 12:24-27 CSB)
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were long gone when Moses stood that day barefoot before the glory of God. Yet, Jesus points out, God was still their God. My friend, Tim, breathed his last on earth this past Saturday morning. Yet, even now, he too stands before the Glory. For God is still His God, as well. For our God is not the God of the dead but of the living.
Nothing pretty about death. Nothing easy about saying goodbye. But, for those who are His, nothing permanent about it either.
Death is defeated. Because Jesus rose from the grave and lives forever, those who have been redeemed through His blood will live forever as well. As Paul would put it, mortality will “be swallowed up by life” (2Cor. 5:4b). Thus, for those who know Jesus, we can say “we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2Cor. 5:8). And that’s because our God is not the God of the dead but of the living.
He is the God of Abraham, who lives. He is the God of Isaac, who lives. He is the God of Jacob, who lives. And He is the God of Tim, who lives.
Oh, to know the Scriptures. Oh, to believe the Scriptures. Oh, to live, now and forever, in the confidence of the Scriptures.
By His grace. For His glory.