The Passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke
A Guide to Meditation and Prayer
Week 3 - Day 1
The Greatest Promise
The Nature of the Resurrection
Meditation on Scripture- Read Luke 20:27-40 and write your reflections in the workbook. Use the summary below for further reflection on the passage. Prayer- Use the Guide for Prayer.
This is another account in which the religious leaders tried to ensnare Jesus in his words. The Old Testament law had a provision for the care of widows. The widow was to be married to the next closest kinsperson. For the sake of inheritance rights, any sons born would be considered part of the deceased husband’s line. In this sense the new husband was raising children for another. It was not always something a person wanted to do yet it provided for widows in their need. In the story of Ruth, for example, there was a closer relative with whom Boaz had to check before he could take Ruth as his wife.
The scenario that the Sadducees presented was obviously contrived. Seven brothers all had the same wife, one after another. Who would she be married to in the resurrection? There are two important things to note in Jesus’ response. We learn something about the resurrection, which is that marriage is not an integral part of that realm. Apparently this is not an institution in which the angels participate and we will be like them. Jesus’ words go back to the account of creation in Genesis. One of the purposes of marriage is to be fruitful and multiply. This is a function of human existence; the angels do not marry and have children. Some have wondered if part of the reason for our existence is to have a mechanism for repopulating heaven after the fall of the angels.
The second part of the passage is a remarkable exposition of scripture by Jesus. Since the Sadducees only thought the books of Moses authoritative, Jesus answered them from those books. His proof of the reality of the resurrection was that God said that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This meant that he was not the God of the dead, but of the living. So astute was Jesus’ answer that even the scribes acknowledged its wisdom.
Things to Consider –
· What do you think about Jesus’ comments about the resurrection? What excites you? Does anything bother you about them?
· Christianity believes that we retain our identity in heaven. This is why God could speak of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as still alive. Why do you think this is important? What is comforting about this?
· Who would you like to meet in heaven?
· Do you think you might be able to meet people like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? What might you say to one of them?
· What family members would you like to see again?
· If you could ask Jesus an honest question about heaven or hell, what would it be?
· If you were more confident about heaven, would it make your troubles here seem less significant?
Guide for Prayer –
· As a preparation for prayer, reflect for one minute on the scripture verse that says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
· Thank God for three people who have been important in your life.
· If possible, thank God for at least one person, no longer living, who has been important in your life. If it seems appropriate, ask God to take care of them in heaven and keep them in his care.
· Take a moment in prayer and imagine what heaven might be like. Imagine yourself there, along with God, Christ, and the saints.
· The Bible says that heaven is beyond what we can completely imagine (I Corinthians 2:9). Consider what you would like heaven to be like? What would be the best heaven you could imagine? Then in prayer, try to imagine something even greater than the best you can imagine.
· Since Jesus’ death and resurrection have provided us the promise of eternal life, thank God for Jesus and what he did. Tell God you are truly grateful.
· Ask God to help you see your problems and troubles in the light of eternity. Mention any specific stresses for which you would like help.
· Pray for God to open the heart of any person you know who does not believe, so they might have eternal life. Pray earnestly for at least one person.
· Take some moments to offer your own prayers to God. Offer whatever prayers and praises seem appropriate.