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March 12 | Mark 12:18-27


 

DAILY READING



 

REFLECTION


In the Resurrection

by Dan Kidd


After Jesus had entered the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and merchants, he was confronted by the priests, teachers of the law, and the elders who demanded to know under what authority Jesus had done such a thing. Jesus responded by telling them a parable, similar to Isaiah's vineyard song, casting these religious leaders as the violent tenants who would kill the vineyard owner's son, after having beaten his servants. The priests, teachers, and elders were incensed with Jesus and, in today's passage, we hear of another encounter between Jesus and the Sadducees, who (like the Pharisees before them) were looking to catch Jesus in a rhetorical, or perhaps doctrinal, trap.


The Sadducees, whom we are told did not believe in the resurrection, intended to use lawful marriage as proof that God couldn't have intended both lawful marriage and resurrection. In their scheme, either Jesus had to undermine the meaningfulness of marriage, or admit that resurrection violates marriage vows. On its face, this might be an interesting question to ponder (even if it were not motivated by rotten intentions), but Jesus rejected the question outright (or perhaps more accurately, those asking the question), because it lays bare ignorance of both Scripture and the power of God.


Though it doesn't serve us to speculate about relationship statuses and the particularities of romance in the resurrection (and in fact, I think this passage is in part is directing us away from such concerns), I think we can confidently say that what we have come to treasure about marriage in this present age is but a glimpse of the treasures we can anticipate in the resurrected age to come. Whatever that means, however that will shake out, the love we have now--the love we receive, the love we give, the love we commit to--is, like everything else, but merely a sweet taste of what love is and will be in the Kingdom of God, who is Love.


While I suspect our motives for asking questions about life and the life-to-come will be less hostile and accusatory than the Sadducees', we might still find ourselves more like them than we'd prefer to admit. Because, truth be told, it's all too easy to underestimate the power of God; to be imaginatively constrained within the finitude of this present reality. How might things that seem so irreversibly broken be made whole again? How might scarcity be entirely replaced with sufficiency? How could enmity be usurped by unity, fear overcome by confidence, and death be defeated by life? How could love--the kind we share in marriage--possibly be replaced with anything better? I wonder if Jesus might answer something like, "with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."


It is my hope that we might not let the limitations, the finitude, or the brokenness in this present age to hinder our faith in the power and trustworthiness of God and what the Lord has in store for us tomorrow and in all ages to come.


PRAYER


Lord, you have shown yourself time and again to be trustworthy, and generous, and capable of things beyond what we could think to want or ask for. Help us again to put the entirety of lives--past, present, and future--into your capable hands. Save us from action and inaction borne from fear, distrust, or scarcity, but lead us in the light of your power and your wisdom. Indeed, yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory. Forever and ever, Amen.




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