Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
I have this reoccurring dream. I’m in an airport and I’m looking for the departure gate of my flight. I’m running all around, looking, looking, looking and I just can’t find it. I go down one hallway, then another. I start running, looking on all the displays for my flight. It’s flashing “BOARDING” but the gate number and location are a mystery. I become frantic as I start asking people where the gate is. And just before the plane pulls away from the gate – I wake up.
I don’t know what scares you most, or what is your mountaintop failure. But in my little, weird world there is NOTHING worse to me in this world than being late. Late for anything. To miss a flight means that you were not on time. It also means that you can’t follow directions. Two of the cardinal rules that were drummed into me as a child.
The Sadducees, these supposed religious experts, asked Jesus a knotty problem, which he quickly and easily unravels. He brings them to the logical conclusion that they don’t know the scriptures or the power of God.
Now, he addresses their second question about people being raised from the dead. And again, for Jesus, the answer is not the result of our figuring it out on our own, or some experiment. Jesus takes them back to the scriptures for a most simple answer.
And the answer is not to quote some prophet or writer, which would be good enough. No, he quotes God himself when he appeared to Moses. God introduces and identifies himself as the God of the “Big 3” in the Hebrew world – Abraham , Isaac, Jacob. Now, these guys all physically died long before Moses walked the earth. So, what is God saying? That he was alive when they walked the earth?
God is saying to Moses that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who physically died long ago are still alive. God is saying to the Sadducees that these three may be gone from this earth, but they’re not gone. They are still alive.
Jesus is saying that there’s something more to existence than just existence on this earth. Life might start out for us on earth, but it doesn’t end when our heart stops. And while we may miss them, and they are gone from us, they’re not gone from God. On the contrary, they are gone to God. Death may separate us, but it doesn’t separate people from God.
People think of death as the final conclusion. The last act in the play of life. Because there’s no coming back from death, it draws the curtain closed over life. It’s the end. Nothing more.
But Jesus says that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And to think anything else is to completely miss the boat. Or in my case, miss my flight.
Have you ever considered that might be where you are headed? That you are missing the point. Missing the boat. Missing your flight when it comes to life?
Jesus says that these guys have completely missed the mark. They’ve wandered from the path. They’ve abandoned the truth. They have been deceived.
We don’t like to hear those words because the best, most positive thing that we want to be said about ourselves is that we’re smart. And to be proven wrong by Jesus means that we weren’t all that smart to begin with.
And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. If I’m proven wrong about how to use my phone, that’s one thing. If I get lost or can’t find a gate at the airport, that’s something else. There are results, consequences to all these.
But to be wrong according to Jesus, now that’s not just bad, that’s B-A-D!!! There are severe, life threatening, life ending, eternal consequences. So, it’s important to think about life, truth, meaning, and purpose. But not just what I think about them, or what some writer thinks about them, no matter how many people watch their podcast, or “Like” them on social media.
It’s time to consider Jesus as a person and his opinions on life. What does he say is important? What’s true? What’s right? And then to do whatever it takes to fall before him and say the simple statement that starts the journey.
Saying yes to Jesus changes everything. When we say yes to Jesus, we have to turn away from everyone else. Everything else. He gives us himself, to forgive our sins, and make us new.
Now, that’s really good news.