Today’s reading: Matthew 22:23-46
Today we read the famous question of the Sadducees and their attempt to trap Jesus. The Sadducees were different from the Pharisees in their theology. They did not believe in the resurrection and they accepted only the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament. (One can see a parallel in the Protestant’s rejection of some books of the OT). Their question is meant to trap Jesus by presupposing an example that should look ridiculous in the context of resurrection – If a woman is validly married seven time in life, whose wife will she be at the resurrection.
Jesus not only answers their question he does so in a way to teach them an important theological lesion. Jesus says that in heaven there will be, “no marrying and giving in marriage; they are AS the angels in heaven are.” Notice, Jesus does not say that we BECOME angels in heaven. He says we are AS the angels are. Thomas Aquinas said that every angel is a unique species. In other words, each on is a complete perfection of its kind unto itself. This is how we will be, perfectly joined to God. There will be no need to be joined to another.
Next, notice how Jesus expertly establishes theological basis for the resurrection to the Sadducees. They only accept the first five books of the Pentateuch. So, using books they except, the shows that when God identified himself to Moses as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob they had physically died yet God also is the God of “living men”. Thus, he shows the Sadducees something that had been there, in their accepted scriptures, right in front of them for all this time and they had missed. Sadly, this is how our Protestant brothers and sisters interpret the bible today, often missing the implications of what is right there in front of them.
Tomorrow: Matthew 23: 1-22