Luke 20.27-40 — How to take this?

There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother.

“Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second and the third took her; and likewise all seven left no children, and died. Afterward the woman also died.

“In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For all seven had her as wife.”

And Jesus said to them, ‘The children of this age marry and are given in marriage; but those who are accounted worthy to attain to the age [to come] and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.

“For they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection.

“But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls The Lord ‘the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’

“Now he is not god of the dead, but God of the living, for all live to Him.”

And some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

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8 responses

  1. The Talmid Rebbe | Reply

    It sounds to me like Moses was saying Kaddish!

    Is the wife a reference to the Shechinah?

    1. You’d have to explain to me how you figure this, but it’s interesting!

      Both things, Kaddish & Shechinah!

      “All of these men died before they could produce a child with her?” Wow!

    2. The Talmid Rebbe | Reply

      We say “Kaddish” at the end of every prayer service, usually preceded by saying the names of those who’ve passed on. This is our prayer for the dead. This originated in Babylonia so Jesus probably knew it. Interestingly, the meaning affirms life, not death. This is how we remember those who’ve gone before, and give them a part in the world today, as Moses did, when he said the names “Abraham,” “Isaac,” and “Jacob.”

      The “Shechinah” is the feminine aspect of God that we welcome when we study or prepare for Shabbat. Did you ever sing “L’cha dodi” at your Renewal shul? The meaning of the refrain is “Come! Let us greet the Shabbos Bride!” Every Shabbat Evening is a wedding, and every Shabbat a honeymoon. But if we don’t honor that bride (e.g. honor Shabbat or study Torah), we won’t produce any children (literally or ideas and discussion), and we won’t be remembered (no place in the world to come biologically or spiritually).

    3. If I’d made been to a Friday night service (something I think they managed mainly for festivals) they might have chanted that one… But not Saturday morning that I recall.

      Yeah, I read somewhere that Kaddish was like being willing to affirm that God is a righteous judge, right at the peak of an event that often leaves people feeling strongly otherwise.

      The Shechinah was of course a concept that appealed to many there… and seemed quite present, to our observation.

      But I really think the essence was: “But all live to Him.”

      1. The Talmid Rebbe | Reply

        What do you suppose it means, for all live to Him?

        One interpretation: resurrection iinto after-life

        Another interpretation: God recalls her spouses and children perpetually in kaddish

        It seems to me a message of profound mercy at any rate, if all live to Her, how can any be unworthy to us?

  2. The big question, of course, is probably:

    Does this mean: ~’They don’t do that yucky biological stuff anymore’? —

    Or is it more like: ~’They don’t confine themselves with artificial bindings’?

    1. The Talmid Rebbe | Reply

      Well, I’d say losing the yucky biological stuff is a minus.

      Artificial bindings? Free nookie for all?

  3. I think it is fairly clear that the main point in this whole series of stories is Jesus shutting up his opposition. That does two things, it gives him time (of which he has little left) to concentrate on his real message, and it confirms their enmity and precipitates the crucifixion.

    As for the meaning of the first part of his answer here, it seems pretty obvious that he doesn’t see the future life being like this one. The key difference is the lack of death, so there will be no need to replace the population, hence no need for marriage/sex (that said, I assume that either the pleasure of sex will continue or be replaced by something even better!).

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