(Published late at night because – Sunday and church obligations make it hard to write this earlier!)
1 Kings 6-7 Luke 20:27-47
“Jesus said to them, ‘On earth, people marry and are given to someone to marry. But those who will be worthy to be raised from the dead and live again will not marry, nor will they be given to someone to marry.’” (Luke 20:34-35 NCV)
One thing the Jewish leaders were good at was knowing the Law. The sad thing was that they used that knowledge for self-justification and to trap Jesus. After one group failed to trap Jesus on the taxes, the Sadducees took their turn and tried to trap Jesus on marriage. The Law stated that if a married man died before he had children, his brother was supposed to take his widow as his wife and the first child would be considered the dead brother’s child to carry on the family name. The Sadducees used that Law to propose a highly improbable situation to show how ridiculous the idea of an afterlife was. The poor widow in their example had to deal with a total of seven husbands in this life and the Sadducees wanted to know who the one husband would be in the afterlife. Jesus answer is a shocking picture of the afterlife: there won’t be any marriages there.
My understanding of what Jesus said extends that idea so that I don’t even think we’ll be with family in heaven. How often have we been comforted by the idea that when someone dies, they’ll be greeted in heaven by family and friends? People who know they’re dying will often talk about going to meet those who’ve gone before. This verse calls that idea into question. We use those metaphors to talk about heaven because it’s the most beautiful place we could imagine. What could be more wonderful than to be in the presence of the Lord with family and other loved ones? If I’m right, as amazing as that reunion of family and friends may be, the joy of heaven awaiting is far greater. Obviously, no one knows exactly what our eternity in heaven will be like. I believe the most important feature is that we’ll be with Jesus. We’ll walk with God. There will be no more sin or sadness. The only tears will be tears of joy. I believe that the relationships we have now will continue, but they’ll be perfect – not marred by sin. And if I’m wrong about this, especially because my vision is too small, I’m willing to trust God to take care of the heavenly arrangements.
Lord, I don’t know what heaven will be like, but I know that I’ll be with You and that I can trust You to do what’s best.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.