IS THERE REALLY LIFE AFTER DEATH
The sadducees do not believe in the resurrection, accepted only written scriptures and attached more importance to the Pentateuch.
They came to Jesus with a test question designed to make the belief in individual resurrection look ridiculous after resurrection. Who will be the husband of a woman who was married to seven brothers when they all died?.
Jesus answer really falls into two parts. First, he deals with the manner of the resurrection. He lays it down that when a person rises again the old laws of physical life no longer obtain. The risen are like the angels, and physical things like marrying and being married no longer enter into the case. Jesus was saying nothing new. In Enoch the promise is ” ye shall have great joys as the angels of heaven”. In the Apocalypse of Baruch, it is said that the righteous shall be made like the angels”. And the Rabbinic writing themselves said that in the life to come, there is no eating and drinking, no begetting of children, no bargaining, jealousy, hatred and strife, but that the righteous are satisfied with the glory of God.
Second, he deals with the fact of the resurrection. Here he meets the sadducees on their own ground. From the Pentateuch where they place their evidence of no resurrection, Jesus draw his proof. In Ex 3:6, God calls himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the God of the living and not of the dead, then it presupposes that the partriarchs are still alive so resurrection is proven.
What was the mistake of sadducees? Creating heaven in the image of earth. Men have always done so. The red indians, who were by nature hunters, conceived of a heaven as a happy hunting ground. The Vikings who were by nature warriors thought of heaven as a place where they would be drinking wine from cups made from the skull of their conquered foes. The mohammedians were a desert people living in circumstances where luxury was unknown, so for them heaven is a place where men would live a life replete with every sensual and bodily pleasure. The Jews hated the sea and thought of heaven as a place where there would be no more sea.
Always men have tendency to create in thought a heaven to suit themselves, sometimes that idea can be poignantly beautiful. During the 1914 – 18 war, the west Minster Gazette printed a lonely little poem about those who had died for their country:
” they left the fury of the fight. And they were tired. The gates of heaven were opened quite unguarded and unwired. There was no sound of any gun. The land was still and green. Wide hills lay silent in the sun, blue valleys slept between. They saw far off a little wood. Stand up against the sky. Knee deep in grass a great tree stood, some lazy cows went by. There were some rocks sailed overhead, and once a church bell pealed. God, but it’s England” someone said, and there’s a cricket field.
There is wistful beauty and real truth in the poem. But we do well to remember that paul was right ( 1Cor 2:9) when he took the words of the prophet (Is. 64:4) and made them his own. He said ” what no eyes have seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him” the life of the heavenly place will be greater than any conception this life can supply.
In conclusion, our blessed lord based his conviction of the resurrection on the fact that the relationship between God and a good man is one that nothing can break. God was the friend of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when they lived, and you know what- that friendship could not cease with death.
In a word, there is only one immortal thing it is LOVE, love of God and love of neighbour