The Gift He Brings: Luke 20:27-38
2) The same Moses who wrote the prescription they cite in Deuteronomy also spoke, in a far more central passage, of God as the "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex. 3:6). This description implies the continuing personal existence of those with whom God remains in relationship, including the three patriarchs. The relationship God seeks to forge with human beings in the here and now is one that transcends death. (Byrne, 160)
Jesus' answer is that the resurrection life is not this life all over again. It is a new existence in which we participate in God's eternity. God told Moses that he was the God of his forefathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The "in your face" message to the Sadducees is this: your own tradition implies that the dead still live. For us, the good news is that our lives after we invite Jesus' resurrecting presence in, is not this life all over again either. It is a new existence in which we participate in God's eternity.
"They no longer dared to ask him another question," but one of the scribes in the crowd called out this commendation: "Teacher, you have spoken well" (20:39-40).
This sermon series focuses on our need to prepare for Jesus' Advent, for his entry into human life, into our lives.
The opponents of Jesus were preparing for his death not his life, ensuring his exit rather than welcoming his Advent. They prepared for his death by seeking to trap him in his words, asking him cunning questions about death and taxes. Their harmful intentions are thwarted when his answer to their trick question about the Resurrection affirms rather than denies it, and does so out of their own Mosaic tradition. He affirms the reality of the Resurrection for them and for us.
We are called, in these final, Jerusalem days of Luke, these waning days of autumn, to prepare for the Advent of the Son of Man by affirming the reality of the Resurrection. In this life, here and now, he is already bringing us the gift of a relationship with God that is both personal and permanent. We prepare for Advent by giving thanks for the gift of the Resurrection as we experience it in and through Christ our Lord.
Sometimes, in October or November, I see something that would make a great Christmas gift for somebody. Sometimes, I buy it and wrap it early so I have it on hand. Gratitude for the gift of Resurrection would be the perfect gift to take to a certain baby who is going to be born pretty soon.
E. J. Tinsley, The Cambridge Bible Commentary on Luke
Brendan Byrne, The Hospitality of God: A Reading of Luke's Gospel
Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.