Like The Angels
Chan Gin Kai
Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. Finally, the woman died too. Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?” (Luke 20:27-33)
The Sadducees were an aristocratic class of priests, and were a separate group of religious leaders from the Pharisees. They did not believe in resurrection, spirits or angels. Like the other religious leaders, they too were against Jesus and they questioned him to try to trap him. They asked Jesus a very hypothetical question, with the hope of proving that the concept of resurrection was nonsensical.
The Sadducees quoted one of Moses’ law that was set to protect widows and help ensure heirs for a deceased man. They then built a ridiculous case around it to try to prove a totally separate idea (in this case, resurrection) wrong.
Just like how the devil was able to twist scriptures to tempt Jesus, these Sadducees twisted scriptures in their attempt to trap Jesus. Let’s not be surprised if others try to do the same with us as well.
Jesus replied, “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection. But in the account of the burning bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Some of the teachers of the law responded, “Well said, teacher!” And no one dared to ask him any more questions.(Luke 20:34-40)
Now here comes the really interesting part, not just because of how Jesus managed to answer his opposers, but what we can learn here about our resurrection.
Jesus explained that there is no more marriage in heaven. This easily cleared the “tricky question” that the Sadducees set. But what does it mean to us?
My wife and I have both discussed that the saddest part of heaven is that we will no longer be married to each other. But we’re both well aware that what we will gain in heaven will far surpass every joy we have or will ever experience on earth, including our marriage. In fact, the difference will be so great that we won’t even feel the loss of the things we’ve enjoyed on earth.
And Jesus also compared us with the angels. Just let that sink in for a while!
We've read about angels in the Bible. We've also been influenced by renaissance art and popular literature. We picture radiant beings in shining white robes and powerful wings. We imagine them engaged in titanic battles with demons. We marvel at these beautiful and powerful beings that serve God… And Jesus said we will be like them.
We will be like the angels, and even greater. The angels are not called “God’s children” or “children of the resurrection” in the New Testament, but we are!
That very thought gives me goosebumps. Really, what have we done to deserve such special rewards and honour? It is unbelievable, but we are God’s children!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1a)
We can sense the same excitement and joy in John when he wrote the verse above. We are called the children of God. It is not a mere title or a metaphor. Shepherd and sheep, potter and clay, vine and branches — these are all figures of speech describing the relationship between God and us. But Father and child? This is not an imagery, this is reality. As John emphasised, “that is what we are!”
We are God’s children, because our Father has lavished us with His great love. Let this thought linger in your mind for a while, dwell on it, and enjoy that mental picture. You are a child of God.
Really, does anything else matter? Do we need to fret anymore about what others think about us? Do we even need to feel insecure about what we're worth? Our Father loves us, and that is all that matters.
In the resurrection, we will be like the angels, and even better. We will enjoy eternal fellowship with our Father in heaven.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves actively in the Central Christian Church and describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.