Whose wife? (Lk 20:33-20:33)

“In the resurrection,

Therefore,

Whose wife

Will this woman be?

Seven brothers

Had married her.”

 

ἡ γυνὴ οὖν ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει τίνος αὐτῶν γίνεται γυνή; οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα.

 

Luke indicated these Sadducees asked Jesus in the resurrection time (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει), whose wife would this woman be (ἡ γυνὴ οὖν…τίνος αὐτῶν γίνεται γυνή), since all 7 brothers had married her (οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα).  This story with the 7 brothers married to one woman was the set up for this question about the afterlife.  The Sadducees asked whose wife would she be among these 7 brothers in the resurrected life?  They were testing Jesus and questioning the concept of the resurrection after death.  This kicker question of the Sadducees can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:28, and in Mark, chapter 12:23, almost word for word.  Mark said that in the resurrection (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει), when they would rise up again (ὅταν ἀναστῶσιν), the Sadducees wanted to know whose wife would she be (τίνος αὐτῶν ἔσται γυνή)?  All 7 of these brothers had married her (οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα).  Matthew indicated that these Sadducees asked about the future resurrection (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει οὖν).  Whose wife of the 7 brothers would she be (τίνος τῶν ἑπτὰ ἔσται γυνή)?  All 7 brothers had married her (πάντες γὰρ ἔσχον αὐτήν).  They assumed that the afterlife would be a continuation of this present earthly life.  What would happen to people who had multiple husbands or wives?  How was Jesus going to answer their tricky question?  Would you be confused in the future eternal life?

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The child grew (Lk 1:80-1:80)

“The child grew.

He became strong

In spirit.

He was

In the wilderness

Until the day

He appeared openly

To Israel.”

 

Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι, καὶ ἦν ἐν ταῖς ἐρήμοις ἕως ἡμέρας ἀναδείξεως αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν Ἰσραήλ.

 

Luke concluded his remarks about John by saying that this child, John, continued to grow (Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ηὔξανεν), just like every other child.  This concept of the growing child will also be present with Jesus in the next chapter.  John became strong in spirit (καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πνεύματι) as he grew stronger spiritually.  He was in the wilderness or desert (καὶ ἦν ἐν ταῖς ἐρήμοις), just like the Israelites during the Exodus, until the day he appeared openly to Israel (ἕως ἡμέρας ἀναδείξεως αὐτοῦ πρὸς τὸν Ἰσραήλ).  It is hard to figure out what an open or public appearance was, since there would be no big announcement or advertisement like today.

Whose wife will she be? (Mk 12:23-12:23)

“In the resurrection,

When they rise up,

Whose wife

Will she be?

The seven brothers

Had married her.”

 

ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει, ὅταν ἀναστῶσιν, τίνος αὐτῶν ἔσται γυνή; οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα.

 

This kicker question of the Sadducees can also be found in Matthew, chapter 22:28, and in Luke, chapter 20:33, almost word for word.  This story with the 7 brothers married to one woman was the set up for this question about the afterlife.  The Sadducees asked whose wife would she be among these 7 brothers in the resurrected life?  They were testing Jesus and questioning the concept of the resurrection after death.  Mark said that in the resurrection (ἐν τῇ ἀναστάσει), when they would rise up again (ὅταν ἀναστῶσιν), the Sadducess wanted to know whose wife would she be (τίνος αὐτῶν ἔσται γυνή)?  All 7 of these brothers had married her (οἱ γὰρ ἑπτὰ ἔσχον αὐτὴν γυναῖκα).  They assumed that the afterlife would be a continuation of this present earthly life.  How was Jesus going to answer their tricky question?

Do not despise the little ones (Mt 18:10-18:10)

“Take care!

Do not despise

One of these little ones!

I tell you!

In heaven,

Their angels

Continually see the face

Of my Father in heaven.”

 

Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν ἐν οὐρανοῖς διὰ παντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς.

 

This is a unique saying about not scorning the little ones that is only found here in Matthew.  Jesus said that they should be careful or see not to despise, scorn, or disregard any one of these little ones (Ὁρᾶτε μὴ καταφρονήσητε ἑνὸς τῶν μικρῶν τούτων).  In a solemn proclamation, “I tell you” (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν), he said that the angels of the little ones in heaven (ὅτι οἱ ἄγγελοι αὐτῶν ἐν οὐρανοῖς) always or continually see the face of his heavenly Father (διὰ παντὸς βλέπουσι τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  This obviously is an allusion to the concept of guardian angels, especially for the little ones.

The problem of God

Do we accept anything beyond our own concerns?  Is there something about life besides us?  Do we have ultimate concerns about something other than ourselves?  Do we accept the concept of mystery in our lives?  Various religions use different names for the transcendent mystery that goes beyond what we can understand.  However, many religious traditions call this transcendent divine reality “God.”  We, as human or finite, seek the great and the mysterious.  This mystery stands as the foundation, the center, the purpose of human existence.  God within a religious belief system contains the answer to the question of the meaning of life.  What counts most?  What is important for understanding and living?  Is God the answer or the problem?

History versus story

In what sense are these biblical books literal interpretations of what was happening?  History means different things to differ people.  History is always an interpretation.  In fact, our concept of what is history is always changing.  The result is that a literal interpretation means that you have to understand what they were trying to say about God, not the incidentals surrounding the events.  The idea of footnoting has become a general practice that was not known over a thousand years ago.  History sometimes refers to a good story.  Even in our own lifetime we can still argue about the events surrounding the death of President John Kennedy or the victims at the OJ Simpson house.  Thus, it does not seem out of place to question events that supposedly took place either pre-historically or thousands of years ago.  They did not have to happen exactly as detailed by men writing about them years after the described events.

The primary mission of the servant prophet (Isa 61:1-61:1)

“The Spirit of Yahweh God is upon me.

Because Yahweh has anointed me.

He has sent me

To bring good news to the oppressed.

He has sent me

To bind up the brokenhearted.

He has sent me

To proclaim liberty to the captives.

He has sent me

To release the prisoners.”

The question immediately rises is this about prophets in general, the prophet Isaiah, or the servant of Yahweh? Definitely the Spirit of Yahweh was upon this person. Not only that, but this disciple or prophet of Yahweh has been anointed, either like a priestly or a royal anointing. However, the primary mission is not cultic, but rather social in nature, what we might call social justice. Having been called by the Spirit and anointed by Yahweh, he was sent out. This would imply a time when there was no Temple, basically the exilic time. The generic mission was simple. Bring good news to the oppressed. The good news concept was later adapted by the early followers of Jesus who talked about the good news of the gospel. This basic mission included binding up the broken hearted and freeing prisoners that were clearly exilic problems and terms.