The Gospel According to Mark 12:18-27
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So, the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.” Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven. As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”
Reflection: Today the Sadducees come to Jesus and question him. They begin by quoting Moses, who wrote, “If a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the brother must marry the widow who then is to bear his children and raise up descendants for his brother.” Then the Sadducees give Jesus a specific scenario to which they wanted him to respond.
This is the scenario they proposed: There was a family that had seven brothers. The oldest brother married and after a few months of their marriage, he died. Now, the custom at that time was that if a brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the second oldest brother was to marry his brother’s widow. This was the custom because the Sadducees only believed in what they could see. They could not conceive of heaven, nor did they believe in an afterlife. They simply were trying to trap Jesus.
However, Jesus does not fall into the Sadducees’ trap. He realizes that they are testing him. Ask yourself: do you ever try to trap Jesus by asking him “a trick question?” At times, do you ask Jesus for a “sign” so that you will know that Jesus is at work in your life? I suspect that all of us do this at times.
The question for all of us is: Do we trust Jesus? Do we truly believe that He only desires the best for us? Do we trust that He is always with us, regardless of how difficult life is at times, or do we only believe that Jesus is present to us when something good or wonderful happens? Do we need a sign of his presence, or do we trust (most days) that Jesus is with us always and He will grace us with all we need?
Action of the Day: The next time you are tempted to test Jesus, stop for a moment and remember how many times and ways that Jesus has been with you in the past. If we remember that Jesus is trustworthy, this will help us to trust that He is with us now and always. Jesus will not let us down. May we wholeheartedly believe and trust this reality today and always.