Talking About Eternity

Now he is God, not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all men are in fact alive

Luke 20:38
II Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14; Psalms 17:1,5-6,8,15; II Thessalonians 2:16-3:5; Luke 20:27-38

A self-righteous snob who liked to appear full of virtue once said to Mark Twain, “Before I die, I’m going to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I shall climb to the top of Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud!” To which Twain replied, “I have a better idea! Why don’t you stay right at home and keep them?”

In today’s Gospel Lesson, Jesus encounters a group of Sadducees who were experts on the Ten Commandments. These men were members of an ultra-conservative religious party that accepted as authoritative only those things written down in the Law of Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament). Because of this religious outlook, they rejected many of the things Jesus was teaching. For example, they rejected the notion of bodily resurrection. Their view of afterlife was pessimistic and joyless. The abode of the departed was called “Sheol.” It was a nether-world, deeply embedded in the earth, where the soul lived a shadowy sort…

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