Scripture reading for April 6th: Luke 24
On the Sunday after the crucifixion and burial of Jesus on Friday, the women who were close to Jesus went to the tomb to anoint His body with spices. On arrival, they found the stone rolled away. When they entered, they did not find a body there. As they were pondering what might have happened, two men in shining clothes appeared to them and stood beside them. “. . .the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'” “Then they remembered His words.” (Luke 24:5-7)
At least five women were at the tomb that Sunday morning and found it empty! They went and reported to the apostles, but were met with skepticism. The men who had witnessed the crucifixion and death of Jesus thought that the women were speaking nonsense! Peter did run to the tomb to check out their report and pondered what he found there–the stone rolled away and grave-clothes but no body!
Jesus appeared later that same day to two disciples who were walking on a road about seven miles outside of Jerusalem. They rushed back to Jerusalem and were telling the other apostles about their encounter when Jesus appeared saying, “Peace be with you.” “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I Myself! Touch Me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:36-39) Understanding the mystery of the resurrection was difficult even for those close to Him!
Scripture reading for February 1st: Matthew 22:23-46, Psalm 21, Proverbs 6:1-19
Today’s reading tells of a group of Sadducees who came to Jesus to test Him. The Sadducees were what we might describe as non-charismatic Jews of Jesus’ day. They did not believe in miracles and especially the resurrection of the dead. For them, this was not reasonable and was just superstitious. They contrasted with the Pharisees who did believe in miracles and the resurrection of the dead. These Sadducees had what they thought was an question that would prove Jesus was not the Messiah.
Their question concerned the teaching of Moses where if a man died without having children, his brother was to marry his widow and have children for his brother. They proposed that this happened to a widow who had been married to seven brothers who had all died without producing children. (Matthew 22:23-32) (Deuteronomy 25:5-6) Their question for Jesus was, “Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?” (Matthew 22:27)
“Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead–have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” ” (Matthew 22:29-32) Jesus turned their question into a time of teaching for them. He gave them truth to help their understanding but did not fall into the trap that they had designed. He took the Scripture and clearly showed that God viewed the patriarchs as alive. The greater need was not to argue about issues of heaven, but to believe in resurrection and eternal life!
God’s power is sufficient to meet our every need. If we have honest questions, God can help us with answers. He has given us His Word to know truth and to bring faith alive in our hearts. We must take Him at His word and believe! All who come to God must believe that He is alive and rewards those who seek Him! (Hebrews 11:6) Many are like the Sadducee s, sad because they don’t believe the Scriptures or the power of God!