We read how those who deny there is a resurrection came to Jesus with a hypothetical story about a woman who had had seven husbands, but no children. They asked him who would be her husband in the resurrection.
Jesus said to them, “those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” [Luke 20 v.35-36]
Our first thought about this passage was that, in one sense, no one will be worthy. No one can “attain to that age” as a result of their way of life. First, we have to be worthy to receive his grace and as a result attain to the wondrous time of God’s kingdom on this earth – to be established at the time of the resurrection.
Our second thought was about what the Sadducees believed about a future life – but this seems impossible to determine: possibly they had been influenced in the Greek concept of a continuing existence of the soul in spiritual realms. This happened in later centuries when a large part of the Church believed this, especially the R. C’s: this resulted in a contradiction of the Bible’s testimony that there will be a resurrection and judgement when Christ comes.
History shows that every generation has had those who follow their own imagination – believing what they want to believe! But “those who are considered worthy” by God – will be those who have been most careful to follow God’s word in what they believe – convictions of heart shown by both their words and actions.
We note Paul’s commendation of believers in the 2nd letter he wrote to the Thessalonians. We “give thanks to God for you … because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about … your steadfastness of faith … that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God …” [1 v.3-5] The believers at Thessalonica were enduring many difficulties – and their endurance was an essential part of being “considered worthy”. Are we going to have a test of endurance? True believers, such as in Iran, are already having such a test.
Tomorrows 21st chapter in Luke, records Jesus’ words forecasting a time when there will be “distress of nations in perplexity … people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken’ And then they will see the Son of Man coming …”
How close are we to that time? There is increasing “perplexity … fear and foreboding” about the future, let us make every effort to possess the “full assurance of faith” and be “considered worthy.”