“He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live before him.” Luke xx.38.
Death is a cruel reality that separates us from our loved ones. Once someone dies, it appears as if he or she is gone forever. However, the Lord Jesus taught that as far as God is concerned no one is ‘dead.’ All humans beings are ‘alive’ before God’s eyes – whether they are ‘alive’ on earth or ‘alive’ somewhere else.
Jesus was replying to a question about resurrection. The Sadducees who did not believe in the hereafter or the resurrection had asked Him a trick question. They believed only in the writings of Moses. Therefore, they cited Moses’ law about levirate marriages and asked Jesus how people in the coming age would sort out issues of marriage and relationships.
Jesus, in his answer, affirmed the hereafter. He affirmed the immortality of the soul. People don’t just stop existing after ‘death.’ Some people will be found ‘worthy’ to participate in the coming age or the resurrection of the dead. Jesus gave us a unique preview of that age. Those who are worthy of that age will no longer ‘die’ because they will be ‘equal’ to the angels. These sons of the resurrection do not marry.
Since the Sadducees did not accept books such as Daniel that spoke explicitly about resurrection (xii.13), Jesus took them to Moses’ books: “But even Moses revealed that the dead are raised …” Now, that must have taken the Sadducees by surprise. They had never seen a verse in the Torah that spoke of a resurrection! Jesus knew the exact passage. It was the passage about the burning bush where Moses referred to Yahweh as the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Yes, of course, they had read that passage several times. But it never occurred to them that God was not the God of the dead but of the living!
Did it ever occur to you that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been raised from the dead? They are alive before God. Jesus said so! How else could Jesus have said, “But even Moses revealed that the dead are raised? How else can God be called the ‘God of the living’ based on His title: the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob?
Those who trust in Jesus and follow His ways can look forward to a resurrection. Death is not the end; it is only the beginning of a new level of existence. Our loved ones who died in Christ are alive before God. Although at the time of death we’ll leave behind our loved ones on earth for a season, our loved ones who went ahead of us will welcome us to our real home. Most importantly, we’ll be forever with God and Jesus our Saviour!