Week 1 of Advent | Brandon Maxwell
Thursday, December 6
In today’s gospel passage we are placed smack dab in the middle of political and religious tension. Having focused on Jesus’ ministry, the gospel writer turns our attention to the aftermath. Everyone is not excited about the good news Jesus has been proclaiming: some folks are down right mad about it.
In the twentieth chapter of the Gospel of Luke all our favorite characters come out to play. The chief priests, legal experts, and elders all try to trap Jesus in his words, but to no avail. So in the 27th verse, the Sadducees give it a go and attempt to trip Jesus up with a riddle about the resurrection. Having heard the promise of life everlasting, the Sadducees are bogged down with questions of property and ownership “. . . all seven brothers married her . . . in the resurrection, whose wife will she be?” (v. 31-33)
In typical Jesus-fashion, however, Jesus’ response turns the question on its head. He asks the Sadducees which age they belong to—the present age or the age of the resurrection? For in the resurrection, Jesus says, there is no need to be married or given in marriage. Those who share in the resurrection are not property; they are angels—God’s children.
It is strange to think about resurrection during this liturgical season. Easter is so far away, and this passage interrupts our Advent rhythm. Perhaps, Jesus’ invitation to the Sadducees—to live in the age of the resurrection—can be instructive for how we wander through this season of waiting.
In our time we perpetually live in light of the resurrection and the joy it brings. Yet, we still wait. We presume to know how the story ends. Yet, we still wait.
We await another coming of Christ. The day the Lord of heavenly forces has planned when all that is haughty and lofty will be made low; when pride will be brought down and human arrogance humiliated (Is. 2.12, 17). We wait for the day when the Lord will truly be exalted: when people are no longer property, when our identities are no longer commodified, when the Kingdom of God is on earth as it is in heaven. We still wait.
In this Advent season, may we wait in a way that reflects the promise of that trickle-down justice that comes with resurrected living.
Brandon T. Maxwell
Alumnus, School of Religion
To download a digital copy of the 2012 Advent Guide, put out by Belmont’s School of Religion, click here.