“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God…But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
The greatest mistake one can make in approaching the scriptures is to read them with a made-up mind. Jesus’ audience in this instance were the Sadducees, biblical scholars, teachers, and religious leaders who prided themselves on their knowledge of the scriptures.
Yet, in their zeal to defend their beliefs, failed in the most basic of applications of what they read. These men had doubtless read the passage Jesus quoted to them countless times and boasted (at least to themselves) about their lineage from Abraham.
It was not I was the God, but I am the God of Abraham. That is, He continues to be the God of Abraham because Abraham still lives and worships Him as such. This relationship of human sharing in the eternal divine nature has always been the plan of God for humanity.
Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus as a demonstration of the truth of scripture and testimony to the power of God. Make no mistake about that. The angel told the women at the tomb, “He is risen, as He said.” He came to die as the true sacrificial Lamb of God to restore peace on earth and God’s goodwill toward humanity (with all its imperfections). He rose again, as He said he would, to prove the power of God in sealing the deal.
Because Jesus lives beyond the body of flesh, so too shall we. In that life beyond the mortal flesh, we will live in harmony with God or be separated from God as we choose, or more accurately, as we have already chosen.
Sifting the meaning and relevance of what we read has everything to do with how we approach the text. This is true with any writing, fiction or nonfiction, and is never truer than when approaching the scriptures.
If a person steadfastly chooses to disregard the veracity and power of God inherent in the scripture, reading the Bible will only evoke that predetermined vision. The Sadducees had decided there was no resurrection and refused to see it when they read it, and had it explained to them.
By way of contrast, the unlearned multitude, without a scholarly reputation to defend, heard it and were amazed by its simple truth. In a polarized society such as ours, this lesson is for more than some far off eternity, it is the key to modern understanding and peace.