“[W]hose wife will that woman be?” The Sadducees pose the question, convinced that they already know the answer. Jesus, however, knowing their intention, responds from an entirely different perspective. Their question is about death and the law; Jesus’ answer, on the other hand, is about life and the “… children of God …”
“Are you saved?” The question may be posed by a clean-shaven young man who shows up on your doorstep one day or by a preacher on a street corner or by a woman sitting in the third row at a Bible study at a downtown church. But whenever and wherever it’s asked you can be pretty sure that the person asking the question is convinced that, like the Sadducees, they already know the answer.
But what about those times when we ask the question because we don’t know the answer; times when we’re not even sure what the question means? “Are you saved?” We might ask the woman in an abusive marriage or the teen caught up in addictive behavior. “Are you saved?” In these instances, we can indicate our desire to offer help that can save someone from physical harm. When we ask the question in this way we are admitting that we don’t know the answer. We’re not asking the question so that we can give them the right answer as we see it but, rather, so that we can help them to find the right answer as God sees it. If we believe that the people we ask need us to save them so that they may become children of God, then the appropriate response would probably be to offer them a Bible. However, if we believe that the abused woman and the addicted teen are already children of God, then our response must be to offer them shelter and help to overcome the violence in their lives.
The Sadducees were convinced that they knew all the right answers. The children of God, on the other hand, are called to follow the one who is the answer. What questions do we ask? And why? What answer do we offer?
Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister, retreat leader, spiritual director and published writer and poet.