Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection, came to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a widow but no children, the brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.[b] Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman; when he died, he left no children. The second married her and died without leaving any children. The third did the same. None of the seven left any children. Finally, the woman died. At the resurrection, when they all rise up, whose wife will she be? All seven were married to her.”
Mark 12:18-23, Common English Bible (c) 2011
As a pastor I have had the great privilege of working with couples as they plan their wedding. When I ask a couple to define marriage they inevitably talk about the relationship between two people: mutual caring, wanting to be together through the ups and downs of life, having a partner who brings out the best in them. Without exception, the couples described marriage in terms that apply to any couple – LGBTQ included – thoughtfully, lovingly preparing to say “I do.”
Unlike the Sadducees in this reading, the couples do not define marriage in terms of possession. The wife is not the property of the husband to be passed along to the next of kin when the owner dies. At best, the law Moses gave was to ensure that a widow was not thrown out of family, left to fend for herself in a patriarchal society. At worst, it teaches the idea that women are “owned” by men (which was the custom in that time and place).
How do you define marriage?
-Teressa Clark, 2019
Lenten Reflections 2019: Following Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the Tomb ~ Day 9