When Jesus is confronted in Jerusalem by the Sadducees, they ask a convoluted question about the afterlife. So Jesus changes the conversation.
Hint: there’s no right answer.
They address him. Perhaps its equal parts honor and direction. They call him teacher so that he knows what hat they expect he’ll wear. As if to say, Teacher, teach us something.
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us…”
So they appeal to him as a teacher. Then they direct him to the Law.
They are going to the rulebook, the tradition, the history, the great teacher who taught the people, who spoke for God in the Exodus. This is not about whether to eat meat on Fridays in Lent. This is deeper than canon law and more central than custom.
“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies…”
The lead-up to the question is as long as the lead-up to this sermon.
So here is the question in a nutshell. Since they have an old tradition called levirate marriage which could allow a bunch of brothers to marry the same woman to maintain lineage and property, which of them gets to possess her in the afterlife?
Now, we could dig into this tradition, and it would be a lot of fun to do that. But we’re not going to. Because it’s a red herring…
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