Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; then the second and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. Finally the woman also died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”
I read this passage with both horror and confusion. It is true that the Sadducees are only engaged in a theoretical discussion and not talking about a person who has experienced such terrible grief and experiences, but it is chilling to me that such a “thought experiment” was considered a reasonable form of argument to have in the first place! The Sadducees were rivals of the Pharisees and are testing Jesus to see if he leans more to their way of thinking around the idea of resurrection. Its a fine point of theology they are highlighting. They are forgetting about the people that such discussions affect. Jesus both answers their question and shows his support of the idea of the resurrection, like the Pharisees. But then he presses them to consider how God is dealing with the living. It’s not theory any more. It’s personal!