Faith and Resurrection

This week we focus on faith and resurrection in all three readings. In the first reading (2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14) seven brothers and a mother are willingly tortured after being arrested rather than violate God’s law (eating pork.) Can you imagine risking your life over the ingestion of a particular food? These people willingly accepted brutal sufferings and death because of their strong faith and belief that they will “live again forever.”

May our faith be as strong as theirs.

The second reading (2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5) has a very different tone. In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, he’s writing to encourage the early Christians to remain faithful and to ask them for their prayers.

The Thessalonians had expected Christ’s second coming during their lifetime. They had to huddle together, remain strong and figure out how to remain faithful to Christ’s word as their disappointment increased with each passing day. Earlier this week I was waiting for a loved one to return home who was only 60 minutes later than I expected and I was worried and impatient.  Can you imagine what it must’ve been like for the early Christians waiting for the return of Jesus?

Having never physically met Jesus or heard him speak, is it more difficult for us to remain faithful than it was for the early Christians or do you feel like you really know him from studying and living his Words?

Paul is asking the Thessalonians to pray “that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith.”  Paul compliments them on their acceptance of Christ’s Word and reinforces his belief in them by reminding them that, “the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.”

When we keep Christ in our mind, heart and soul we are protected from any and all outside evil influences.  Faith in Christ and belief in our resurrection upon the death of our earthly body keeps us focused on our ultimate goal. This is the foundation from which each of our thoughts, words and actions originates.

In Luke’s gospel (Luke 20:27-38), the religious leaders were constantly  questioning Jesus and trying to set traps to see if they could catch him and prove him wrong. Do you remember trying to do that with a parent, teacher or coach?  The Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, contrived a question based around a woman who marries each of seven brothers and unsuccessfully tries to conceive children with each. They pose this question to Jesus: “Now at the resurrection (which we do not believe in!) whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”

I can hear the Sadducees thinking to themselves, “Gotcha!  There’s no way you can get out of this one!”

Because the Sadducees had used scripture when describing the scenario to Jesus, He decides to use scripture in his response to them.

“That the dead will rise

even Moses made known in the passage about the bush,

when he called out ‘Lord,’

the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;

and he is not God of the dead, but of the living,

for to him all are alive.”

God is the God of the living and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are still alive!

There is life after the death of our earthly bodies We have received salvation because of Christ’s faithfulness to us.  Our responsibility now is to remain faithful to God and believe in his Word and promises. You and I will never die if we live in Christ.

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