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The Gospel of the Holy Spirit

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  1. Day 1 - The Gospel of the Holy Spirit: The Age of the Spirit
  2. Day 2 - When Revival Becomes Awakening: The Age of the Spirit
  3. Day 3 - The Secret Way of Holy Spirit–Filled Fasting
  4. Day 4 - Jesus’ Essential Message in Seventeen Words
  5. Day 5 - When I Fight Authority
  6. Day 6 - Bringing the Holy Spirit Home
  7. Day 7 - The Most Important Word in the New Testament
  8. Day 8 - The Difference between Witnessing and Being a Witness
  9. Day 9 - When the Holy Spirit Makes a Hot Mess
  10. Day 10 - Why There Is No Such Thing as Secular
  11. Day 11 - What Makes Fasting Christian?
  12. Day 12 - Ready for the New Wine? Get Rid of the Old Wineskin
  13. Day 13 - The Critical Difference between Being Responsible for Others and Responsive to Them
  14. Day 14 - If You Had a Holy Spirit Gauge, What Would It Read?
  15. Day 15 - The Missing Link in Our Disciple-Making
  16. Day 16 - Three Reasons You Have Probably Not Blasphemed the Holy Spirit
  17. Day 17 - Why Jesus Is the New (Old) Normal
  18. Day 18 - How to Have a High Failure Rate without Failing
  19. Day 19 - Why the Holy Spirit Prefers Curious People
  20. Day 20 - Not for Ourselves but Others: The Great Rule of the Kingdom
  21. Day 21 - A Parable about the Most Humble Power in the World
  22. Day 22 - Who Needs the Weather Channel When You’ve Got Jesus?
  23. Day 23 - On Becoming the Kind of People Who Don’t Give up on People
  24. Day 24 - Do You Believe in Demons?
  25. Day 25 - The Problem of Reducing People to Their Problems
  26. Day 26 - A Word for Women (and Men) That Can Change Everything
  27. Day 27 - Up, Girl!
  28. Day 28 - The Kind of Places Where Miracles Don’t Happen
  29. Day 29 - It Takes Two to Bring the Kingdom
  30. Day 30 - The End of Christian America
  31. Day 31 - Why Marriage Is Not about Marriage and What It Is About
  32. Day 32 - The Holy Spirit and Setting Boundaries
  33. Day 33 - Awakening to the Miracle That Never Stops
  34. Day 34 - The Disciples’ Dilemma: When Knowledge Gets in the Way of Knowing
  35. Day 35 - Do We Really Recognize Jesus?
  36. Day 36 - When the Holy Spirit Does Something Not in the Bulletin
  37. Day 37 - The Problem with the Rules . . . or the Possibilities
  38. Day 38 - Getting to the Heart of the Matter
  39. Day 39 - The Desperate Need We Have to Be in Need
  40. Day 40 - The Difference between Extravagant Embrace and Radical Inclusiveness
  41. Day 41 - On the Everyday Ministry of Eating
  42. Day 42 - On the Difference between Faith and Risk Management
  43. Day 43 - Why Miracles Will Never Be Enough
  44. Day 44 - The Concerns of God
  45. Day 45 - The Problem with Lowest Common Denominator Discipleship
  46. Day 46 - Seeing behind the Curtain vs. Beholding through the Veil
  47. Day 47 - What to Do in the Face of a Discipleship Fail
  48. Day 48 - The Problem with Lazy Faith and the Way beyond It
  49. Day 49 - Why We Aren’t the Champions
  50. Day 50 - How Sin Continues to Win and How to Beat It
  51. Day 51 - On the Reason for Marriage and the Difficulty of Divorce
  52. Day 52 - The Big Problem of the Powerful
  53. Day 53 - Getting the “A” and Failing the Course
  54. Day 54 - How Jesus Kicks Our Value System to the Curb
  55. Day 55 - How Jesus Wants Us to Respond to Hard Things
  56. Day 56 - Why Blindness Is the Real Problem
  57. Day 57 - Living in Light of the Larger Story
  58. Day 58 - On Splitting Hell Wide Open with a Baptismal Certificate in Your Hands
  59. Day 59 - The Difference between the Power of Prayer and the Power of God
  60. Day 60 - On the Power of Telling an Alternative Story
  61. Day 61 - Why You Really Don’t Own Anything
  62. Day 62 - Why God and Politics Can’t Be Separated
  63. Day 63 - Take the Long View
  64. Day 64 - The Two Ways of Keeping the Law and Why It Matters Most
  65. Day 65 - Moving from Information to Conversation
  66. Day 66 - When Two Cents Is Worth More than a Million Dollars
  67. Day 67 - When It’s Time to Build Something More than Buildings
  68. Day 68 - On the Day It All Hits the Fan and the Day after That
  69. Day 69 - Why We Must Leave behind Left Behind
  70. Day 70 - When the Sky Starts Falling
  71. Day 71 - Why Does the Word of God Endure Forever?
  72. Day 72 - Why Being Ready for the End Means Being Joyfully Alive in the Present
  73. Day 73 - The Three Kinds of People You Meet on the Way to the Cross
  74. Day 74 - The Big Problem with Being More Dedicated to God
  75. Day 75 - The Key to Perceiving Revelation
  76. Day 76 - Getting in Touch with Our Inner Judas
  77. Day 77 - Why I Never Understood the Lord’s Supper Until . . .
  78. Day 78 - On the Difference between Faith and Optimism
  79. Day 79 - Why There’s No Place for “If” in Prayer
  80. Day 80 - The Lord Helps Those Who Help Themselves . . . Sort Of
  81. Day 81 - The Wound That Never Heals
  82. Day 82 - The Reason behind Most Discipleship Failures
  83. Day 83 - How Faith Is like a “Get out of Jail Free” Card, and How It’s Not
  84. Day 84 - The Journey of Peter and the Journey of Us
  85. Day 85 - Why Are You So Defensive?
  86. Day 86 - Why It’s All Your Fault
  87. Day 87 - Why You Should Not Be Ashamed of Yourself
  88. Day 88 - The Glorious Imposition of the Cross
  89. Day 89 - The Mind of Christ Is the Cross
  90. Day 90 - When You Find Yourself in the Deepest Darkness
  91. Day 91 - Why We Say “Thank God It’s Friday”
  92. Day 92 - Tired of Following Jesus in Secret?
  93. Day 93 - Why Faith Has to Die
  94. Day 94 - Without the Resurrection, We’ve Got Nothing
  95. Day 95 - What Faith Is and What It Is Not
  96. Day 96 - The Wisdom behind a Good, Old-Fashioned Trust Fall
  97. Day 97 - How the Gospels Disciple Us in the Gospel
Lesson 63 of 97
In Progress

Day 63 – Take the Long View

Mark 12:18–27 NRSV

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. There were seven brothers; the first married and, when he died, left no children; and the second married the widow and died, leaving no ­children; and the third likewise; none of the seven left ­children. Last of all the woman herself died. In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the story about the bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living; you are quite wrong.”

Consider This

This is starting to feel like an episode of the popular game show Jeopardy. Today’s question from the Sadducees brings even more drama to the plot of coconspirators surrounding Jesus.

First for a little background, the Sadducees enjoyed an aristocratic reputation. They strike me as the sophisticates of the Jewish pantheon of religious players. Like the Pharisees and the Scribes, they highly valued the Scriptures though they advocated for their own interpretation.

In particular, the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. For them, death meant the party was over. This question was a bit of a ruse.

“In the resurrection whose wife will she be? For the seven had married her.”

Why would they ask a question about the resurrection they did not believe in? In their minds, this complicated riddle of a question would expose not only Jesus’ faith in the resurrection of the dead but also its absurdity. Jesus sees straight through them and indicts them for their bad exegesis (method of interpreting Scripture) and chides them for their lack of faith in the power of God.

Jesus said to them, “Is not this the reason you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?”

First, Jesus gives an authoritative word about the resurrection of the dead and marriage. Bottom line? Marriage ends with death. In the resurrection there will be no marriage. There is a much larger covenant at work within which the covenant of marriage is controlled. The covenant between God and his people supersedes the covenant of marriage. It outlasts it. Next he takes on their biblical interpretation by citing a covenant-oriented text he knew they embraced, Exodus 3:6. It’s the burning bush story when God says to Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

My sources make an interesting case for Jesus’ application of this text. It goes like this. In this covenant affirmation, God affirms his faithfulness to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which is a covenant that transcends death. Of what worth would it all be if only for the infinitesimally short period of time in which a person is alive on this earth? This God has power over sin and death. God is a God of the living and in his kingdom, though people die because of the curse of sin, yet shall they live because of the promise of resurrection. Jesus then rebukes with these words: “You are quite wrong.”

It’s probably as close as he will come to calling someone an idiot. He’s telling them that their big problem is they don’t believe what they believe. In other words, if you believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, you believe in the resurrection of the dead. You don’t get one without the other.

Moving this forward a couple of thousand years, let’s ask ourselves this question: Do I believe in the resurrection of the dead? I’ve said it ten thousand times in the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”

Over the past couple hundred years, we have mostly bought stock in the idea of an ethereal heaven where disembodied spirits enjoy the presence of God and loved ones who have gone before—you know, the better place we reference when a person dies. I don’t want to diminish anyone’s faith in the immediacy of being in the presence of God at one’s death. After all, Paul clearly said to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 5:6). I do want to say heaven as we commonly conceive of it is not the long view. The long game is the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. The long view isn’t heaven; it’s earth—as in “on earth as it is in heaven.”

The resurrection of the body is our core faith. As Paul also said,

For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor. 15:16–19)

The resurrection of the body is the long view. Permit me an emphatic declaration of biblical faith: Jesus’ bodily resurrection means our bodily resurrection or it means nothing. If we do not believe in the resurrection of the body, whatever it is that we believe about the resurrection of Jesus is something other than the Christian faith—“the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3 NRSV).

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

  • Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead? Is it core to your faith or peripheral?
  • What difference might taking the long view have in your everyday life?