Theology or Jesus?
Jesus answered “… those who are counted worthy to attain…the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” Luke 20: 34-38
In answering a question posed to Him by the Sadducees, who did not even believe in the resurrection, Jesus taught a deeper lesson than his audience had even conceived. To the Sadducees, the purpose of their question was only meant to pin Jesus to the wall, so to speak, on a theological point of view. They wanted to trap Jesus into siding on an issue that plagued the Jewish sanctions of that day. The question they wrestled with was, “Do the scriptures lead to a belief of a resurrection of the dead or not?”
The Sadducees never conceived that Jesus would be able to deliver truth beyond their theology or theological disputes. They had already counted on Jesus not being able to answer their question so they could then use His answer against Him and what He had been preaching amongst the Jewish people. But instead of giving the Sadducees ammunition, Jesus gave them a lesson from their own scriptures – one they could not deny and one which pinned them and their own theology against the wall. Jesus delivered truth, not theology, and their religious rabbit trail abruptly came to an end and the heart of their man-made religious thinking was revealed.
In a world filled with theological answers and religions of all kind to appease the likes of man, we often find that the theology we cling to can also be held against us if we let it take priority over Jesus alone. Just a few days ago a friend was relaying a story to me about a family who had such deep generational roots in a church that even though the church was making ungodly decisions, they felt too bound by their traditional ties to break away from the church and go where their hearts were feeling lead.
Theology alone is bound to lead us down many ungodly rabbit trails, toward slippery slopes of religious dogma, and into relationships that bind us to human wisdom. Jesus on the other hand points out truth – the truth revealed alone in His word and through His Spirit – that does not lead us astray or make us fall. But to trust in the Holy Spirit for revelations of His truths over the self-reliant path of picking and choosing religious reasoning for ourselves, is a faith life many are not willing to accept – yet that is what true faith in Jesus Christ is all about.
The easy path with the wide gate Jesus spoke about is that of religion and independent thinking – picking and choosing religion as it fits our mood and our one-sided ways of looking at life. The narrow gate on the other hand is through Jesus Christ alone and His thinking, His truth, His all encompassing view of life, death, and new life to come. Many choices are made each day as to whether we will choose to seek the wide gate or the narrow gate. Faith alone will lead you to seek the narrow gate because human reasoning will always choose the wide one. Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your heart and choose the wide gate out of fear where it may lead you. Instead, take a step of faith and walk through the narrow gate – you will be glad you did and in the end you will find the gate was much easier to pass through than you had originally thought.