Arguing About the Afterlife – Gospel in Life

Arguing About the Afterlife

Tim Keller |  July 1, 2001

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  • Death
  • Heaven and Hell
  • God the Father
Matthew 22:23-33
RS 133-1


In the Bible, we often see people engaging Jesus in debate or argument about different theological or moral issues. This passage shows us Jesus’s answer to a question about the afterlife. In this sermon, we will see that Jesus’s answer contains 1) a stern rebuke, 2) a remarkable argument, and 3) an amazing promise.

Matthew 22:23–33

In this part of the Bible, Jesus has a disagreement with the Sadducees about what happens after we die. This might make you think of Franz Kafka’s story “The Trial,” where the truth is hard to find. But Jesus shows us a unique perspective on life after death by correcting the Sadducees, arguing with them, and making a promise.

1. A correction

This story shows a clash between two groups of people, the Pharisees and Sadducees. They ask Jesus about a special kind of marriage and he points out the problems in their question. He shows us that the message of the gospel is more than just human rules – it’s about God’s justice and standing against unfairness. This means that people with different beliefs might not understand or agree with us, but we should keep sharing the unique message of the gospel anyway.

2. An argument

Jesus calls out the Sadducees for not understanding the Bible and God’s power, especially about life after death. He uses a part of the Bible, Exodus, to show that God continues to have a close relationship with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob even after they’re gone. This teaches us the importance of having a loving relationship with God. God’s love doesn’t change and gives us a sense of stability and purpose through Jesus Christ.

3. A promise

Jesus promises us an amazing life after death, where love goes beyond our idea of marriage and connects us deeply with God in a way that’s better than anything we know on earth. This promise of a wonderful future full of love should shape how we live now. Remembering that our first meeting with Jesus will make our current problems seem small can bring us comfort, happiness, and courage.


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