He is God not of the dead, but of the living (v. 27). Jesus’ response to his disbelieving Sadducee critics affirms the resurrection of the dead. As Paul contends in 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus’ resurrection and the promise of our own create the essential foundation of Christian hope.
Throughout the Scripture story, God’s relationship to life is a dominant theme. God lives, and God is the source of life. God creates all life, and the breath of God gives a distinctive existence to humans. The Hebrew Scriptures speak often of “the living God” as a characteristic that distinguishes Yahweh from lifeless idols and from all false gods in which people put their trust. As the living God, Yahweh acts in human history, challenging the covenant people to realize the fullness of their lives through faithful response to God’s persistent covenant love.
Jesus embodies God’s life and love fully. John says, “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (Jn 1:4). Jesus proclaims, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). To be a follower of Jesus is to experience new life, a life that is not defeated by death.
God who gives life sustains it. When we feel depleted and defeated, the God of the living renews life in us. As believers, we can confidently pray every day: “Breathe on me, Breath of God, / Fill me with life anew, / That I may love what Thou dost love, / And do what Thou wouldst do” (Edwin Hatch).
The life we can experience as believers in the living God is not only unending; it is also resilient in difficult times. Consider whether you have experienced the reality of resurrection here and now.
God of life, bring these gifts to life in me today: the joy of living, and the confidence that overcomes my fear and doubt. Amen.