In one sense, no man or woman can be “considered worthy” by God to be in his kingdom “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” [Rom. 3 v.23] . But we have that marvellous chapter on FAITH in Hebrews 11 , men and women who demonstrated their faith by what they did in serving God and doing his will.
Abraham and Moses are outstanding examples of this, but remember v.29 in that chapter; “By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land” – what a remarkable foundation to their faith as they stepped out on the far shore after seeing the water towering on either side! This was their baptism, said Paul – see 1 Cor. 10 v.2
But we are about to read in Numbers of how most of them failed to maintain their faith and “fell” in various ways in the wilderness. Maintaining faith is essential to being “considered worthy.”
This brings us to what Jesus said to the Sadducees, as we read today in Luke 20. They refused to believe in a resurrection. In some ways they were like the modern humanists. They posed to Jesus a story of a woman who had 7 husbands in succession who all died, so if there is a resurrection, they asked, who would be her husband “for the seven had her as wife.”
“Jesus said to them, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons (children) of the resurrection” [v.35,36]
We particularly noted his final words in correcting the Sadducees; he said God “is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to him” [v.38] If we “live to him” as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did, then we, like them, will not die, but sleep a timeless sleep to awake (instantly, not having sensed the passage of time) when we will become “equal unto the angels.” So let us walk with an ever stronger faith as we travel through the wilderness that is the world scene today - conscious of the failure of those who “by faith … crossed the Red Sea” in baptism - but their wilderness destroyed their faith. Our daily reading and reflections on what we read is an essential part to maintaining our faith at we journey through today’s wilderness..