What does the joy of marriage point to?

This Sunday I’m talking about the passage in Matthew 22 where Jesus addresses whether we’ll be married “after the resurrection.” Here it is:

(Matthew 22:29-32)  Jesus replied, “Your problem is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.  30 For when the dead rise, they won’t be married. They will be like the angels in heaven.  31 But now, as to whether there will be a resurrection of the dead — haven’t you ever read about this in the Scriptures? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said,  32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.”

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what it means that we’ll be like angels, and therefore unmarried. I don’t think it has anything to do with being “spiritual” or non-material.  Nor do I think it’s about Jesus trying to make us anti-sexual.  I think it’s about being intimate with God forever, not just in a physical way, but the sort of spiritual, emotional, and psychological intimacy that we only have glimpses of in our earthly marriages.

This ties in with Ephesians 5, when Paul says that our earthly marriages represent the relationship of Christ and the church. Marriage is an powerful way to show the gospel. When we love our spouses in their unloveableness, we show the gospel. When we respect them simply because of who they are, rather than what they’ve done, we are displaying grace, and pointing to the Giver of grace Himself.

In the same way, the intimacy we have with our spouse points us to the intimacy with God that we will one day have. I don’t mean that sexually, but I don’t mean that asexually either. Sexuality, with its closeness, joy, and connection, are a glimpse of the closeness, joy, and connection we are meant to have with God.

Psalm 16:10-11    For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your godly one to rot in the grave. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

The hope of the gospel is that the best of our marriages – the best intimacy, the best acceptance, the best joy, even the best sex, is only a glimpse of what it means to be with God forever.

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