God of the Living
Whatever happened to the great prophets and leaders of the Old Testament?
“As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac, and (the) God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.” -Mark 12:26-27, NAB
Jesus continues explaining Heaven to the Sadducees, who did not believe in the afterlife (see Mark 12:18-25). They questioned His teachings and were trying to trap Him, but Jesus answered with a simple, yet profound, explanation about resurrection.
Referring back to Moses’ monumental moment when he saw God in the burning bush (Exodus 3), He points out God’s choice of words. God does not tell Moses that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but that He is their God. If He is still their God, they must be alive. If they are still alive, there must be a life after this one ends. It’s as simple as that.
Believing in the afterlife is one of the key aspects of our Christian faith. It gives us hope that there is more to come; it assures us that our loved ones are somewhere better; and it becomes our goal to strive for. Heaven is not a metaphor for some alternate existence – it is a real place that, God willing, we will someday have the joy of entering.
Hope can overcome any fear, and our hope for the afterlife overcomes one of life’s greatest fears: death. When 11 of the 12 Apostles were martyred for their faith, they had hope in the afterlife. When St. Maximillian Kolbe gave his life for another, he had hope in the afterlife. As we approach our own death, we can have that same hope in the afterlife.
God has power over death, and through Christ, we can share in the resurrection. Eventually, this life will come to an end, but that will not be the end of our story. Rest assured that the leaders of the Old Testament, the great saints and martyrs, and many of our loved ones are waiting for us to join them in Heaven. Our death is not the end of our journey; it is only the beginning.