Truth taught in tense

But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” And when the crowd heard it, they were astonished at his teaching.
(Matthew 22:29-33 ESV)

“They were astonished at his teaching.” Jesus had just used the tense of a verb to respond to their question and to expose the error of their thinking.

  • Abraham died.
  • Isaac died.
  • Jacob died.
  • I not only WAS their God, I AM their God…

J. C. Ryle:

He places before the Sadducees the words which God spoke to Moses in the bush–“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (Exod. 3:6.) He adds the comment, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” At the time when Moses heard these words, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead and buried many years. Two centuries had passed away since Jacob, the last of the three, was carried to his tomb. And yet God spoke of them as being still His people, and of Himself as being still their God. He said not, “I was their God,” but “I am.

Perhaps we are often tempted to doubt the truth of a resurrection, and a life to come. But, unhappily, it is easy to hold truths theoretically, and yet not realize them practically. There are few of us who would not find it good to meditate on the mighty verity [truth] which our Lord here unfolds, and to give it a prominent place in our thoughts.

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