In one sense, no one can be “considered worthy” to be in God’s kingdom, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But we can please God if we have faith, as that marvellous chapter Hebrews 11 shows – men and women who demonstrated their faith by what they did in serving God and doing His will. There are many outstanding examples, but remember verse 29; “By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land” – what a remarkable foundation for their faith as they stepped out on the far shore after seeing the water towering on either side! This was their baptism (see 1 Corinthians 10:2). But in Numbers we read 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 in Luke 20. They refused to believe in a resurrection. They posed to Jesus a story of a woman who had seven 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’” (verses 35,36).
We noted his final words in correcting the Sadducees; Jesus said God “is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to him” (verse 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 when we will become “equal unto the angels”. So let us walk with a strong 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.