Luke 20:27-38 (NRSV)
27Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him 28and asked him a question, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30then the second 31and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. 32Finally the woman also died. 33In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her." 34Jesus said to them, "Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; 35but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive."
Speculation is neither a new nor an obsolete tool for us. We keep it handy much of the time, to justify ourselves or to look for loopholes in God's commands or in the rules of life. I experience this as a father with my children. I draw a line to keep them safe, but they push the boundary and try to redraw it to their liking. The hands-free cell-phone law went into effect in Minnesota a few months ago, but drivers still speculate about what exactly they can get by with. So the Sadducees confront Jesus with speculation in regard to marriage and childbearing, for the sake of their own convenience.
We too are given to speculate. We ask, "What happens if I do this and do not do that?" But we can be thankful for the persistence of God's promise of mercy and forgiveness of our sins apart from any works of the law. Jesus says, "You worry about earthly things, and I provide you not only with them but also with life everlasting. I have made you my own; you will no longer die, but you have my promise of resurrection."
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our Father: Keep us from doubting your promises and speculating about the salvation you have given us in your Son. Sustain us in your Word and give us the certainty that your promises are true and are ours, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.