Years ago, the brilliant but cantankerous Baptist preacher Carlyle Marney was speaking to some students at a Christian college. When a student asked, "Dr. Marney, would you say a word or two about the resurrection of the dead?" Marney replied, "I will not discuss the resurrection with people like you: I don't discuss such things with anyone under 30. Look at you all: in the prime of life. Never have you known honest-to-God failure, heartburn, impotency, solid defeat, brick walls or mortality. You're extremely apt and handsome—white kids who have never in all of your lives been 30 miles from home, or 20 minutes into the New Testament, or more than a mile and a half from a Baptist or Methodist church, or within a thousand miles of any issue that mattered to a kingdom that matters. So what can you know of a world that makes sense only if Christ is raised?"

In my church, sometimes someone approaches me after the service with a particularly inane question—one that reveals that the questioner not only did not listen to the sermon but inhabits a different world from my sermon and what I hope the church is about. Someone may tell me that he's interested in helping start a new Bible study (I give him my full attention!), but he wants it on a DVD and doesn't want to actually read the Bible or do any homework—and he has only an hour for it so it needs to be a kind of quick, instant lesson. My heart sinks. I know he doesn't understand. How do we teach and preach the incarnated, shared life in Christ to people accustomed to sound-bite answers to abstract questions? How do we speak of the resurrection to folks who haven't a clue about crucifixion?

In Luke 20, the Sadducees are asking Jesus about the resurrection but don't get what Jesus is talking about, and they don't really want to get it. They just want to debate him and try to show him up in front of the people. Jesus is speaking of another world.