Wednesday, April 5, 2017
That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’ Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them. Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.” Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven. “But now, as to whether there will be a resurrection of the dead—haven’t you ever read about this in the Scriptures? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.” When the crowds heard him, they were astounded at his teaching. Matthew 22:23-32(NLT)
It was dicey to be a Biblical scholar when Jesus was in town. He was a nuisance ever since that first time in the Temple when he was just a little kid teaching the teachers. And this time was no different; just when the Sadducees came up with a sure-fire question to silence this radical, he gives them an answer that says: hang it on your ear, boys…you don’t know diddly about Scripture or what God is really like!
And the crowd goes wild! How can a Sadducee get a break?
I have a strong suspicion that this answer of Jesus’ stuns people less today than the Sadducees’ question... for two reasons:
First – these days there is a whole lot of opinion about the Bible than Biblical knowledge. And when your opinion gets in the way of truth, it’s difficult to see just how skilled Jesus’ answer was to the Sadducees’ question. We may think the question is the key, but it’s Jesus’ answer that gives us understanding about the love of God and His purpose for humanity.
Secondly – our modern culture hardly raises an eyebrow over such a childish scenario. After all, the question may be a pretty good riddle, but the whole premise sounds preposterous in today’s Western culture; I mean, marrying your dead brother’s widow – it just sounds too weird.
But it was plausible in the culture of first-century Eastern lands. And so the near-plausibility demands a response from one who would teach the teachers.
And respond? Jesus most certainly did that.
I can picture Jesus lifting his eyes to look squarely at the committee and inform them that they knew nothing about Scripture or the power of God – the two most important things a Sadducee, a keeper of the Law, was supposed to excel at…and Jesus was telling them they hadn’t even passed kindergarten stage.
And then he showed them why: their question was wrong; goofy wrong! They were talking about laws for the dead and trying to connect it with a God of consummate life!
Talk about missing the mark!
Which brings us to the main point about talking with Jesus: If you’re upset, dejected, or even angry at God, it’s ok to bring those questions. If you’re confused about what to do next in your life, ask all your questions. But if you’ve got a little Sadducee in you, and you just want to lay out a premise to trap God into signing-off on how brilliant you are and how much He ought to be thankful He’s got such a wonderful saint on His side…you are bringing a pea-shooter to an elephant hunt! In that battle of wits against the Almighty you are entirely unarmed!
Keep it in perspective; when approaching God, humility counts!