Jesus is still in the temple in Jerusalem. He has bested the chief priests, the Pharisees, the Pharisees disciples and the Herodians. Next up are the Sadducees. They are all giving it their best shot to trap or discredit Jesus in front of the people. They are failing miserably!
The Sadducees come at Jesus with a question they don’t even have a foundational basis for. They have no belief in life after this life and no foundational understanding for anything connected with it. But the resurrection is what they choose to base their question on. Why did they choose this topic? Why didn’t they choose something that they knew well and hope to out argue Jesus? Were they posing this scenario in hopes of trying to illustrate how absurd the concept of the afterlife is? I doubt they expected a logical answer.
Whenever I read the Sadducees question I have a few thoughts that pop into my head. They are not spiritual but they are there anyway. I’m going to share them with you, just because I can.
- How did eacch brothers die?
- Was the woman a black widow?
- How many years was the woman married to each brother?
- How many years were between each brother in ages?
- Did the father want the brothers to marry this woman? Judah had a problem with this command and he only had three sons.
- Did no one think that the woman might not be able to have children?
- What about what the woman wanted? Did she want to be passed on like a piece of jewelry?
- If she would have finally had a child, who’s “name” would it have been carrying on?
Ok. Now that I have that out of my system, let’s get to Jesus’ answer. Jesus said they didn’t know the scriptures or the power of God. They didn’t believe the scriptures that talked about resurrection. They skimmed right past them when reading their copy of the scriptures. They didn’t believe them so they didn’t try and understand them. Because of dismissing some of the scriptures, they also dismissed much of the power of God. They also didn’t believe they needed God’s power in their everyday lives. They believed themselves to be self-sufficient, so no intervention from God was necessary in their eyes. Did they think of God’s hand throughout history was meddling?
Jesus said that in the resurrection we are more like the angels when it comes to marriage, which is a funny way to answer the Sadducees because they didn’t believe in angels or demons either. They were in way over their heads in this conversation. I believe Jesus may have been addressing His answer more to the crowd who were listening in rather than to the actual originators of the question.
The last part of Jesus answer was directed at the Sadducees when Jesus states, “Have you not read what was said by God: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (verse 31-32). This spoke directly to the Sadducees lack of adherence to all of the scriptures. They were very concerned with maintaining Moses’ words but this group of God’s words somehow eluded their understanding. Jesus emphasizes the term God uses in referring to His relationship with the patriarchs. God said “I am”, not “I was.” God used the present tense, meaning the two in the relationship were both still in existence. Therefore the Sadducees assertion that life ends with death in this world failed to account for God’s very words in scripture and His nature. The very scriptures that the Sadducees said they held as authoritatively from God.
You can’t pick and choose which scriptures to believe in and follow, or which attributes of God to believe in. It is a package deal. A lot of people try and say Jesus was a good teacher but that He wasn’t really God’s Son. The problem with that is you can’t separate Jesus’ deity from His message. He was either exactly who He claimed to be, or He was an absolute madman. There is no in between. The same is true with God and the scriptures. They are either inspired by God, or they are of no more value than any literary work of fiction out there. And God is EXACTLY as He claims to be, or we are simply some random collection of particles out of nowhere. Which is easier to believe? That everything just happened, including:
- our planet being able to sustain life with just the right amount of everything we need to do so, is an act of the “big bang”,
- our being able to think and reason different from any other living being on earth happened through evolution from “lower life forms”,
- that every ounce of beauty on this earth is a “process of natural selection”
- God created everything on our planet exactly right to sustain the life that He created for it,
- God created us separately and uniquely after His own design
- during His creation process He said, “Let the earth bring forth…” when creating the vegetation and animals, and “Let the waters…” when creating the fish in the sea
- when He made man He said “Let us make….” giving Him absolute input into man’s design
- God arrays the lilies of the field better than even Solomon’s finest robes.
As for me, I will always believe. I may not understand every word of scripture, but I will trust that God will provide that to me as my life, walk, and maturity demand. He will not bestow on me the deeper things until I have learned to incorporate His regular concepts into my daily life. Does this mean I may not ever get to the deepest things? Maybe, but if I don’t it is because He has not brought me to a place where He believed I needed that level of understanding. Sometimes I think I would like to be able to dissect the word with the experts, but then I remember that with much wisdom comes much responsibility. I think I have enough responsibility on my plate for now. I’ll wait until He is ready, even if that is after this life is over and I am enjoying His company in the next.
Thank You God that You are the author and finisher of our faith. That You don’t leave us wondering about our future. You told us what awaits us after this life and what the requirements are for the different options. The choice is ours to make, but You provide ALL the necessary information and proof for making that choice. I CHOOSE YOU! Thank You for choosing me.