23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[b]? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.
Life After Death
The Sadducees come up to Jesus next. They don’t believe in life after death. When you are dead you are dead. If God exists, God only is concerned about the present life. Any thoughts about life after death are fantasy. They seek to show Jesus how stupid the idea of life after death is by asking him a question for which there is no answer. Since a brother was obliged to marry a widowed sister-in-law it would be difficult to say whose wife she would be in the resurrection. Notice how cultural values at the time hand her down like a possession. Jesus rescues her by stating there is no marriage in the resurrection of the dead. This is not a negative, the assumption is that something better than marriage awaits. Jesus also points out how Sadducees have misunderstood scripture by denying life after death.
- What key belief do the Sadducees challenge Jesus about?
- What is the purpose of the Sadducees question?
- How does Jesus disarm them?
- What are your beliefs about life after death?
- What questions do people raise today that they think prove belief in Jesus is misguided? How do Christians answer?