18 Then the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children. 21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third. 22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too. 23 At the resurrection[c] whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”
24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? 25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 26 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[d]? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”
Taking Down the Sadducees
The Sadducees were a group of elite leaders in Israel who held the top seats in the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the highest court of the Jewish religious system. From their elitist position, they were above belief in the resurrection. The resurrection of the dead was championed by the Pharisees. Jesus is systematically being opposed by various groups offended at his prophetic pronouncement of judgement on the temple. When the Sadducees try and stump him with a question designed to show the absurdity of the resurrection, Jesus rounds on them and sends them packing. This contrasts the hidden Jesus of previous Jesus. Jesus is in open opposition to the legalistic, established religious system.
We have to see in our own lives that Jesus does not take a passive attitude when we define spirituality in our own terms. When we decide that we know better than God and have a plan to establish our own righteousness, Jesus will not accept our own systems.
Jesus, I see the way that you faced the Sadducees and debunked their argument. I pray that my desire to make my own way will not cause me to set up something that you must tear down.
- Who questions Jesus this time?
- What was the question that they asked Jesus?
- Is the story about the question they asked, or is it about the people who asked it?
- Who thinks they are too smart to accept the truth about Jesus these days?
- How should they be rebutted?