Monday, November 4, 2013
Monday, November 4- Pamela
27 There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, 28 and they asked him a question, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man[a] must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and died without children.30 And the second 31 and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.32 Afterward the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife.”
34 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons[b] of the resurrection. 37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” 39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.
I grew up in a family that argued all the time. Over little things. Over big things. It seemed like it was always a competition to get the last word. Voices often were raised, conflict was common, and doing things just for the sake of pushing someone's buttons was a normal occurrence. I didn't know any better because this was my reality. Thankfully, God brought me to place where I met my husband and my whole life changed for the better. I am a better person because of my husband and what he had learned from his family and how he changed me for the better. Anyway...today's passage made me think of this because the Sadducees seemed like they were a part of the family I grew up in...they wanted to have the last word, they tried desperately to push Jesus' buttons by giving him a worst possible scenario that would probably never happen, and they believed they were right and wanted Jesus to be proven wrong. They got more than they bargained for when it was Jesus who had the last word and left them speechless.
We all want to feel powerful by sharing the things we know, to feel confident that what we know is truth, and to feel like we can enlighten those around us. I think that's how the Sadducees felt. They felt hat they knew more than Jesus and they were angry at Him for suggesting they did not. I think they desperately wanted to back Him into a corner with their accusations and to "win" the argument once and for all. In fact, I think the Sadducees were among the many that felt that way.
The Pharisees have come after Him. The Herodians have come after Him. And now it is the Sadducees' turn. And they are furious at Jesus. When you study the gospel accounts, you don't see the Sadducees very often. You don't see them in Jesus' ministry in Galilee. You don't see them as He's moving around in the land of Judea. Where you see them is where they always were, and that's at the temple. They come into play at the times that Jesus cleanses the temple. He did it at the beginning of His ministry, He did it again at the end, as you remember, we studied it in chapter 19. They ran the temple operation, very lucrative, very powerful. They were wealthy. And Jesus interrupted their very successful business. They hated Him. They were furious at Him for what He had just done a matter of hours before this event in cleansing the temple, throwing out the buyers and the sellers and the moneychangers. And so He had assaulted them just as He had assaulted the theology of the Pharisees, He had assaulted the economics of the Sadducees. They had the power over the temple operation.
Religiously they were very narrow and very strict. Some people have thought that they were liberal. They were liberal in the sense that they didn't believe in resurrection and angels and spirits and that's a view like liberal theologians take today. But in applying justice in the land and in applying the law, they were virtually cruel. It was part of how they kept their power to be cruel. Josephus tells us they were more savaged than any other group of Jews. The Pharisees, he says does Josephus, were lenient in dealing with people compared to the Sadducees. They were brutal in enforcing their will upon the people as they interpreted the Law of God, in order to keep their power and position. They were viewed then as fundamentalists and traditionalists who refused to accept the oral law and the scribal law. Which, by the way, the Pharisees fully accepted. The Pharisees accepted Scripture and the oral tradition and the scribal writings. But the Sadducees did not. They only accepted Scripture. They prided themselves on being committed to the pure faith, nothing more. They interpreted Mosaic Law more literally than any others and were fastidious beyond all others in the matters of Levitical purity. They denied any future life of blessing or reward at all. They believed, says Josephus, that the soul and body perish together at death. There are no penalties in the life to come, there is no life to come, there are no rewards. They are known for that and that is the way they are defined by the New Testament.
Sadducees accepted what was convenient for them and nothing more. Argumentative people are like that. My family growing up was like that...spinning things in a way that works out best for them....and of course to get the last word.
MacArthur suggests that the Sadducees had motivation to discredit Jesus in front of everyone:
But the Sadducees, they don't want the Romans involved in this because they think they'll lose their position. So a certain one of them, the high priest, Caiaphas who is a Sadducee, said to them, "You know nothing at all. Do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people and that the whole nation should not perish?" In other words, we have to have Him put to death. He's got to die or we're all going to perish. And so the Pharisees and the Sadducees come together, even though the Pharisees wanted Him dead for sure, the Sadducees might have not necessarily wanted Him dead thinking Rome would invade, Caiaphas steps up, he's the high priest, and says, "Wait a minute, He's got to be dead or we're all going to lose everything." They're determined that Jesus has to die.
The Sadducees approach is to discredit Him in front of the people by asking Him a question that nobody's been able to answer. This is their ultimate question. This is the one that stumped everybody, I'm sure, all the way along in the debates. This is their best shot. Let's make Him look stupid, let's make Him look foolish by this question on the resurrection.MacArthur closes:
So the enemies of Jesus, the Sadducees, give Him an opportunity, a great and glorious opportunity, they give Him an opportunity to demonstrate His supernatural wisdom, His relentless devotion to the Scripture, and His affirmation of the promise of resurrection. And so this passage which is a defeat for His enemies is a triumph for His friends, right? While they're stunned into cold-stone heart silence, we come away rejoicing because our Lord is infinitely wise, our Lord is committed to a true and accurate interpretation of Scripture and its application, and our Lord affirms with His own lips the promises of the Bible concerning resurrection. And so I lean more heavily on my all-wise, all-powerful, all-true and always living Lord Jesus Christ. And this joy is only for those who are worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead. And who are those? Those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His sacrifice, His death and resurrection alone and no confidence in their own works, those who come repenting saying, "God, I have no righteousness of my own, I plead that You would forgive me and apply the righteousness that belongs only to Christ to my account." In an act of faith we are forgiven of all our sin, we are covered with the righteousness of Christ. We receive the promise of eternal life and thus by His worthiness we have been made worthy to attain to the resurrection from the dead. We live then in that hope, affirmed by the words of our Savior Himself in this great encounter.
May we not seek to have the last word and be, instead, humbled and grateful for the sacrifice that Jesus made to take on our sinful nature and cover all of our iniquities.