Marriage And The Resurrection
Marriage and the Resurrection
In this passage Jesus once again encounters a group of people who are trying to trap him by asking Him a question.
- It is a hypothetical question concerning the law.
- And out of this hypothetical question Jesus is going to teach us some things about the resurrection.
But he is not only going to teach us some things about the resurrection, he is also going to teach us some things about people and why we have so many different ideas about what the Bible does or doesn’t teach.
- There have been several times that people have asked “Why are there so many different religious groups and why some can’t see what the Bible teaches.”
- Well, this passage gives us some insights to that question.
- So today, let’s answer some of our questions by studying the answer Jesus gave to someone else’s question.
In verse 23, notice who comes to trap Jesus: Some Sadducees…”
- Now for you to understand better what takes place here let me give you some background on these Sadducees.
The Sadducees were a group of Jewish religious leaders who were conservative when it came to Jewish Law.
- But, at the same time, they knew how to play their politics.
- As a result they were kept in power in the office of high priest.
- And they were the leaders of the temple and the Sanhedrin.
They also prided themselves in their knowledge of scripture.
- In fact, they thought of themselves as being far superior than any other group when it came to matters of scripture or religion.
In many of their beliefs though, they stood opposite of the Pharisees.
- They didn’t believe in the
They were rationalist…they did not believe in anything of a supernatural nature.
- In Acts 23:8 we learn that they did not believe in the existence of angels or spirits.
They were materialists.
- After all, if they don’t believe in a resurrection…and this is the only world you do believe in, you want as big a piece of the pie as you can get.
- So they were very materialistic.
- They were very money hungry and power hungry.
- That may explain why when Jesus came into Jerusalem that the temple, which was under the leadership of these men, was more of a business place than it was a place to worship God.
Not only were they rationalists…and materialists…they were also collaborationists.
- They believed in going along with…or compromising with who ever you had to compromise with to keep what you have.
- They didn’t like the Romans particularly but they didn’t mind the Romans either because the Romans left them alone to keep their power and money.
- And that is all the Sadducees cared about.
In fact, in John 11: 48 a fear of losing their power and money is the main reason why these people became bitter enemies of Christ.
- They were afraid that Jesus would cause the Romans to come in and take away their “place and their nation.”
In the book of Acts you will read about Pharisees who became Christians.
- But you will never read about a Sadducee ever being sympathetic to the cause of Christ either before or after the cross.
So, now, they come to Jesus…and keep in mind now, when it comes to scriptural knowledge they think they are a cut above everyone else.
- And keep in mind also, that they do not believe in the resurrection.
- The reason they don’t is because they say that the first 5 books of the Old Testament…the books of Law…do not mention the resurrection one single time.
- So their whole purpose for asking this question is to humor the idea of the resurrection…and to stump Jesus.
So now they come to Jesus.
- No doubt they smirked a little when the unsophisticated and less knowledgeable Pharisees failed in their attempt to trap Jesus in verses 15-22.
- But here they were, they would put this “unorthodox country bumpkin of a Rabbi who had no formal training, and who was from a little town that no one ever heard of” in his place.
- It was time for Jesus to meet the “big boys now.”
So they come to Him and they say, “Jesus, we have a question for you.”
- And what they did was they took a law from the Old Testament found more specifically in Deuteronomy 25.
- And they say, “Moses said, ‘If a man dies, having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up an offspring to his brother.’
Now, here is the question Jesus.
- You have 7 brothers and the first took a wife…and he died leaving no offspring.
- And the second took her…and he died…leaving no off spring.
- And then the third…and so on till all 7 died and none left any offspring.
- Finally the woman died.
- “In the resurrection therefore whose wife of the seven shall she be? For they all had her.”
Now, this is no doubt a hypothetical question.
- If it is not, then this woman had the proverbial “kiss of death” like no other woman has ever had.
- If this really happened I think that brother number 4 would have figured it out and said, “I am not marrying her, I don’t care what the law says.”
- So this is not a question based on a real situation.
- It is hypothetical intended to ridicule the belief in the resurrection…as well as to stump Jesus.
Now realize that Jesus is not going to get in trouble with the Romans…no one is going to crucify Him for not answering this question.
- What they are hoping for is to embarrass Him in front of all the people in the temple.
- They thought they could dismiss Him by destroying his credibility.
- And that way they could tell the people, “When it comes to matters of law and scripture…don’t come to this bumpkin of a Rabbi…come to us.”
- They thought they could get a good laugh at Jesus’ expense.
- Boy, were they wrong.
After asking their question, Jesus had a question of his own. Look at verse 29.
But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.
- Now, let that sink in just a minute.
Jesus says to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, or the power of God.
Here Jesus is, standing before the most learned, the most enlightened, the most educated people in the country.
- Men who took pride in their knowledge of the scriptures.
- And Jesus says, “You guys are mistaken…and the reason you are mistaken is because you do not understand the Scriptures or God.”
Everyone must have dropped their teeth.
- That would be like telling Bill and Hillary Clinton that they don’t understand politics.
- To tell the Sadducees that they didn’t understand the scriptures was shocking.
- They spent more time reading the scriptures than anyone else in the world did.
But, their very question told Jesus that when it came to the scriptures and the power of God…they were pretty ignorant.
- Even though they had read the scriptures thousands of times.
- And had memorized the law…and all the names and places and facts.
- They missed what the scriptures were saying as well as the God revealed in them.
- They had read the book but they had missed the author.
All these mighty and powerful things that God did from the creation to delivering them out of Egyptian captivity…the flood…the crossing of the Sea…and they did not think that God had the power to raise the dead.
- I believe that every error that men make in the area of religion is related to these two problems.
- Either you do not know the scriptures.
- Or the God you believe in is so powerless that it doesn’t make much difference.
So after telling these Sadducees that they don’t understand the scriptures or the power of God…Jesus teaches them. Notice what He says beginning in verse 30.
“For in the resurrection…”
- Did you notice that?
- You ought to underline that phrase.
- You see, Jesus doesn’t say, “If there is a resurrection…”
- He says, “In the resurrection”
- It is a settled matter of fact in the mind of Jesus that there will be a resurrection of the dead.
- So Jesus says, “when” it happens this is how it is going to be.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
Heaven is not going to be the same as it is here on earth.
- The life we are going to enter into is not going to be like this life.
- There are needs and necessities in this life that will not exist in the next.
When it comes to marriage there are two needs that it was designed to fulfill.
- One, procreation; to have children…to multiply…to fill the earth.
- But in heaven we are going to have immortal spiritual bodies like the angels.
- There is not going to be death or sickness.
- And therefore, the need to replenish ourselves is not going to exist.
The other purpose for marriage…is companionship…to keep us from being alone.
- God gave us mates to fill the loneliness that we feel when we are by ourselves.
- But I don’t believe that in heaven we are going to have that problem.
We may still have a need for companionship in heaven…but I believe that need is going to be satisfied by a total fellowship with God.
- You see, I believe that the Bible teaches that God can fill completely all our needs.
- And when we finally stand in His presence in heaven…that fellowship with Him will be so perfect that every need we have for fellowship, companionship and relationship is going to be met by Him.
- If that is not true, then tell me how heaven can be a place where there are no tears.
Now Jesus deals with the question of the resurrection. Look at verse 31.
- Now notice Jesus quotes from Exodus 3.
- Remember, they said that the first 5 books of the Old Testament didn’t speak of life after death.
- Jesus says, “But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 32’I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living. ”
Notice he says, “Have you not read…”
- Of course they had read.
- The passage that Jesus quotes here comes from the story of the burning bush in Exodus 3:6 and they had read that story 5000 times.
- They knew it forward and backwards.
- And yet, after they had read it and read it and read it…they had still missed it.
They missed the obvious fact that several hundred years after the deaths of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob…that God speaks out of a burning bush in the desert to Moses and says: “I am…
- Not “I was…”
- But “I am…the God of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.”
If you do not believe in life after death how can that make sense?
- If you believe that after death we all evaporate into extinction and nothingness, then how can God say that?
Look at the end of verse 32.
“He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
- God is not the God of nothingness.
- He is not the God of no existence.
- He is the God of the living.
With these words Jesus told these Sadducees…that there is life after death…and there will be a resurrection.
These guys read that story 5000 times and never saw it.
- And it still happens today.
- People read and read and read…and are still sadly mistaken about the message of the Bible.
- Why? How can some people, as religious as they are, know so much…and still know so little.
Let me give you a couple of thoughts as we close.
One: There is more to knowing the Bible than just knowing the facts.
- Just like these Sadducees some pride themselves in knowing the scriptures and the law.
- An issue can come up and they can tell you what chapter and verse to turn to, to take care of it.
- They can quote verse after verse.
- They have all the stories memorized.
- But when it comes to the message of the Bible…and the One behind it…they have no idea what it says or what He is like.
- You see, they have learned the facts…but they haven’t learned about God.
Second: Just like these Sadducees, some are blinded by their own arrogance and conceit.
- When it comes to the scriptures they fancy their knowledge to be so much better than others…that they fail to listen to what others say…even if it is true.
- No where in the Bible do you ever read of one of these Sadducees embracing the teachings of Christ.
Third: Some make the scriptures say what they want them to say so they can live the way they want to live.
- These Sadducees were materialist…they were money hungry and power hungry.
- Whatever it took to get a bigger piece of the pie was what they would do.
Therefore, they could not afford a resurrection…a belief in a life after death…a judgment.
- That would mean that there was something more important than this life.
- That would mean a lifestyle of a different kind.
Some today do the same thing. They make the scriptures say what they want them to say so they can live the way they want to.
What about you? What about me? What about us?
In this passage Jesus tells these Sadducees that there is life after death and there will be a resurrection.
That leaves us with only one question. Are you ready for it?
- Whether you are raised from the dead to a place in heaven is not a question of whether God can do it.
- It is a question of whether you have a right relationship with God.
Will you get right today? Your sin has made you an enemy of God. But by the blood of Christ your sins can be washed away and you can be reconciled back to a peaceful relationship with God. The blood is what does it…in the baptistry is when it happens.
- Don’t make the scriptures say what you want them to say.
- Be honest with them…obey God…and be baptized to day for the remission of your sins.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023