THE SADDUCEES HAVE A GO!
"Some Sadducees came up. This is the Jewish party that denies any possibility of resurrection. They asked, 'Teacher, Moses wrote us that if a man dies and leaves a wife but no child, his brother is obligated to take the widow to wife and get her with child. Well, there were once seven brothers. The first took a wife. He died childless. The second married her and died, and then the third, and eventually all seven had their turn, but no child. After all that, the wife died. That wife, now -- in the resurrection whose wife is she? All seven married her.'" Luke 20:27-33 (The Message).
Quite a contrived story!
It must have been obvious to Jesus that it was a trick question. Perhaps these arrogant Jews were hoping to insult Him and make Him look like a fool so that they could undermine His credibility with the people.
Under normal circumstances, the Pharisees and Sadducees were on opposite sides of the fence. The Pharisees were the fanatically religious leaders, sticking rigidly to the minutiae of the Law while the Sadducees were part of the political wing. They denied the supernatural; hence they rejected any possibility of resurrection.
They made up this story to catch Jesus out, to make Him and the whole possibility of resurrection look silly, to undermine His claim to be Messiah and, ultimately, to be the Son of God because He was supporting a pipe-dream!
These men had to learn that God's truth and God's ways were not some superficial and poorly-devised idea to give them false hope and lure them into worshipping Him under false pretenses. They were correct in their understanding of the law of Levirate marriage but, as we examine Jesus' response in the next study, their understanding of God's kingdom and the life to come was way off track.
This is the problem when we try to rationalise God's revelation and apply human wisdom to God's ways. "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV).
God does not reveal Himself and His ways to satisfy our curiosity. He only reveals what He wants us to know to show us His greatness so that we will take His word seriously and submit to His authority. "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law." Deuteronomy 29:29 (NIV).
The attitude of the Sadducees is still alive today. People, who have no desire to know the truth so that they can follow Jesus, replicate the Sadducees' approach to Him. Their questions are not for honest answers but because they are looking for an excuse to justify their unbelief.
We need to be careful if we think we can make a fool of God. As the Apostle Paul said, 'God's foolishness is wiser than our wisdom!' His mercy is wide open to those who are humble enough to recognise their need and to call on Him but there is nothing but judgment for the people who think they can make it on their own.
God has made it clear that He has no time for arrogant fools but endless mercy and grace for the humble. "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6b (NIV).
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