Summary: Anytime you find yourself choosing between two evils, step back and asses the situation – Is the question before you in reality a moral dilemma, or is it just something you do not want to do? God promises us that He will not place us in such situations.
A man and woman find themselves standing at the pearly gates. Saint Peter, to his surprise, finds the couple very disappointed to be getting into heaven. You see, they were on their way to get married and instead of arriving at their wedding, they ended up at the entrance of heaven. The bride is quite upset and she tearfully asks Saint Peter, “Could you find us a pastor, so we can get married?” “I’m sorry”, says Peter, “But there is no marriage in heaven, it is just not done”. At this, the bride melts into a pool of tears, she is inconsolable. Finally, Peter cannot take it anymore and tells the bride, “Ok, ok, ok. I think this is a big mistake, but I will do my best to find a pastor and see if we can arrange a wedding.” At this the bride calms down and the couple enter the heaven through the pearly gates.
Three months go by and the couple hasn’t heard anything from Saint Peter. So they walk back to the pearly gates to see if Peter forgot about them. “No, I haven’t forgot about you, I am still looking. I will get this done, don’t come back, I’ll get a hold of you. I thing like this just takes some time here in heaven.” Assured by Peter’s promise the couple go back into heaven.
Six months go by, then nine, then finally eighteen months – the couple is not happy. Finally, they receive a call – Peter has found a Pastor. “Are you sure you want to go through with this?”, Peter asks. “Yes, we are so ready”, squeal the couple. All goes well at the wedding and the couple enter heaven as the first, and only, married couple in heaven.
A few months later the married couple appear again at the pearly gates. Both are quite disgruntled. “You were right”, steamed the wife, “there is no marriage in heaven!” “We want a divorce!”, spits the husband. At this Saint Peter doubles over with laughter. He can hardly catch his breath “What is so funny?”, exclaims the bride, “This is serious.”
“You bet it is serious”, says Peter “If you think it took me a long time to find a pastor in heaven, how long do you think it is going to take to find a lawyer?”
Our passage today from the book of Mark is shocking. It screams out at us to stop and consider it very, very carefully for or lives. See, the truth is, we can live in blissful ignorance. We can go through our life as Christians ignorant of the fact that everything we do is rejected by God – and be perfectly happy about it. Here we have the Pharisees, Herodians and Sadducees living their lives exactly in this manner. They all attempt to live their lives as good Hebrews, but they all fall short. Their hypocrisy is revealed not only in their questions, but also in failure to be biblically logical.
What was their downfall? Verse 24, ….”because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God”. First, we need to know our Scripture, we need to know our bible, and second, and without this the first is useless, second, we need to believe the Scripture is powerful. That means it molds us, it changes us to it’s understanding of life, rather than us finding items that reinforce our belief system. Don’t dismiss what I just said. We ALL have grown up, have been educated and have lived our lives out in a pagan culture. ALL of us are influenced by pagan ideas and even stronger than those pagan ideas, we are influenced by our desire to continue living in our sin. As we look at these men question Jesus, hear what Jesus is saying, for He is speaking to us when He is speaking to them.
Now, there are three distinct sections to this passage dealing with three different subjects, but they all tie together in that men are not being biblically logical in their approach to Scripture. We can do the same thing. Influenced by our pagan culture and a willingness to justify our sin, we can be illogical when looking at Scripture.
Here in the first section, the Pharisees and Herodians come to Jesus with a question they believe is a catch 22 question – no matter how Jesus answers, He will be wrong. We are familiar with the Pharisees, but who were the Herodians? The Herodians were a political party who fiercely supported the Herodian dynasty and their policies. The Pharisees and Herodians were usually at odds with one another, so it is very surprising to see that they are working together to trap Jesus. But you know the old saying: Enemy of my enemy, my friend. Both are not pleased with the teachings of Jesus and so both come together to discredit Him.