Sermons

Summary: "They cannot die anymore; because they are equal to angels . . . they are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."

Date: 7-16-2016

Text (NIV): Job 19:23-27; Luke 20:27-38

Title: No More Death

The Question

So this was the holy man everyone was talking about; the miracle worker who had drawn a crowd of people that wanted to see a miracle. A group of Sadducees had forced their way to the front of the spectators. They didn’t attempt to hide their haughty smirks and they didn’t care if he heard their nasty comments about his appearance. They were wearing the most expensive robes, and they loved all the attention they were getting. They were the Sadducees—with their neatly-trimmed beards and fingers flashing with jewelry—they were the epitome of religious privilege and power. How different they looked from this Jesus, who stood in front of them! The hem of his cloak was frayed and the whole thing was covered in dust, a broken strap on one sandal made a furrow in the dust. One of the Sadducees announced very loudly to his friends that someone should buy him a bath.

One of the major differences between the Sadducees and the Sadducees was that the former did not believe in the resurrection, while the latter did, and as the result the Sadducees constantly belittled them. They asked Jesus a question that they had used many times to silence the Pharisees. It was that old reliable one about the woman who, through the Levirate marriage law, married seven brothers, none of whom left an heir. Levirate marriage is one response to the challenges that arose when an Israelite man died leaving a widow but no children. What becomes of a widow with no children to care for her? What becomes of a man’s “name” and property in the absence of direct heirs? Levirate marriage, as described in Deut. 25:5-10, offers a solution to both questions: Let the dead man’s brother marry the widow and let the children, or at least the first child of this union, be “considered as” belonging to the deceased.

If there was a resurrection, whose wife could she possibly be then, since all seven had been married to her? The question is meant to reduce the idea of a resurrection to the absurd, almost the comical."

The Pharisees believed in a resurrection which was so physical that they anticipated the begetting of children in the resurrection life. The Sadducees denied the doctrine of the resurrection and any survival after death. They believed that death brought an end to being; an end to everything."

Now the Sadducees waited for His answer. They looked at each other knowingly. They were pictures of patience . . . and pride. They assumed that Jesus believed in the resurrection the same way the Pharisees did.

Jesus was silent. His eyes burned into them. He scowled at them in anger and disappointment. (They had no idea that Jesus knew what they were thinking.) The disciples got nervous . . . they looked at Jesus, they looked at each other, and then they looked at the ground. They shifted their weight from one foot to the other . . . they shuffled their feet . . . was He stumped this time? The silence was deafening!

The Response

Finally, Jesus did two things at once: He started talking and walking away at the same time! It was as though He thought He'd won the argument without saying a word. It was over . . . and He was leaving.

As he took the first step, He said in disgust and exasperation: "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage ...." (The Sadducees and His disciples hurried to catch up to Him, afraid they'd miss His answer. "But those," He continued, "who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage for they cannot die anymore. Don't you see, marriage and family lines won't be important if there's no death?" ("What did he say?" one Sadducee asked another. "What?" But he didn't get an answer because Jesus was continuing to talk, hardly hesitating to let His point sink in.

"They cannot die anymore; because they are equal to angels . . . they are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection." Then Jesus stopped and looked the Sadducees in the face. "Look," He said, "you say you can't believe in a resurrection because it's not taught in the only books of scripture that you accept: the Torah, the five books of Moses." (Their ears perked up at the name "Moses.") "Don't you realize that Moses referred to a resurrection in that passage about the “burning bush?” (Exodus 3:6). "Moses quotes God as saying He was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Jesus paused to let His words find their mark. The Sadducees looked puzzled. They rubbed their hairy chins, and frowned. Jesus smiled slyly at their bewilderment.

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